Over the weekend, the New Hampshire Union Leader reported that after lobbying firms and corporations helped raise $450,000 for Republican Gov. Chris Sununu’s inaugural party in 2017, there was still plenty of cash in the kitty once the three-night celebration was over—and it looks like a large chunk of it went to Sununu and his inner circle.
Altogether, Sununu’s family, friends, advisers, and the governor himself have received a total of $165,000 from the inaugural fund, which still has $40,000 remaining in its account. Sununu, for instance, was given more than $39,000 by the committee over the last two years, including $1,277 as recently as September of this year.
Paul Collins, a top Sununu adviser and treasurer of the committee, insists that the fund did not have its own credit card, requiring Sununu and his staff to pay out of pocket and get reimbursed later. However, the Union Leader says that Collins “declined to provide receipts or specific explanations for dozens of payments from the committee to himself and Sununu,” and Collins himself insisted, “It is not standard practice to turn over receipts, invoices, or those types of things.”
Of course, arguing that a lack of transparency represents normal procedure only makes it look like you have something to hide, and what we do know doesn’t look great. The limited disclosures the committee has provided, for instance, show a $2,500 donation to an arm-wrestling champion that Sununu is personally fond of.
Sununu’s office naturally maintains that all these expenditures are justified, but without more information—which only the inaugural committee can provide—we just can’t know. Last month, Sununu won a second two-year term by a softer-than-expected 53-46 margin, so he may draw a stiffer challenge when he goes before voters again in 2020. We’ll have to see if he decides whether further stonewalling is conducive to his continued political career.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.