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Michigan Official on New Trump Tape Threatened by NH Woman

There is a Granite State connection to the latest story of then-President Trump trying to pressure election officials into rejecting the outcome of the 2020 election.l

One of the Michigan election officials who reportedly gave in to pressure from Trump to not certify his election loss in 2020 became the victim of a New Hampshire woman’s violent threats as a result.

Monica Palmer, one of the two Republican members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers called by Trump Nov. 17, initially refused to sign the certification that President Joe Biden won. In the firestorm that followed her decision, Palmer became the target of deranged and violent text threats from Katelyn Jones.

Jones, 26, was arrested at her mother’s home in Epsom and she pleaded guilty this year to threatening Palmer.

According to new reporting by the Detroit News, Trump and Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel called Palmer and GOP canvasser William Hartmann on Nov. 17, 2020 in a bid to stop them from signing off on the election results. A recording of that call came to light last week.

“We’ve got to fight for our country,” Trump is heard saying. “We can’t let these people take our country away from us.” 

Trump and McDaniel are also heard assuring Palmer and Hartmann that attorneys would be provided if they did as Trump wanted. After voting to certify the election, Palmer and Hartmann then refused to sign off on the results, and they tried unsuccessfully to rescind their votes.

Wayne County was eventually certified for Biden, despite the attempt.

Soon after Palmer tried to rescind her vote to certify the results for Biden, she began getting violent online threats, including bloody photographs of nude women along with threats against her daughter. These threats would later be traced to Jones.

“F**king with our election is TERRORISM, and us Americans clearly don’t tolerate terrorists so yes you should be afraid, your daughter should be afraid, and so should (name of the victim’s husband,)” Jones allegedly wrote in one of the messages.

Jones allegedly did not appreciate Palmer’s move to not certify the results for Biden sent her violent texts via cell phone and Instagram accounts. Jones used to live in Michigan, but allegedly created the accounts she used for the threats at her mother’s house in New Hampshire where she was living at the time, according to the court records.

When confronted at her mother’s house, Jones reportedly acknowledged to FBI agents that she had sent the messages. The threats include violent photos as well as threats against Palmer’s daughter.

“Hmmmm I’d be a shame if something happened to your daughter at school,” Jones wrote to Palmer via Instagram.

Jones reportedly told the agents she made the threats and called Palmer a terrorist and a racist because she was upset with Palmer because of the election certification, according to the affidavit.

Trump’s alleged efforts to prevent Michigan’s 2020 election results from being certified are part of one of the many criminal investigations the former president is now facing. Trump is indicted on four counts of criminal conspiracy to defraud the cited States, in part for trying to stop the Michigan certification. Biden won the state by 154,000 votes.

Steven Cheung, a Trump campaign spokesman, told the Detroit News Trump did nothing wrong when he called Palmer and Hartmann.

According to Cheung, Trump’s actions “were taken in furtherance of his duty as president of the United States to faithfully take care of the laws and ensure election integrity, including investigating the rigged and stolen 2020 presidential election.”

There is no evidence to support Trump’s repeated claims that the 2020 election was stolen.

Trump NH Campaign Official Said Jan. 6 Cops Should Kill Themselves

Donald Trump’s New Hampshire second-in-command was at the January 6, 2021, riot on Capitol Hill, and he recorded a message for law enforcement protecting the Congress.

Go kill yourselves.

“I have a message. If you are a police officer and you are going to abide by unconstitutional bullsh*t. I want you to do me a favor right now and go hang yourself,” said Dylan Quattrucci, currently New Hampshire Deputy State Director for Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign.

“Cuz you’re a piece of sh*t. Go f*** yourself,” Quattrucci said in the video, originally posted to his mother’s Facebook account. 

The video was shot on the evening of January 6 as members of the mob were being turned out of the Capitol Building by police officers after hours of violence. In the months that followed the attack, four of the police officers who responded to the Capitol to protect members of Congress and Vice President Mike Pence would end up taking their own lives.

Pat Sullivan, executive director for the New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police, has not seen the video but is not a fan of Quattrucci’s Jan. 6 message.

“It doesn’t sound like a message anyone should be putting out,” Sullivan said. 

The mob had failed to stop Vice President Mike Pence from certifying the election for Joe Biden, which would have been unconstitutional. Quattrucci’s subsequent rise in state politics, however, went unhindered. The young activist is now an active figure in the Trump campaign, taking the post shortly after he graduated from law school.

Quattrucci did not respond to NHJournal’s request for comment.

NBC News reports that campaign finance records show he began working for the Trump campaign in May and made $6,500 in June, the most recent records available.

