Tag Archives: New Hampshire

New Hampshire House Approves Sixth Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

Concord, NH- House Bill 618, legislation to approve decriminalization of marijuana possession passed on Wednesday with a vote of 297-67. Currently, marijuana possession of any amount in New Hampshire is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a $2,000 fine and one year in prison. HB 618 would make possession of up to a half ounce of marijuana or five grams of hashish a civil violation with a fine of up to $100 for the first offense. The full bill is available to read here.

“Nobody should face jail time and a permanent criminal record just for possessing a substance that is far less harmful than alcohol,” said Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Granite Staters do not want their state government to continue wasting its resources on enforcing such an unfair and outdated policy. Hopefully our state senators and governor will respect that and move forward with this legislation.”

“The New Hampshire Constitution states that the penalty for an offense needs to fit the severity of the crime,” Rep. Adam Schroadter (R-Newmarket), a sponsor of HB 618, told Fosters.com. “And right now, marijuana is being treated as though it’s just as severe a crime as the hard drugs like heroin and cocaine. And so from that perspective, the easiest answer is that the penalty ought to fit the crime.”

This year’s vote signals rising support from House legislators for removing criminal penalties for marijuana possession.  Last year, a decriminalization bill passed the House 215-92. In 2013, a decriminalization bill was passed in the House 214-115. Wednesday’s vote marked the sixth time the House has voted to decriminalize marijuana.

While it appears to become easier each year for the House to pass a decriminalization bill, the Senate has continued to show its opposition by killing the House bills each year. If HB 618 passes the Senate this year, it still faces a veto from Governor Maggie Hassan (D-Exeter).

Hassan has long been vocal about her opposition to relaxing the state’s marijuana laws. During last year’s gubernatorial debates, Hassan appeared to soften her stance on decriminalization, saying that while she believes marijuana is harmful and legalization would lead to more people using it, “I do however think that somebody having a first offense for marijuana, you should not necessarily face criminal charges.” She went on to say that she would push for a “treatment focus” rather than a “criminal justice focus” on marijuana use.

Despite those remarks, Hassan recently told the Nashua Telegraph that she does not support HB 618, and has stated on several occasions that she would veto marijuana legalization measures beyond the medical marijuana bill she signed in 2013. Medical marijuana has yet to be implemented in New Hampshire.

Ben Swann To Speak At New Hampshire’s Annual Liberty Forum (Updated)

Update, March 6th, 2014, 2:47 p.m. Eastern: Due to hazardous weather conditions in Washington, D.C., Ben Swann will not be able to speak on Friday evening. Peter St. Onge will be speaking in place of Swann.

Manchester, NH- Ben Swann will be appearing at the Free State Project’s upcoming 8th annual Liberty Forum in Manchester, New Hampshire, where he will be giving a keynote speech titled “Defeating Collectivism In Media.”

Liberty Forum is an annual weekend conference that has regularly hosted prominent liberty-minded figures conveying ideas and philosophies about issues including personal freedom, economics, civil liberties, and local and national politics. The forum also serves as an educational resource for prospective participants of the Free State Project seeking to learn more about living in New Hampshire.

Other keynote speakers for this year’s Liberty Forum include Overstock.com CEO and Chairman Patrick Byrne as well as author and Liberty.me CEO and founder Jeffrey Tucker. In addition to the keynote speakers there will be appearances by Reason.com Editor-In-Chief Nick Gillespie; Lyn Ulbricht, mother of Ross Ulbricht; David Boaz, executive vice president of the Cato Insitute; Sheriff Richard Mack of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association; David Kelley, founder and CIO of The Atlas Society; and an array of figures from New Hampshire as well as all over the United States.

The Liberty Forum will take place at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester, New Hampshire, beginning on March 5th at 6:00 p.m. Eastern through Sunday, March 8th. Swann will be speaking on Friday, March 6th at 8:30 p.m. Eastern.

To find more information about scheduled speakers, workshops and registration information, visit nhlibertyforum.com.


New Hampshire bill would end military-grade weapons in police hands

Many police departments have received military-grade weapons and hardware from the Pentagon and other government programs, but a New Hampshire bill would ban any police departments within the state from receiving these weapons.

Bill 407 states only the “state guard… with the approval of the governor and council,” has the ability to receive military-grade weapons from the government. The bill continues by saying, “no state agency or political subdivision of this state shall acquire, purchase, or otherwise accept for use any military-equipped vehicle or military grade hardware…”

Any weapons or equipment which are readily available to the public however will still be able to be used by the affected government agencies and departments.

