National Review magazine reported Thursday Sen. Maggie Hassan has collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in corporate donations, including cash from lobbyists. The money includes donations from lobbyists for Chinese tech giant ZTE, which is labeled a “national security threat” by the federal government.
In an article headlined “Senate Democrats Rail against Corporate Influence While Accepting Piles of Tainted Cash,” National Review lays out details of campaign contributions collected by the most vulnerable 2022 Senate Democrats, including Hassan and Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock.
“New Hampshire’s Maggie Hassan has frequently returned to denouncing the corrupting influence of money in politics as a campaign strategy,” they report. “She’s a supporter of the ‘For the People’ Act, which she claimed would stop ‘corporate special interests that dictate our elections’ — but she’s happy to continue to let them dictate hers for now.”
One of Hassan’s most common arguments in defense of a federal override of New Hampshire’s election laws is the need to “get big money out of our elections.” However, as National Review reports, she has accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in corporate cash from some of America’s biggest companies.
“In 2021, Hassan accepted $429,150 in contributions directly from Amazon, BlackRock, Intel, Deloitte, Barclays, Nike, and other corporate PACs,” they report. And she collected an additional $264,000 in corporate dollars filtered through other committees.
Hassan also took more than $77,000 from corporate lobbyists, among them representatives for a Chinese company the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau formally designated “a national security threat,” according to a 2020 statement from the agency.
“Notably, Hassan had no issues taking $1,500 from current and former lobbyists for ZTE: A Chinese technology company that’s been fined for exporting U.S. technology to Iran and North Korea,” National Review reports.
Ajit Pai, the FCC Chairman in 2020, said at the time ZTE had “close ties to the Chinese Communist Party and China’s military apparatus, and [is] broadly subject to Chinese law obligating them to cooperate with the country’s intelligence services.”
Hassan’s office did not deny the accuracy of the reporting when contacted by NHJournal. However, it also refused to comment on the report.
Kevin Smith is running in the GOP primary to replace Hassan, and he called her out for her lack of transparency.
“Why won’t Sen. Hassan answer questions about these donations from corporate lobbyists? If she’s getting money from Chinese companies on the ‘national security’ watch list, she has serious questions to answer. This hypocrisy is why America despises politicians,” Smith said.
And it is not just lobbyists for China who are helping fund Hassan’s campaign. According to Axios, a top lobbyist for Nord Stream 2 has maxed out his contributions to Hassan as well.
“Vincent Roberti’s firm, Roberti Global, has been paid $8.5 million for its Nord Stream 2 lobbying work, according to lobbying disclosure records,” Axios reports.
State Sen. Chuck Morse (R-Salem) is running in the GOP primary to replace Hassan,
“Maggie Hassan is always putting her special interests over New Hampshire and American interests. After taking the maximum donation from Nord Stream lobbyists last year, Maggie did no lobbying within her party to pass sanctions last month,” Morse said.
As long as Hassan declines to answer questions, expect Republicans to keep raising this issue from now until November. The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) has kept up a steady drumbeat of attacks on Hassan, a sign they see the seat as a potential pick-up, even without GOP Gov. Chris Sununu in the race.
“Democrats like to set rules for themselves, but they would never dare actually follow those rules,” NRSC spokesperson T.W. Arrighi said. “Criticizing corporate money in politics is a prime example as vulnerable Democrat senators like Maggie Hassan roll around in piles of corporate cash. There is no limit to what these dishonest radicals will do to deceive voters.”