Matthew Bartlett is a Nashua, N.H. native who worked for the Trump administration and resigned on January 6 in response to the day’s events. He called Quattrucci’s video “one of the most disgusting messages I have seen from one of the most disgraceful days in our country’s history. This person should not be embraced in politics or public discourse, he should be deeply ashamed.”

Trump faces 91 criminal indictments in multiple venues, many connected to an alleged scheme to steal the election. Despite that, Trump remains far and away the most likely GOP candidate to win the nomination for president. Many in the party fear his wrath, and seemingly his operatives like Quattrucci. GOP insiders contacted about the video by NHJournal declined to publicly criticize Quattrucci.

Salem Police Officer Mike Geha, president of the New Hampshire Police Association, said his members work every day to keep Granite Stater’s safe and generally do not pay attention to political noise. While Geha would rather stay out of politics, he also had little time for Quattrucci’s comments.

“I can’t defend him for what he said,” Geha said.

If there is missing context for Quattrucci’s statement that police officers should kill themselves, he should come out and make that clear, Geha said.

Quattrucci has been dodging questions about his presence at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 for weeks since WMUR first reported on his now-deleted tweets from the riot. None of the tweets and photos appeared to be coming from inside the Capitol Building, but Quattrucci seemed to get close.

One tweet included a photo of the crowd outside the building from a raised vantage point, like the top of the steps outside the entrance. “We’re not gonna take it,” Quattrucci wrote, possibly referring to Twisted Sister’s metal anthem from the 1980s.

Other Quattrucci tweets from Jan. 6  included, “Mike Pence is a traitor to America” and “I’m bleeding for my country. You’ll have to kill me to stop my #FightForTrump.” That last tweet accompanied a photo presumably showing Quattrucci’s hand with a minor cut on a finger. 

Sununu Not Sold on Wendy Long Senate Bid: ‘Sounds Like a Carpetbagger’

If Wendy Long decides to jump into the already crowded GOP primary race for the U.S. Senate, she’ll do so with two landslide losses in previous Senate races on her record, allegations she attended the January 6 Capitol Hill riot, and her embrace of debunked claims Donald Trump actually won the 2020 election.

And she is not likely to have Gov. Chris Sununu’s support, either.

Long has been floated as a possible candidate by Corey Lewendowski, an advisor to former President Trump. According to Lewandowski, Trump is not thrilled with the current field and Long could theoretically snag his endorsement if she enters the fray.

Last week, Jack Heath asked Lewandowski about reports he was promoting Long’s candidacy. The consultant declined to answer directly, but he did call her “exceptionally intelligent.” And, he noted, “New Hampshire has a history of sending women to Washington, D.C. There’s an argument to be made that a strong female candidate may have a better chance of defeating Maggie Hassan than any of the candidates in the field.”

On Friday, Heath asked Sununu about Long’s potential candidacy and Lewandowski’s possible connection. The governor didn’t sound impressed.

“I don’t know who that person is,” Sununu said. “I don’t know this Wendy Long. She doesn’t live here. That sounds like a carpetbagger from New York.”

Later in the show, Long called into Heath’s program, clearly reacting to Sununu’s comments and ready to respond.

“He doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” Long said. “I do live in Keene and he doesn’t know my history. His father does. Gov. Sununu senior was a great help to us when some of us had some problems at Dartmouth College. Anyway, I look forward to getting to know the governor.”

Long told Heath she is seriously considering a run, but she has not made up her mind. If she does, she would be the sixth candidate, joining state Sen. President Chuck Morse, R-Salem; Kevin Smith, former Londonderry town manager; crypto-businessman Bruce Fenton; retired Brig. Gen. Don Bolduc; and Lincoln entrepreneur Vikram Mansharamani.

Long grew up in Keene and attended Dartmouth College before embarking on a legal career. She earned her J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law and also attended Harvard Law School. She served as a law clerk at U.S. Supreme Court for Justice Clarence Thomas.

Long said her first job in politics was as press secretary for New Hampshire’s Republican Sen. Gordon Humphrey. She got that job after being recommended by Jeffrey Hart, her English professor at Dartmouth.

Long’s time at Dartmouth has followed her career for good or ill, starting with her work at “Dartmouth Review,” the Ivy League college’s conservative newspaper co-founded by Hart. In 1990, Long, then known by her maiden name Wendy Stone, and fellow student and “Dartmouth Review” trustee Dinesh D’Souza, were forced to call a press conferee to apologize for publishing a quote from Adolf Hitler on the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur.

The Dartmouth Review printed the following line from Hitler’s book “Mein Kampf” as part of the paper’s statement of principles: “Therefore, I believe today that I am acting in the sense of the Almighty Creator: By warding off the Jews, I am fighting for the Lord’s work.”

The pair blamed an unnamed staffer for putting in the quote without their knowledge, and they suggested it was an act of sabotage against the conservative publication, according to an Associated Press report. 

