Jun 4, 2015 10:28 PM
NH1 Political Director - NH1.com
MANCHESTER – Hours after New Hampshire GOP Chair Jennifer Horn wrote that that U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta “has clearly been untruthful,” the embattled Republican congressman pushed back against calls to resign, saying “I am committed to my job.”
In a letter to the state party executive committee that was made public Thursday, Horn wrote that “to be perfectly honest, I no longer believe him,” when discussing Guinta’s claim that a $355,000 loan that he received from a bank account in his parents name during his first election to Congress in 2010 was actually his money.
In a one-on-one interview with NH1 News Thursday evening, Horn said “it is clear that the congressman has not been forthcoming, has not but fully forthcoming in his explanations in what happened here. I don’t know where the truth lies but I don’t think it lies in what he’s told us so far.”
Horn’s email and interview with NH1 News came two days after the Federal Election Commission reported that Guinta’s mother provided them with information that undercut the congressman’s persistent contention that the funds he received from an account in his parent’s name was his own money.
Guinta used the money in the 2010 cycle to win a hard fought multi-candidate GOP primary, and then to defeat Democratic incumbent Rep. Carol Shea-Porter in the general election for the state's 1st Congressional District. In a report made public two weeks ago, the FEC declared the donation excessive and illegal, fining Guinta $15,000 and ordering him to repay the entire donation.
Some top Granite State Republicans, including Sen. Kelly Ayotte, state Senate President Chuck Morse, state House Speaker Shawn Jasper, and Executive Councilor Chris Sununu have called on Guinta to resign over the past two weeks ago, after the agreement between Guinta and the FEC was first made public. But last week nearly 100 Guinta supporters publicly backed the congressman in a full page ad in the New Hampshire Union Leader.
Wednesday evening, Ayotte stood by her original call for Guinta to step down, saying "while I understand that some members of my party disagree, the newly released records and FEC findings against Congressman Guinta are damning.”
"He has lost the trust of the people of New Hampshire, and it’s past time for him to do the right thing and resign,” she added.
Horn told NH1 News that “this was the most difficult letter I’ve ever had to write as chairman, the most difficult problem that we’ve had to confront. And after a full review of the FEC file of my own, it’s just clear that the congressman’s explanations just don’t add up.”
But Horn added that “I don’t believe it’s my place to call on people to resign. I don’t believe it’s my position to call for the overturn of the voice of the people. The congressman, like all elected representatives, is ultimately accountable to his constituents. I’m confident that the people of the first district will make their feelings known to him in the days and weeks ahead.”
Earlier Thursday, NHGOP Vice Chair Byran Gould resigned after objecting to Horn’s letter.
“I am deeply disappointed in the decision that he (Gould) made today,” Horn told NH1 News.
In his statement Thursday night, Guinta wrote that "GOP Vice-Chairman Gould's statement is reflective of many comments we have received from people during this time. My family and I are deeply touched by the notes of support and calls of encouragement. I am committed to my job and the legislative responsibilities serving the good people of New Hampshire."
U.S. House Speaker John Boehner remained silent on the Guinta controversy Thursday.
“I’ve not seen all the facts in the case,” the Ohio Republican told Capitol Hill reporters. “We’re waiting for them to show up. We’ll make a decision when we see facts.”
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