N.H. Dems paying $5K over prerecorded message

Bryan Cohen Sep. 1, 2011, 1:33pm


CONCORD, N.H. (Legal Newsline) - New Hampshire Attorney General Michael Delaney announced a consent agreement on Tuesday with the New Hampshire Democratic Party after a complaint that it allegedly delivered a prerecorded political message illegally.

The Democratic Party will pay the state $5,000 to settle the dispute.

Under state law, a prerecorded political message is defined in RSA 664:14-a, I, a prerecorded audio message delivered by telephone by a candidate or political committee or any person when the content of the message expressly or implicitly advocates the success or defeat of any party, measure or person at any election or contains information about any candidate or party.

According to state law RSA 664:14-a, II, prerecorded messages are legal in the state, but no person shall deliver or knowingly cause to be delivered a prerecorded political message unless the message contains, or a live operator provides, within the first 30 seconds of the message, the name of the candidate or of any organization or organizations the person is calling on behalf of and the name of the person or organization paying for the delivery of the message and the name of the fiscal agent, if applicable.

Delaney alleges that the Democratic Party was responsible for knowingly causing the delivery of a prerecorded political message featuring the voice of Party Chair Raymond Buckley making statements about Speaker William O'Brien to 394 New Hampshire households on September 13. The message allegedly did not contain the disclosures required by RA 664:14-a, II.

"An essential element of our democracy is vigilant enforcement of New Hampshire's election laws," Delaney said. "My office will continue to vigorously investigate election related complaints, and initiate civil or criminal enforcement actions against those who violate New Hampshire's election laws."

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