D’Souza, a controversial figure even in the conservative community,  made headlines in 2014 when he pleaded guilty to a felony count of making an illegal campaign contribution to Long. According to court records, he arranged for $20,000 in illegal donations for Long’s 2012 campaign against Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) At the time, Long said she did not know about those illegal donations. She garnered just 26 percent of the vote.

Long again ran for Senate in 2016, that time against Democratic Senate leader Schumer. She lost with 27 percent.

During that campaign, she met with the leader of the Oath Keepers, Stewart Rhodes. Rhodes is currently charged with sedition for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

“Thank you Stewart (Rhodes) for founding this whole organization,” Long said in a speech to the Oath Keepers. “I am running against one of the greatest enemies of the Constitution, Chuck Schumer, in the United States Senate. He’s an enemy not only of the Second Amendment which you know of course everyone knows he’s the face of the anti-Second Amendment movement, which by the way is in great peril.”

The Anti-Defamation League describes Oath keepers as “right-wing anti-government extremists who are part of the militia movement.”

Long’s own words about Jan. 6 seem to place her at the Capitol that day. In a group chat among former Justice Thomas clerks leaked to The Washington Post, Long wrote:

“Many of my friends and I had been praying our knees off that January 6 would see light and truth being shed on what we believe in our hearts was likely a stolen election… Many of us marched peacefully and yes, many also prayed and shared another important message, ‘Jesus saves.’”

Long moved back to Keene earlier this year, and Lewandowski notes many of the Granite State’s most successful politicians were not born here. And she has a reputation as an outspoken conservative activist who has helped engage grassroots Republicans.

She helped found the Judicial Confirmation Network — now the Judicial Crisis Network — which supports the nomination of conservative Supreme Court justices like Samuel Alito and opposes liberal nominees like Sonia Sotomayor.

If Long can win the nomination, she could have a shot against Hassan, whose polls have been underwhelming at best and whose sudden swing to the right on immigration and oil production has angered the progressive base. In the latest UNH poll, Hassan was tied with or losing to the relatively unknown candidates in the GOP primary.

“She’s done,” Sununu told Heath. “People see the writing on the wall, the Democratic Party sees the writing on the wall. Republicans, independents, and even some Democrats are frustrated and they are going to vote her right out in November, regardless of who comes out of that primary.”

Attorney General: ‘Additional Investigation’ Underway in Bedford Ballot Case

More trouble for Bedford’s beleaguered election officials as the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office has announced an “additional investigation” into the botched ballots from the town’s 2020 and 2021 elections.

Deputy General Counsel Myles Matteson filed a motion in the Hillsborough Superior Court – North in Manchester seeking a court order to open sealed ballot boxes and a sealed envelope containing election reports as part of the investigation, which was started after new information came to light.

“While it is clear that a number of absentee ballots were not cast and counted by Bedford election officials on November 3, 2020, important details that led to the error – and an accounting of officials’ attempts to reconcile the election returns – have yet to be determined,” Matteson wrote in the court filing. “Based on new information provided more recently through further interviews with Bedford officials, the attorney general must conduct additional investigation related to compliance with election laws.”

Bedford election officials mishandled 190 ballots during the 2020 election and those ballots were never counted. They compounded that error by covering up the mistake for 11 months, not telling the elected town council, and keeping it secret from the disenfranchised voters. Now, the Attorney General’s Office wants a full accounting of all mishandled ballots and full disclosure to the impacted voters.

“The purpose of the tally is to verify that the number of ballots—and the names on the affidavit envelopes—match the list created by Bedford election officials, to ensure that all voters whose ballots were not counted were properly notified,” Matteson told NH Journal.

The Attorney General’s Office began investigating the bungled ballots starting in November 2020, soon after being notified about the problem. Town election officials did not make any disclosure about the ballots until October 2021, after NH Journal broke the story.

According to a letter from the Attorney General’s Office sent to Bedford officials last year, the town was supposed to notify the 190 voters whose ballots were uncounted. Bill Klein, who was the Town Moderator during the election and subsequent fallout, made repeated claims to the contrary, saying he was directed by the attorney general to keep mum about the ballots.

“I was persistent in contacting (the Attorney General’s Office), because I thought it was wrong to not do something, including telling you and the voters way back as soon as we could,” he told town council members after the issue came to light in November 2021.

However, General Counsel Anne Edwards sent Klein and town election officials a scathing letter in November setting the record straight.

“At no time did the Attorney General’s Office direct the Bedford Election officials not to explain the situation with the 190 absentee ballots to the town council or any other person,” Edwards wrote.

According to Edwards, Klein could have disclosed the issue any time he wanted. And, she said, the town was specifically told to make that disclosure to voters starting in June and July 2021. Klein and others did not want to tell voters, according to Edwards.

