NH Dems accuse Romney of campaign finance violations

The New Hampshire Democratic Party filed a campaign finance complaint on Friday against former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a filing the Republican dismissed as purely political.

New Hampshire Democrats accused Romney, in a complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), of raising money through his state-based political action committees (PACs) in five states in support of his presidential campaign, in violation of federal campaign finance laws.

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Specifically, the complaint alleges that Romney took money from PACs in excess of the federal limits at the state level, only to use that money in turn to support his nascent presidential campaign.

Romney's exploratory committee dismissed the complaint as politically motivated.

"This is totally political," said Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for Romney. "For those wondering what the Obama jobs plan entails, it apparently involves hiring more lawyers at the FEC to handle frivolous complaints filed by his minions."

New Hampshire Democrats suggested that the money donated to Romney's state PACs was  commingled with his presidential campaign to such an extent that federal rules on donations should apply to his state-level PACs.

“Romney’s funneling of campaign contributions from his array of state political action committees to fund his presidential campaign reeks of an Enron-style accounting scheme,” said New Hampshire Democrats' communications director, Holly Shulman. “Mitt Romney just wants to be president — plain and simple — and he’ll take any position, say anything or do anything to get there."

Potential candidates for president typically establish the state committees and PACs to collect donations and distribute financial support in key primary states. New Hampshire hosts the first-in-the-nation primary in the 2012 campaign, and Romney has pinned a great deal of his political strategy to win the GOP nomination on winning there.

Romney established state PACs in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina — the three first major nominating states — as well as Alabama and Michigan. Democrats claim that by accepting soft money through those PACs, Romney was able to finance his campaign through those, rather than through a federal PAC, donations to which would have been limited by federal campaign finance laws.