A lawsuit filed by the New Hampshire state attorney general's office against former Republican Rep. Charlie Bass continues to loom over the campaign polling industry at large. The suit, which is set to be heard in a Concord, N.H., courthouse next month according to a story published Thursday by the New Hampshire Union Leader, alleges that Bass's campaign improperly conducted a poll without disclosing to respondents that it had commissioned the survey.
The source of the suit is a poll commissioned by Bass's campaign and the National Republican Congressional Committee in Sept. 2010, when Bass was running for an open House seat against Democrat Ann McLane Kuster. The poll's script incorrectly identified the NRCC as the sole sponsor of the survey; New Hampshire state law prevents telephoning residents regarding an opposing candidate’s "character, status, or political stance or record" without disclosing the name of the candidate on whose behalf the poll was commissioned. The hefty penalties for violating the law -- Bass's campaign faces a maximum fine of $400,000 -- have given some national consultants pause about polling the state in future campaigns.
Bass's attorneys are moving to dismiss the suit, the Union Leader reported, arguing that the state law does not apply to candidates for federal office. The Federal Election Commission told the Democratic polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research last year in an advisory opinion that they did not believe the law applies to congressional candidates.
Still, the case continues to draw the attention of consultants working in the Granite State, though Attorney General Michael Delaney says the state's law is working. The Union Leader's John DiStaso:
DiStaso also writes that the case "will probably be appealed to the state Supreme Court," no matter the lower court's decision.
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