“Since early June, our office has been in contact with Bedford election officials regarding possible remediation plans and investigative interviews,” Edwards wrote. “During those conversations, Bedford election officials raised concerns that they did not want to notify voters of the fact that their ballots were not counted. Our office directed that such a notification was a requirement of any remediation plan.”

While Klein’s claim the Attorney General’s office demanded silence was incorrect, someone did, in fact, instruct him to leave voters and the town council in the dark: Attorney and then-assistant Town Moderator Brian Shaughnessy.

Long after the letter with the false claim had been mailed to voters, Shaughnessy publicly acknowledged he had given the problematic legal advice to his fellow town officials. Shaughnessy admitted it during the November 2021 town council meeting and during the New Hampshire Executive Council hearing on his nomination to become a circuit court judge. (The GOP-controlled Council rejected Shaughnessy’s nomination by a 4-1 vote.)

Shaughnessy said he thought the investigation would be over in a matter of weeks, not months, and the information would come out. He also claimed the Attorney General’s Office never gave Klein permission to go public.

“The Attorney General investigation was a criminal investigation, and [Town Clerk] Sally [Kellar] and Bill [Klein] could be subject to criminal penalties including felonies,” he told the town council. “I told them to get permission from the Attorney General’s Office to share and they never received that permission until after the report came out.”

The Attorney General’s report came out in October 2021.

Klein also maintained that he never got permission to make the disclosure despite repeated calls to the Attorney General’s Office.

“I said, ‘Please get this thing going because we want to be able to get it over with. We want to be able to tell people, especially the voters,” Klein told the town council.

Edwards stated that was not true.

“Our office never instructed you not to tell anyone of the incident involving the 190 uncounted absentee ballots,” Edwards wrote to Klein.

While Shaughessy said he did not want the issue to become public, and told Klein and others not to talk, he also claimed there was no intention to hide the errors, given that the Attorney General’s Office would make the matter public at some point.

“It would be pure lunacy for them to try and hide this knowing that that (attorney general’s) letter was going to be issued, you would be notified, so there was no ill motive here to hide the ball. Who wins by hiding the ball?” Shaughnessy said.

But Klein did want to hide the ball, as it were, and dragged his feet on the notifications, according to Edwards. He was directed to make the notification in August and September and was finally told he would have to make the notifications after the September special election. 

During that special election, another unknown number of uncounted ballots were found from previous elections. That was kept quiet until November and resulted in another Attorney General’s Office investigation, which is also ongoing. 

The Attorney General’s Office has received permission from the courts to open the ballot boxes and envelopes in the Bedford case. Edwards told NHJournal it is part of the office’s due diligence.

“We are taking this very seriously. We want to confirm that any voter whose ballot wasn’t counted is notified and they have the information they have a right to,” Edwards said. “With respect to the ballots found during the 2021 special election, we want to confirm how many ballots there are, and if the number could have impacted the outcome of any race.

“That’s always a great concern to us,” Edwards said.

Write-In Campaigns Are Longshots, But Wiseman’s Upbeat in Bedford

Despite the long odds of being a write-in candidate, Hanan Wiseman likes his chances to become Bedford’s next Town Moderator over Brian Shaughnessy.  

“Believe it or not, for being a write-in candidate against a very well-connected individual, I feel really good about my chances,” Wiseman said Monday.

Shaughnessy was the assistant town moderate and played a key role in Bedford’s 2020 ballot snafu, coverup, and subsequent New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office investigation. He did not respond to a request for comment.

As the only candidate on the ballot in his race, Shaugnessy would be expected to ignore a write-in candidacy. Instead, he’s taken to Facebook to explain his actions regarding the 2020 ballot problems, and he sent a threatening letter to Wiseman suggesting he might sue his opponent for defamation.

“He’s just making things worse,” one Bedford Republican told NHJournal.

Brian Shaughnessy

Win or lose on Tuesday, Shaughnessy will be the subject of an Executive Council meeting on Wednesday as they consider his nomination to become a Circuit Court judge. Sununu’s decision to pick the Bedford Democrat surprised some Republicans and alarmed others.

New Hampshire’s Republican National Committee member, Chris Ager, sent a letter to the four Republican Executive Council members urging them to vote against Shaughnessy. 

“My concern is with a perception of a lack of transparency in our elections. I believe our system has credibility issues with many voters. This nominee will only deepen the distrust of our (in my opinion well run) elections,” Ager wrote.

Councilor Dave Wheeler has already announced his opposition and urged Sununu to pull the nomination.

Meanwhile, Wiseman says he’s been working hard for votes the past few weeks.