Bill 407 would therefore make the Defense Department’s Program 1033 null within the state. Program 1033 allows the Department of Defense to transfer any excess of hardware in possession by the department to be transferred and distributed to law enforcement agencies across the U.S.

According to the Law Enforcement Support Office, since the inception of the program in 1997, about $5.1 billion worth of hardware has been given to police agencies across the country. In 2013 alone, about $450 million worth of equipment was given out to agencies.

The bill has already received wide-spread support within the state of New Hampshire as state representatives Michael Sylvia, Edmond Gionet, Bart Fromuth, and many more have co-sponsored the bill, according to the Tenth Amendment Center. Support for the bill within New Hampshire stretches across party lines as both Democrats and Republicans have co-sponsored the bill.

Disrupt Podcast: John Ramsey Talks About Getting Funding For Liberty Candidates

In this episode of the Disrupt Podcast, Ben Swann interviews John Ramsey from the Liberty for All Action Fund about empowering people to influence political elections by starting at the local level, and then moving up to the national level.

Swann pointed out that with the current state of politics, there is a left/right paradigm present that requires a lot of money, but seems to be “designed to keep anything from actually changing.”

“Getting money out of politics is not an easy thing, and it seems like no matter how much money goes in, nothing changes,” said Swann. “Maybe for some, that’s kind of the point.”

Ramsey, who is currently working to foster liberty on the local level, explained that at Liberty for All, they are trying to “elect the next generation of liberty-leaning candidates,” by focusing on early presidential primary states where they can elect candidates who will have influence in the Republican nominee, and keep the influence away from candidates like Mitt Romney or John McCain, “who have no shot in the general election going forward.”

Swann noted that there was more that needed to be done at the state level, due to the fact that local state legislatures have a great deal of power, and are currently using it to “quash entrepreneurism,” by using regulations and association groups to hinder the ability of individuals to “rise through the system.”

Ramsey agreed, saying that by starting at the state level, they are “crushing two birds with one stone,” due to the fact that at that level, “you can actually get real policy done.”

Ramsey used the example of Arizona, where state legislators are currently working to nullify Obamacare. He pointed out that all over the country, both people and donors are beginning to realize that they can get “more bang for their buck” at the state level.

“People like Justin Amash, Thomas Massey, and Rand Paul, can do some really good stuff from a messaging perspective, and that’s what the national scene should be for, more of a marketing platform,” said Ramsey. “But if we’re serious about legislation, we should be focusing on the state level.”

Swann pointed out that there are states like Ohio, which is “as red as you can be, in terms of a red state,” that have done things such as adopting common core standards, creating multi-levels of taxes, and making trade associations that prevent individuals from starting small businesses.

“Just because the state is red, does not mean that it is embracing liberty,” said Swann. “In fact, many of these state legislatures across the country are simply fighting for who’s going to control the gears of power over people’s lives.”

“Businesses are voting with their feet,” said Ramsey, who explained that a lot of businesses are moving to states like Texas, which offers a “fairly generous climate for entrepreneurs and businesses.” Ramsey added that he works regularly on recruiting businesses from California to Texas, due to the fact that in California, businesses are “paying more than half their income to the government,” and are not about to operate.

Swann noted that the reason Texas is succeeding, is due to the fact that in the United States, there are 50 individual states act as laboratories “to legislate as they see fit,” and that while Texas is “having great success on its own,” it is also “influencing other states to take a look at their policies.”

Ramsey mentioned that Liberty for All is currently focusing states like New Hampshire, where there is a “culture of liberty.” He noted that during the 2014 midterm election cycle, Liberty for All was “successful in about 30 races,” and was a “key component in helping that legislature flip from blue to red,” in a way that promoted what is “good for small businesses, good for families, and good for entrepreneurship.”

Swann pointed out that the state shift in New Hampshire was one of the “untold stories of the 2014 midterms,” due to the fact that mainstream media in the U.S. was not interested in the narrative of it, and did not find it exciting.

Swann said that New Hampshire was also unique, because in addition to liberty-oriented red candidates, it also has “a fair number of liberty-oriented blue candidates.

“We’re about principles, not parties,” said Ramsey, who went on to say that he believes that the two-party paradigm has hurt America by fostering a dangerous philosophy that promotes collectivism.

