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New Hampshire governor Maggie Hassan (D) announced today she is running for the US Senate against incumbent Kelly Ayotte (R). I’ve been trying for almost two months to get Hassan to say whether or not she has seen the Planned Parenthood abortion videos put out by Center for Medical Progress.
I still haven’t received an answer, even after I threatened to sue the executive branch through New Hampshire’s Right to Know law (RSA 91-A), our version of the federal Freedom of Information Act. By contrast, Ayotte’s communications director replied within five minutes of my email that Ayotte has seen some of the videos.
The governor’s legal counsel, Mary Ann Dempsey, wrote to me on September 17: “It is the long-standing position of the New Hampshire Department of Justice that RSA 91-A does not apply to the governor’s office.” However, Dempsey did turn over to me a number of documents relating to the New Hampshire executive council’s vote in early August to strip state funding from Planned Parenthood. Hassan sought to continue sending $640,000 annually in taxpayer money to the abortion giant. (N.B. Planned Parenthood’s CEO, Cecile Richards, makes about $600,000 per year.)
In an August 12 letter to Commissioner Nicholas Toumpas of the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, executive council member Chris Sununu wrote:
Last week the Executive Council and Governor Hassan debated the issue of whether or not it was appropriate, given the ethical and legal questions surrounding Planned Parenthood, to continue providing the organization with supplemental funding dollars they receive directly from the State of New Hampshire. … I implored Governor Hassan to help find additional alternatives for women’s health care in New Hampshire. Astonishingly, Governor Hassan refused to even consider this reasonable request and argued that more choice and alternatives in women’s health care would not help. … I have asked for Governor Hassan [to] put her political considerations aside and with the Executive Council help find a bipartisan solution to this problem.
In an August 3 letter to Governor Hassan, executive council member David Wheeler wrote:
Instead of taking this extremely troubling issue seriously, you indicated that you are willing to turn a blind eye to the charges that have been made against Planned Parenthood. You also said that you did not favor an official investigation because you are simply willing to take Planned Parenthood of Northern New England at their word when they say they did nothing wrong.
Governor Hassan’s commitment to abortion, and her ties to Planned Parenthood and other abortion groups, are long established. Not only did Planned Parenthood of Northern New England Action Fund PAC endorse both Hassan’s 2012 election and 2014 reelection campaigns, but Hassan’s 2012 campaign manager, Matt Burgess, came to her after working as a spokesman for EMILY’s List, a pro-abortion political-action committee that also endorsed her and gave her more than $50,000 for her reelection in 2014.
Hassan’s director of citizen services is Mariann White. A LinkedIn profile shows that Mariann White was a “Grassroots organizer” for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE). A PPNNE email address for White found on a 2013 press release is no longer active and returns bounced emails. I emailed Ms. White’s state government email address for confirmation that she is the same woman, but she has not yet replied.
This is typical. I have emailed Ms. White — and William Hinkle, Hassan’s communications director and former staffer for Organizing for America (Obama’s campaign) — many times over the past six weeks to ask whether Governor Hassan has seen the Planned Parenthood abortion videos.
In New Hampshire, Hassan has turned “a blind eye to the charges that have been made against Planned Parenthood.” She’d surely do the same in Washington.