“We’ve reached over 5,000 people individually in this community and, as of today, I have only received negative feedback from two people,” Wiseman said. “Everyone else has been positive. I guess it will all come down to who shows up at the polls and whether or not they take the time to write me in.”

Bedford typically sees about 1,700 voters come out to the polls during the annual Town Meeting ballot vote. Bedford GOP Chair Bart Fromer said no matter how hard Wiseman might be campaigning, Shaughnessy still has the edge given he’s the only name on the ballot. Even with the 2020 ballot controversies, many voters may not be paying attention to the issues.

“Typical voters coming out to Town Meeting may not be focused on that race,” Fromer said

Wiseman knows he’s got a tough hill to climb when the voters go to the polls tomorrow.

“I certainly believe that if I were on the ballot, I would win this election in a landslide. Being a write-in right now is my greatest hurdle,” Wiseman said.

The town is currently the subject of another ballot-related investigation by the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office after a second batch of 2020 ballots were discovered inside an election box during a September special election.

These ballots were counted during the 2020 election, but left out of the recount. Town officials were not notified about these ballots until November, and there were no plans to inform the public until NH Journal broke the story. The New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office took control of the town’s ballot boxes and the investigation is ongoing.

As Criticism Mounts, Bedford’s Shaughnessy Takes His Defense Public

Brian Shaughnessy took to Facebook to defend his actions during Bedford’s recent ballot fiascos, high-profile missteps that prompted two state investigations and gave the affluent community’s reputation a black eye.

Shaughnessy took the unusual move of posting an extended explanation on social media, a possible sign both his candidacy for town moderator in March and his nomination to the bench are both in trouble.

“What’s the old saying? ‘When you’re explaining, you’re losing?'” one NHGOP political operative told NHJournal.

Shaughnessy is the town official behind the decision to leave voters in the dark regarding 190 ballots from the 2020 election that were never counted due to election worker errors. No member of the public knew about those ballots for close to a year when New Hampshire Journal broke the story in October. 

Now, he is facing a write-in challenge for the town moderator position, and his nomination to the Circuit Court is being scrutinized ahead of a public hearing before the Executive Council.

In his lengthy statement to a private Facebook group this week, Shaughnessy claims there was no intentional cover-up of the ballots. He maintains he advised town officials not to discuss the situation in good faith.

“There was no effort to hide the ball or intention to cover this matter up. I would never be a party to that type of behavior,” Shaughnessy wrote.

Shaughnessy states that since the investigation into the 190 ballots carried the possibility of criminal charges, he recommended that Town Moderator Bill Klein, Town Clerk Sally Kellar, and others keep quiet until the investigation was complete.

“The Secretary of State’s Office was notified within 30 minutes of the discovery which was the appropriate chain of command. During a meeting after the discovery was made, I recommended, and everyone agreed, that we would notify the 190 voters and apologize that they were disenfranchised through an honest mistake. That would only be done, however, once we received permission from the Attorney General’s Office,” he wrote.

The town eventually did send out that letter, falsely claiming the Attorney General’s Office had ordered it to remain silent. Shaughnessy did not dispute the town’s claim at the time.

“I firmly believe every Bedford official acted in good faith, fully cooperated with the investigation, and did what he/she believed was in the best interests of election integrity as a whole,” he wrote on Friday.

Shaughnessy has taken heat for stating during a public hearing in November that he and Klein do not answer to the elected town council or the voters of Bedford. Instead, he argued, they answer to the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s Office. Hanan Wiseman, who is mounting a write-in campaign against Shaughnessy, is making the idea of accountability to voters a central part of his candidacy.

“We MUST have a town moderator who holds himself accountable to the voters. There is no way for the public to trust the integrity of the elections if the people who oversee the elections aren’t trustworthy and transparent,” Wiseman wrote on his website.

Last November, Klein and Kellar sent a letter to voters blaming their silence on the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office, a claim that office refuted. Shaughnessy admitted providing the advice to remain silent, saying it was “haphazard legal advice.”

Anger over Shaughnessy’s actions is widespread in Bedford, with multiple calls for Shaughnessy’s resignation. Shaughnessy dismissed those demands by saying he has no office to resign from.

“I was not an elected official and only serve at each election at the discretion of the moderator that appoints me. There was no office for me to resign from since I am simply a volunteer who does not get paid and is not elected,” he wrote.

Town Council Chair Dave Gilbert said Friday that he agreed, saying that there is nothing for Shaughnessy to resign from as a volunteer. When pushed on whether or not Shaughnessy had a choice to keep a volunteer position or resign, Gilbert said, “I guess he could. The town council has nothing to do with that.”

When asked if he then agrees that Klein and Shaughnessy do not report to the town council, Gilbert got angry.

“This is why I don’t like to talk to you guys, you make stuff up,” he said before hanging up the phone.

