Mailer favoring Nashua arts center in violation of law

NASHUA – A mailer sent to Nashua residents urging a vote in favor of the performing arts center proposal may have violated state campaign laws.

The mailer, sent out by the Nashua Enrichment Committee, failed to include the name and address of a representative for the group, as is required under state law. Dave Scanlan, New Hampshire’s deputy secretary of state, said people who get that mailer should report it.

“It should be reported to the Attorney General’s Office to see if it violates state law,” Scanlan said.

Michael Watt, spokesman for the Nashua Enrichment Committee, said Wednesday that the lack of a name and address is an oversight that his group will correct.

“Our first mailer

arrived at homes a little over a week ago, and we did not realize it lacked the required wording until it had already left the printers,” Watt said.

Since the mailer went out. Watt said the remaining stock has been fixed with stickers and will be used as the group goes door to door to advocate for the performing arts center. They also plan to send out a second mailer to everyone who got the first, and this one will have the necessary identification, Watt said.

Political action committees in New Hampshire must file financing disclosures with the state if the committees are working to influence a vote on a statewide question, or for a candidate for state office. Scanlan said there is no requirement for a committee working on a local election to file with the state.

However, Nashua does require disclosures for committees working on local elections. The Nashua Enrichment Committee’s city disclosure forms show that it has raised more than $1,000 from 26 donors for the fundraising period ending Oct. 17.

However, the disclosure forms do not appear to show how much was spent on the mailer. The forms indicate that the group has spent $20 on printing and close to $70 for advertisements on Facebook. Watt did not respond to questions about how much the mailer cost the committee.

The committee wants to see the proposed $15 million performing arts center become a reality. The proposal for the city to buy and renovate the former shoe store on Main Street into a theater and events center died when Aldermen voted in favor of the plan, but not by a wide enough margin to pass a bond issue.

The non-bonding question on the ballot may give the incoming members of the Board of Aldermen a direction to either pursue the purchase, or let the proposal die.

Damien Fisher can be reached at 594-1245 or or @Telegraph_DF.