Campaign notes: Hassan calls on Havenstein to ‘come clean’; endorsement for Guinta, Garcia taps Lambert
TUESDAY, SEPT. 23: MAGGIE TO WALT: COME CLEAN. Gov. Maggie Hassan’s campaign today tried to tie Republican challenger Walt Havenstein to another scandal at the company he once headed, SAIC.
The campaign called on Havenstein to “come clean to Granite Staters about what he knew, when he knew it, and why he failed to stop SAIC’s scheme that overcharged taxpayers millions of dollars to train first responders.”
The campaign cited news reports that in 2013, SAIC settled a whistleblower lawsuit for $11.75 million resulting from “systemic fraud” in a program that overbilled the federal government for training first responders in New Mexico to respond to terrorist attacks. The campaign noted that according to the Associated Press, U.S. Attorney Ken Gonzales said his investigation showed the fraud had been ongoing for a number of years, and the SAIC whistleblower reported, “high-level executives were aware of the program and often fretted about getting caught.”
“This scandal was absolutely shocking and obviously Walt Havenstein cannot be trusted to be governor,” Emily Kane, President of the New Mexico Professional Fire Fighters Association, said in a Hassan campaign press release. “At a very critical time in our country and in New Mexico, Havenstein’s company was overcharging taxpayers and wasting essential funds that should have been going toward actually training first responders and keeping our communities safe. And if it weren’t for a whistleblower at SAIC, Havenstein’s company may never have been held accountable. That’s the definition of failed leadership.”
“While any misuse of taxpayers dollars is inexcusable, it’s particularly troubling that under Havenstein’s watch, SAIC defrauded a program intended to train first responders how to respond to terrorist attacks,” said Hassan campaign manager Marc Goldberg.
Havenstein spokesman Henry Goodwin responded: “Walt was hired by SAIC because of his extraordinary leadership ability and outstanding record at BAE Systems. While he was CEO, he had to deal with a number of issues which he inherited, going back over a decade before he arrived. In every case, Walt did what good leaders do; he faced into the issue, held those responsible accountable and resolved the problem.”
In other campaign news Tuesday:
_ 1st District U.S. House candidate Frank Guinta was endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Rob Engstrom, Senior Vice President and National Political Director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said, “We believe that your election to the U.S. House of Representatives will help produce sustained economic growth, help create more jobs, and help get our country back on track.”
_ 2nd District U.S. House candidate Marilinda Garcia today named Gary Lambert, whom she defeated in the Sept. 9 primary, as chair of her Veterans Coalition. Lambert is a retired 35-year Marine. After a bitter primary, Garcia called Lambert “a true leader who has proven his dedication to serving the people of New Hampshire.”
Lambert said, “Marilinda Garcia is a principled, honest, and independent leader who will guarantee that New Hampshire is fully prepared for the challenges that lie ahead. She will be the voice in Congress that New Hampshire deserves, and will rectify the profound transformation of America that has been caused by big spending politicians like President Obama and Ann Kuster.”
_ The Professional Fire Fighters Association of New Hampshire will endorse Gov. Maggie Hassan on Wednesday. The PFFNH said, “Governor Hassan has worked to strengthen the safety of New Hampshire’s communities and ensure that fire fighters, paramedics, police officers, and other safety officials have the support they need and deserve. She brought members of both parties together to make critical investments in school safety improvements, resources for fire fighters and safety officials, and other priorities to keep our communities safe through her bipartisan budget, balanced without a sales or income tax. And the Governor also worked to improve support services and programs for fire fighters and other safety officials who experience a crisis situation.”