Shaughnessy’s nomination to become a Superior Court judge will need the approval of the state’s Executive Council, which is taking up the matter on March 9 — the day after Bedford’s town elections.

Councilor Dave Wheeler (R-District 5) has come out against Sharughnessy’s appointment. Councilor Joseph Kenney (R-District 1) said he needs to know more before making a decision.

“At this point, I reserve all opinions until the public hearing,” Kenney said.

The other three councilors, Cinde Warmington (D-District 2), Ted Gatsas (R-District 4), and Janet Stevens (R-District 3) did not respond to requests for comment.

Their handling of Shaughnessy’s nomination is likely to be an issue in this year’s elections, particularly for GOP primary voters concerned about election integrity.

“The issue of election irregularities is proving to be a potent one,” said Windham Selectman Bruce Breton, a GOP activist and longtime Trump ally. Breton says Republicans concerned about ballot security are watching the Shaughnessy matter closely. And, he says, it is not just the GOP. “This issue reaches beyond just Republican voters.”

Bedford Republicans and political leaders are reluctant to criticize a Sununu nominee. However, they tell NHJournal off the record they fear the public hearing will reflect poorly on their local politics and raise embarrassing questions about why Sununu would nominate such a problematic pick.

“It’s going to be terrible for the town and everyone involved,” one GOP source told NHJournal.

The Attorney General’s Office completed its review of the town’s first ballot mishandling issue and is now conducting an investigation into the second case. It involves an undisclosed number of 2020 ballots discovered inside a ballot box in September and, like the first batch, kept secret. These ballots were counted during the 2020 election but left out of the recount.

Town officials were not notified about these ballots until November, and Gilbert warned town council members not to speak about the issue. 


EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this story mistakenly reported Shaughnessy is being considered for a judgeship on the Superior Court. It is the Circuit Court. NHJournal regrets the error.


SHAUGHNESSY: There Was No Cover-Up In Bedford Ballot Case

Brian Shaughnessy, a candidate for Bedford Town Moderator in the March 8 municipal elections, played a key role in the November 2020 elections in which two sets of ballots were mishandled and town officials kept the mistake a secret for nearly a year.

NHJournal’s reporting on the story can be found here, here and here.

Shaughnessy has since been nominated by Gov. Chris Sununu to serve as a Circuit Court judge. One of the five members of the Executive Council has already urged Sununu to withdraw the nomination.

Shaughnessy posted the following on Facebook Friday:


My name is Brian Shaughnessy and I am running unopposed for Bedford Town Moderator.

There is a write-in candidate, Hanan Wiseman, who has a website that contains false and misleading information about me. Mr. Wiseman’s website states: “We CANNOT allow someone like Brian Shaughnessy who is compromised and came under investigation from the Attorney General’s office for mishandling the 2020 election, then lied about it to the voters here in Bedford to oversee elections!”

He also states that I have said I do not work for the voters. In his defense, he is getting this inaccurate information from several stories and social media discussions that allege my involvement in a cover-up, and allegedly lying to voters in a letter I did not author or send. Almost all of this speculation and innuendo are inaccurate at best, and purposefully false at worst.

I am not the Town Moderator, I am not under investigation, I did not send any letter to the voters. I did not handle any of the ballots that are the subject of recent articles, nor was I in any way involved with the mistakes that were made, training the dozens of new election workers required to process the 7,700 absentee ballots received by Bedford for the 2020 COVID general election, or communicating any information to the state, town, or voters. I am an unpaid election volunteer performing my civic duty.

An honest mistake was made. After the November 3, 2020 election, the Assistant Town Clerk could not reconcile the number of ballots issued with the number of votes cast. This is a standard report/ reconciliation that is required to be filed with the Secretary of State’s office to assure the integrity of the election and guard against any ballot box stuffing or other attempts to “rig” an election.

As required by law, the NH Attorney General’s office conducted an investigation. Its report dated October 21, 2021, found no wrongdoing and determined that an election worker inadvertently moved a container of 190 uncounted absentee ballots which had been pre-opened per COVID related protocols to the table where the empty absentee ballot envelopes, which are required by law to be preserved for 3 years, were being stored for eventual transfer back to Town Hall for storage. After finding the unopened uncast absentee ballots, the Town Clerk immediately contacted the Secretary of State’s office and reported the discovery.

I was not the subject of the investigation or at any time “under investigation.” I was a witness in that investigation.

There was no lie. A letter sent by Moderator Klein and Town Clerk Gellar to the 190 absentee voters indicated that they were advised to not discuss this matter with anyone, not even the Town Council, because it was the subject of a pending investigation. In a detailed letter I sent to the Town Council prior to a November 17, 2021, Council meeting (both of which are public record), apologizing to the Council that it was left in the dark for 11 months while the Attorney General’s office was investigating the matter, I acknowledged that the Klein/Gellar letter could have been more articulately phrased, but that letter did not state that Bedford election officials were “ordered” by the Attorney General’s office to not discuss the matter with anyone while the investigation was pending.

