Governor Chris Sununu and Eversource: finance and fundraiser friendly
Eversource NH president Bill Quinlan is listed as one of 44 hosts for a fundraising reception for Gov. Chris Sununu on Thursday, which raised ethical questions among some opponents of the company's controversial Northern Pass high-voltage transmission line project.
Gatsas attacks Sununu over campaign donations (NH1) 9/8/16
CONCORD - Manchester Mayor and Republican candidate for Governor Ted Gatsas is calling out one of his primary opponents over some of his campaign contributions.
In an interview with NH1 Radio News Thursday, Gatsas pointed out that Executive Councilor Chris Sununu accepted more than $18,000 in contributions from Eversource executives. Added Gatsas, "I guess they must like the regurgitation that he's giving on the talking points that he's brought up from Eversource".
Gatsas says he would only support the project if there were changes in the amount of power it would generate for Granite Staters.
"30 percent of the power from Northern Pass should stay in this state. I can tell you that in the power agreement it says 10 percent. When you peel back the onion...you will find that those numbers don't reflect any savings to the state of New Hampshire and its constituents."
A spokesperson for Sununu accused Gatsas of trying distract voters from his own failed record in Manchester. That same theme was featured Wednesday in a new ad released by the Sununu campaign. In the spot, Sununu says “We’ve all seen the headlines about how Ted Gatsas has let down Manchester. Rising crime. Higher taxes…Ted Gatsas wants to avoid his own failed record.”
Gatsas fired back at Sununu in the NH1 Radio News interview, saying "That's Chris Sununu's perception versus reality". Gatsas says taxes were twice cut while he was mayor, and the recent Safe Station initiative has led to a drop in drug overdoses in the city.
Gatsas and Sununu are joined by State Representative Frank Edelblut and State Senator Jeannie Forrester in a 4-way race for the Republican nomination for Governor. Primary voting takes place next Tuesday.
Northern Pass utility defends, foes critical of, Quinlan’s participation in political event
CONCORD, N.H. —
Gov. Chris Sununu will raise money for his political committee Thursday at an event featuring no fewer than 44 supporters as co-hosts. One of them, Eversource President William Quinlan, is drawing the attention of opponents of the Northern Pass project.
Sununu has made no secret of his support for Northern Pass as currently proposed. He has said that if Northern Pass is required to bury all 192 miles of its proposed New Hampshire transmission lines, it will be too costly and the project will never materialize.
The governor most recently reiterated his support while visiting Quebec in March, saying, "It's a win-win on both sides. It's a project I've always said should happen, could happen and I believe has to happen." The power that would be sent into New England through the proposed New Hampshire transmission lines is generated in Quebec.
With hearings on Northern Pass currently underway before the state Site Evaluation Committee in Concord, opponents are questioning whether it is appropriate for Sununu to allow Quinlan to be a co-host of the fundraiser.
“Gov. Sununu has had his thumb on the scales for Northern Pass from the start, and Mr. Quinlan's inclusion on the Sununu fundraising host committee further underscores that fact,” said Judy Reardon, a spokeswoman for the anti-Northern Pass nonprofit group Protect the Granite State.
Reardon, former chief legal counsel to Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and a longtime Democratic activist, said, “There are thousands of residents and hundreds of businesses opposing Northern Pass who deserve the opportunity to have their concerns objectively considered. They are owed an impartial process before the Site Evaluation Committee and a governor willing to listen to all perspectives regarding Northern Pass, not just talking points from Eversource.”
WMUR contacted Sununu spokesman Michael Todd, informed him of Reardon’s criticism and requested a response. But after several hours, Todd had not yet responded with a comment.
Meanwhile, Eversource spokesman Martin Murray said he saw a copy of the invitation with Quinlan’s name listed among the 44 co-hosts.
“I’m certain that Bill is happy to support the governor in the same fashion as the dozens of other business leaders on the invitation,” he said.
“The Site Evaluation Committee process has been ongoing since 2015, when we filed our application,” Murray said. “It is extremely comprehensive and transparent, and the governor is not a party to that process.”
He said process “is well underway” and noted that Sununu is the third person to serve as New Hampshire’s governor since the project was announced.
All Northern Pass transmission lines and facilities in New Hampshire would be owned by Northern Pass Transmission LLC, which is owned by Eversource Energy Transmission Ventures, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Eversource Energy.
Brian Tilton, a former radio talk show host, emceed a rally against Northern Pass on April 23.
“This raises a serious ethical question for me,” he said. “How can Bill Quinlan host a $1,000-a-person fundraiser for a governor who has the power to appoint members of the Site Evaluation Committee and agency heads who are part of the Northern Pass review process?"
The Site Evaluation Committee is a nine-member panel charged by law with reviewing and approving or rejecting proposed large-scale generating and transmission facilities.
Its membership is set out in law as the three members of the Public Utilities Commission, who are nominated by the governor and confirmed by the Executive Council; four state agency heads who are nominated to their jobs by the governor and confirmed by the Executive Council; and two members of the public who are appointed to the SEC directly by the governor.
Murray pointed out that none of the members of the Site Evaluation Committee have been named to their posts by Sununu.
Event to be held at Bedford Village Inn.