Saturday, July 2, 2011

Hassan’s Hodes ties threaten to turn FRM hearing into political stunt

June 7, 2010 by ShawnMillerick  
Filed under State House

Hassan has close political ties to Paul Hodes

Hassan

State Senator Maggie Hassan (D-Exeter), who heads a joint legislative committee to examine the Financial Resources Mortgage, Inc. scandal and who has called Republican Senate candidate Kelly Ayotte to testify, has deep political ties to Ayotte’s Democratic opponent Paul Hodes and has even attacked Ayotte on behalf of Hodes in the media, a review by NowHampshire.com revealed.

The revelations call into question the motivations behind Hassan’s summoning of Ayotte to appear before the committee and could undermine the committee’s veneer of credibility and independence. But for now anyway, Hassan is remaining mum on the subject.

Hassan did not call on Ayotte to appear before the hearing until June 3rd, though the committee has been in existence since March. During that time, Hodes, who represents New Hampshire’s second congressional district and whose Senate campaign has struggled, called on Ayotte to be forced to testify no fewer than nine times, NowHampshire.com’s review shows.

Meanwhile, Hassan has a close political relationship with Hodes. In January, Hassan escorted Hodes on a tour of Exeter, which Hassan represents on the New Hampshire Senate, and urged people to back Hodes’ campaign. Hodes trumpets the help Hassan gave him on his campaign website.

What’s more, when Hodes went on the attack against Ayotte in defense of President Barack Obama’s health care reform plan, Hassan joined him on a press conference call to attack Ayotte for, according to their claim, wanting to prohibit insurance companies from covering prenatal care.

Ayotte called the attacks by Hodes and Hassan “desperate” at the time.

Political observers in the Granite State are wondering if Hassan’s late request for Ayotte to appear before the committee is being driven by politics.

“You have to wonder why it took Maggie Hassan over a month to call Kelly to testify,” one Republican state Representative said to NowHampshire.com. “It would be interesting to know if Maggie had any conversations with Hodes during that time.”

NowHampshire.com posed the question to Hassan over e-mail, but she did not respond to our request to clear the matter up.

That Hassan is calling Ayotte to testify at all is surprising to many. In May, the Department of Justice released thousands of documents from Ayotte’s tenure as Attorney General and the document dump essentially exonerated Ayotte of even a hint of involvement in the financial scandal.

Hassan has seen her own political star fall in recent months. Once thought to be a Democratic gubernatorial nominee in waiting, Hassan has made a series of political blunders in 2010. She has been the principal defender of the widely unpopular LLC Tax and last week attempted to ram through a law critics said would severely limit free speech rights. The bill, it was revealed, had been written under the cover of night by former Democrat State Chairman Kathy Sullivan not by Hassan or official staff.

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