The advice to not discuss matters relating to the pending investigation came from me, as a lawyer, advising someone who is the subject [of] a pending investigation that could support criminal charges (see RSA 661). Any notification to the Town Council would be subject to RSA 91-A (the right to know law), and any public statements could become fodder for social media which could impact the pending investigation. Standard legal advice.

Despite an accusation made by a Town Councilor during the November 17, 2021, Town Council meeting that my legal advice was “haphazard’: it is the same legal advice Moderator Klein and Clerk Gellar subsequently received from the Town Attorney.

I did not state election officials do not work for the voters. At the Town Council meeting, I responded to a particular question to me that incorrectly stated that the Town Moderator, an elected official, had a duty to report to the Town Council. The Town Councilor who made the inaccurate statement demanded that all of the Town officials who knew about the uncast absentee ballots and did not report it to the Town Council should resign. I responded that both the Town Moderator and the Town Clerk are also elected officers, and as Election Officials, they report to the Secretary of State’s office on election matters, which they did in this case, and not the Town Council (see NH Constitution, Part 2, Article 32 and RSA 659:60).

I further pointed out that I could not resign as demanded because I was not an elected official and only serve at each election at the discretion of the Moderator that appoints me. There was no office for me to resign from since I am simply a volunteer who does not get paid and is not elected. Bill Klein was very pointed in his statements that election officials are accountable to the voters.

From those statements, it is being reported, and repeated, that I have stated that we do not work for the voters and have no obligation to be transparent to the voters. Simply not true.

There was no effort to hide the ball, or intention to cover this matter up. I would never be a party to that type of behavior.

The Secretary of State’s office was notified within 30 minutes of the discovery which was the appropriate chain of command. During a meeting after the discovery was made, I recommended, and everyone agreed, that we would notify the 190 voters and apologize that they were disenfranchised through an honest mistake. That would only be done, however, once we received permission from the Attorney General’s office. We had no idea that the report would not be finalized until 11 months later, but Moderator Klein and the Town Manager knew from the beginning that at the conclusion of the Attorney General’s investigation, a report would be sent to the Town at which point it becomes a public document.

I firmly believe every Bedford official acted in good faith, fully cooperated with the investigation, and did what he/she believed was in the best interests of election integrity as a whole.

I agreed to run for Town Moderator again after Bill Klein indicated he was stepping down, and no one else signed up for the job. Today, more than ever, we need experienced people running our elections.


EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this story reported Shaughnessy is being considered for a Superior Court judgeship. It is the Circuit Court. NHJournal regrets the error.

EC Wheeler: Sununu Judicial Pick Has ‘Integrity’ Problem, Gov Should Dump Him

Executive Councilor Dave Wheeler says Gov. Chris Sununu’s troubled judicial pick Brian Shaughnessy doesn’t belong on the bench, and he should withdraw from consideration. And if he doesn’t, Sununu should pull the nomination himself.

Wheeler’s announcement adds to the growing speculation that Shaughnessy’s nomination will not make it through the Executive Council.

Shaughnessy, who served as assistant town moderator, is best known for his role in the town of Bedford’s bungled 2020 elections and urging his fellow town officials to keep their mistakes secret from the public. Rather than stepping back, Shaughnessy is currently a candidate for the town moderator position, a move that is raising its own ethical questions.

NHJournal reached out to all five members of the Executive Council. Only one would speak on the record, and his message to fellow Republican Chris Sununu was clear.

“I have received many calls from citizens questioning his integrity and asking me to oppose his nomination,” Wheeler told NHJournal. “Mr. Shaughnessy should withdraw himself from nomination.”

If he doesn’t, Sununu should pull his name from consideration, Wheeler added.

And, Wheeler said, “If neither happens before his public hearing, [Shaughnessy] has a lot of explaining to do!”

Assuming Democrat Cinde Warmington opposes Shaughnessy’s nomination, that puts the problematic pick just one vote away from defeat on the 4-1 GOP-controlled Council. Sources close to the remaining Executive Councilors say there is little support for Sununu’s nominee among Republican councilors, who are hearing grassroots opposition to the nomination.

Few Republicans want to criticize the popular Republican governor on the record; but behind the scenes, some of his supporters are irate that is he is recharging the election-integrity issue.

Sununu did not respond to a request for comment.

One person willing to speak was former Town Councilor Kelleigh Murphy, who cast a vote of”no confidence” last November over Shaughnessy’s mishandling of ballots and declaration that the councilors, and the voters of Bedford, had no right to know what election officials were doing.

