Guinta Repays More Loans; Amends Reports To Change Payment Timeline

Congressman Frank Guinta has repaid himself an additional $22,000 in campaign loans, according to new financial disclosure reports. Guinta has also filed amended finance reports moving the date of a previous loan repayment to indicate the payment was made six months earlier than previously disclosed.

During the course of his 2010 campaign, Guinta loaned his campaign a total of $355,000. New finance reports indicate that on November 29, 2011, Guinta repaid himself $22,000 in loans made to his campaign. This comes on top of $19,500 in loans Guinta had previously repaid himself, bringing total loan repayments to $41,500 and leaving a loan balance of $313,500. The repayments to Guinta come from donations individuals and PACs are making to Guinta’s current re-election campaign committee.

Guinta had first disclosed the initial loan repayment in July, 2011. But according to amended finance reports Guinta has also filed, the initial $19,500 payment was made on December 30, 2010 – six months earlier than Guinta had previously disclosed.

In between the first loan repayment and its disclosure, Guinta filed three finance reports neglecting to mention the loan repayment. He failed to disclose it in a 2010 year end report filed on January 30, 2011; on an amended version of that same report filed on April 14, 2011; and on his quarterly report filed on April 15, 2011. Finally, amending his 2010 year-end report for a second time on July 15, 2011, Guinta reported the loan repayment made six months earlier. He also filed another amended April quarterly report reflecting that the loan repayment had been made earlier.

The original $355,000 appears to have been transferred from a mysterious bank account, valued at between $250,000 and $500,000, the existence of which Guinta had failed to disclose on not one but two prior personal financial disclosure statements in 2009 and 2010. During the campaign, Guinta first said he simply forgot about the large account and called his failure to report its existence an oversight. Then his campaign said he had sold off investments, but if so, he had not reported owning assets worth that much on previous personal disclosure statements, either. Guinta later said he had accumulated the assets through years of hard work, fugal living, and successful investing, and he stuck with that story for the rest of the campaign.

Questions about the mystery bank account, and the true source of the money, have dogged Guinta ever since. Guinta had long earned a modest income as a congressional staffer and mayor of Manchester, did not have paid employment during 2010, carried student loan debt, and made minimum down payments when purchasing homes, all of which seemed inconsistent with someone sitting on up to a half a million in cash. He refused to release bank statements that would confirm whether or not the bank account existed prior to his congressional campaign. If the funds came from a wealthy supporter – perhaps a family member – and were given with the intent of funding Guinta’s campaign, the transfer would have violated Federal election law limiting contributions to a maximum of $2,400 per person and may have exposed the donor to gift tax liability as well. An investigation of the matter by the Federal Elections Commission is ongoing and has not been resolved.

Guinta’s latest report indicates his campaign committee has $565,273 cash on hand. Were Guinta to repay himself the rest of his loan, he would have $251,773 in campaign cash., February 6, 2012

Author: Fergus Cullen

Fergus Cullen is a former chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party (2007-2008) and an editorial page columnist for the New Hampshire Union Leader.

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