CONCORD — Gov. Chris Sununu’s first report this year of donations to his inaugural committee showed it received $62,500 from 12 contributors since he won in November and – including a surplus – still has $99,954 left to spend.
There will be no inauguration gala this year because of COVID-19. Sununu’s swearing-in and inaugural address Jan. 7 were both private because of security concerns. Beyond the people required to be there, Sununu has refused to tell InDepthNH.org who attended either event as “family and friends.” His spokesman did say they were not donors to the inaugural fund.
The law doesn’t specify how the inaugural committee’s money can be spent, but besides inauguration activities, Sununu, who declined comment for this story, has said he spends it on things related to running the office.
At a November press conference, Sununu said: “But instead of a single large gala event in January, we will be encouraging sponsorships and giving so we can host a series of free family outdoor events hopefully this summer, as we come out of COVID…
“So we will be raising hopefully a whole bunch of money, frankly, and have a whole bunch of free family outdoor events across the state for everybody to participate in.”
The three $10,000 donors to the inaugural committee in December 2020 included Anthem Inc. of Cincinnati, Ohio; H. Andy Crews, the owner of AutoFair in Manchester; and Peter Paul Wines of Petaluma, Calif.
The four $5,000 donors included Bedford Ambulatory Surgical Center of Bedford, GCGlaw Realty LLC of Concord, Sig Sauer Inc. of Newington; and the Trans Canada Pipeline USA of Houston, Texas.
The five $2,500 donors included Waste Management of Houston, Texas; Daniel Plummer, Portsmouth real estate Two International Group; New Hampshire Healthcare Association of Pembroke; John Flatley Co. of Canton, Mass.; and Delta Dental of Concord.
Sununu was criticized after the previous election for expenditures to himself, family, and the inaugural committee’s treasurer, Paul Collins. The legislature passed a bill that took effect Jan. 1 requiring expenditures totaling more than $1,000 from the inaugural treasurer to the governor-elect or his or her immediate family to contain back-up receipts. The law caps donations at $10,000.
The inaugural committee’s major expenditures in its Jan. 10 filing with the Secretary of State’s Office included three charities, books, holiday decorations, food and beverages and office incidentals. It showed a surplus from Sununu’s last inaugural campaign of $48,891 and $11,436 spent this filing period and a balance of $99,954.
The inaugural committee made three $1,000 donations to charities: Ronald McDonald House Boston Harbor of Charlestown, Mass. last August; Make A Wish NH of Manchester; and Best Buddies International on Oct. 30, 2020.
The committee paid to Amazon and Grandin Road in West Chester Township, Ohio, for holiday decorations a total of $2,016, and another $633 to Scamman’s Home and Garden in Stratham, also for holiday decorations.
Canobie Lake Park in Salem was paid $541 on July 23, 2020, for “Business visit reopening ceremony.”
The second biggest single expenditure was for $1,200 for books from Soleil’s Salt Cave, which offers holistic and alternative health services in Exeter, on Dec. 2, 2020.