“We don’t work for you,” Shaugnessy told the town council.

Murphy told NHJournal on Tuesday, “I don’t think it’s an appropriate nomination. The judiciary is the highest echelon of the legal profession, and nominees to and those holding that honor should (and typically are) reflective of the highest level of character and fitness.”

Days after the November 2020 general election, a tray of 190 uncounted absentee ballots was discovered in Bedford. Rather than reveal the mistake, Shaughnessy advised the town moderator and other officials to inform the Secretary of State but leave the town council and disenfranchised voters in the dark. It was nearly a year before the truth came out, at which time the town sent a letter falsely claiming the state Attorney General’s office instructed it to hide the error.

Shaughnessy has since acknowledged he was the source of the “haphazard legal advice” that kept voters from finding out what town officials had done.

A few weeks later, another stack of mishandled ballots was discovered by Bedford officials. Again the town refused to reveal basic details about the ballots to the public. The town is currently under investigation by the Attorney General’s Office over the second tranche of ballots.

And Shaughnessy’s troubles may not end there.

An email is circulating within Bedford legal and political circles raising questions about the ethics of Shaughnessy campaigning for the town moderator position in the March 8 election. The email includes a link to the American Bar Association’s Model Code of Judicial Conduct, specifically Canon 4: “A Judge Or Candidate For Judicial Office Shall Not Engage In Political Or Campaign Activity That Is Inconsistent With The Independence, Integrity, Or Impartiality Of The Judiciary.”

A Bedford attorney who asked to remain anonymous said there was a general unease with the idea of Shaughessy running for office as a judicial candidate and, even more, serving as both a judge and the town’s top election official.

“Elections are politicized now. There are all kinds of questions and conspiracies. People aren’t saying it’s illegal or even wrong [for Shaughnessy to hold both jobs], but they aren’t happy about it, either.”

Hanan Wiseman is running for town moderator as a write-in candidate. He tells NHJournal voters are raising the issue of Shaughnessy’s judicial nominee when he’s out campaigning.

“I’m not finding any support for [Shaughnessy] or his judgeship,” Wiseman said. “And a lot of people don’t believe the Executive Council will approve him.”

Shaughnessy declined to respond to a request for comment.

Sununu Mocks Manchester Visit by ‘Infomercial Guy’ Lindell

My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell may be a rock star on the fringe right, but Gov. Chris Sununu tells NHJournal he is not impressed.

“New Hampshire isn’t interested in debunked political conspiracy theories from some infomercial guy. Our citizens can sleep easy knowing that our elections were safe, secure, reliable, and accurate – just as they are every year,” Sununu said Monday.

That stands in stark contrast to Lindell, who claims the Granite State presidential election was stolen by Chinese computer hackers and corrupted vote-counting machines that switched more than 50,000 votes.

Lindell, best known for his non-stop TV ads on Fox News and out-there theories about COVID-19 and the 2020 election, is bringing his conspiracy roadshow to Manchester’s Doubletree Hotel Wednesday morning. The New Hampshire state House of Representatives will convene at the same hotel, due to COVID concerns, that morning.

According to an email sent by state Rep. Susan Homola (R-Hollis), legislators and town officials are invited to “a presentation on the latest tools, techniques, and technology advancements in election security. This presentation is being hosted by Mike Lindell, and it is intended to be a forward-looking discussion on emerging election methods and supporting hardware.”

Homola declined to respond to multiple requests for comment, nor would she name any local organizers or participants. For a social media savvy figure like Lindell, there are virtually no mentions of the upcoming event, which is not open to the public.

Lindell, who is facing multiple lawsuits for his outlandish claims about voting machine companies, remains adamant that Donald Trump won a major popular vote victory in 2020, despite the available evidence to the contrary.

This won’t be the first time Lindell’s pitched his view of American politics in the Granite State.

“China picked our winners” in the 2020 election, Lindell told the group 603 Alliance during a speech in Manchester last August. “Everybody knows it — 100 percent this election was stolen,” Lindell said. “It was stolen by machines,” he added. “There had to be some kind of algorithm because it went across all states.”

And yes that includes New Hampshire’s election which, despite the work of then-Sec. of State Bill Gardner, Lindell claims was stolen by the Chinese Communist Party. Lindell declared that rather than losing the state by eight points (425,000 t0 366,000), Trump won the Granite State, 410,000 to 375,000 votes.

 “He crushed New Hampshire, he crushed it,” Lindell claimed.

Lindell’s latest project is making pillows for the truck drivers protesting in Canada.

“All of our employees are busy making pillows right now for the truckers in Canada,” Lindell told an interviewer over the weekend. “We’re going to try and get them through. I’m not going to say what day or you know there will be obstructionists.”