Swann mentioned the fact that there are two kinds of donors, when it comes to politics: the kind who give lots of money so that nothing changes, because they like they system as it is, and the kind who want to see the country take a different path.

Ramsey agreed, saying that the donors, who are looking for more than just an investment that will benefit only them, are “few and far between.”

“They just want to see liberty for future generations out there,” said Ramsey. “They don’t want to see an environment in which lobbyists are winning, they want to see an environment in which entrepreneurs are winning, and philanthropists are winning.”

Update: NH Liberty Activists To Feed 1500 People This Thanksgiving

Manchester, NH- Shire Sharing, a volunteer-run charity organized by New Hampshire liberty activists throughout the state, completed their annual Thanksgiving basket assembly and delivery of meals this weekend. The organization, founded by Amanda Bouldin in 2011, provides Thanksgiving dinners to needy families. Shire Sharing relies entirely on donations and volunteers to locate families in need, gather food, and assemble and deliver the meals.

The organization reached their fundraising goal with enough money to deliver meals to 500 homes, and this year has seen a large expansion in numbers of volunteers as well as areas being served. In Shire Sharing’s first year of operation in 2011, meals were delivered mostly to homes in the Manchester area. The organization has continued to grow over the last few years, and this year families were served in the areas of Manchester, Concord, Nashua, Keene, and Grafton.

Shire Sharing locates families in need by working with various human services organizations. Bouldin learned late last week that one of the organizations would not be providing her with a previously committed list of families in need.

“About 72 hours before we were set to make deliveries, we found out there was a problem with the data for about 300 families on our list and we couldn’t get the information in time,” Bouldin told Benswann.com’s Annabelle Bamforth. “We readjusted our food orders and scrambled to find more families. We located about 100 more in one day. By then, it was far too late to make any changes, so we went with what we had. All in all, we delivered to over 330 households.”

Despite the circumstances, the leftover resources from Shire Sharing will not be going to waste. Bouldin was contacted by Liberty House, a homeless shelter for veterans located in Manchester, and learned that about 300 homeless veterans are in need of Thanksgiving meals. Bouldin plans to use the remainder of the Thanksgiving supplies to provide those veterans with dinner on Thanksgiving Day.


Air Force Vet Wakes Up in Federal Prison on Veterans Day

WASHINGTON, November 12, 2014–Decorated 20-year Air Force veteran and former firearms instructor at the Sig Sauer Academy, Timothy Arnold, woke up this Veterans Day in federal prison. Arnold was convicted earlier this year in a civilian court in Brunswick, Georgia, of manufacturing firearms and embezzlement—charges Arnold and many of his colleagues openly dispute. Active duty Office of Special Investigations (OSI) agents filed numerous complaints with the Inspector General (IG) regarding lead investigator Wendell Palmer’s “unethical” practices while building the case against Arnold. The information about the affidavits and the pending IG investigation was withheld from the court, in direct violation of the Supreme Court’s Brady doctrine requiring prosecutor Fred Kramer to disclose it. Additionally, the testimony of the defense’s star witness was prevented by unsubstantiated allegations of his contempt of court—testimony the would-be witness claims would have exonerated Arnold.

Thanks to exclusive reports filed earlier on BenSwann, Arnold’s case is receiving national attention and is the subject of an official Congressional Inquiry into its handling. Those with knowledge about the case continue to come forward, outraged that this prosecutorial tragedy happened at all, much less to a man they consistently describe as “honest to a fault” and “full of integrity.”

Tim Arnold served his country for 20 years and executed many top secret missions. Now he serves time in prison.
Tim Arnold served his country for 20 years and executed many top secret missions. Now he serves time in prison.

Before Arnold self-surrendered to the United States Penitentiary that currently holds him, he addressed several mischaracterizations made during the trial. Assistant United States Attorney Kramer accused Arnold of purchasing “stenciled golf balls” and other items “he and his friends thought were cool” using the government-issued credit card. “Yes, I bought golf balls! I also bought custom pins, pens, lighters, coffee cups, and shot glasses with the OSI insignia on them,” Arnold says, “That is what is known as swag. It is customary to give small tokens like these to visiting dignitaries, foreign agents attending training, and those you need to thank while on out-of-country assignments. In keeping with OSI regulations, I turned the swag over to the Commodities Custodian and would then ‘sign it out’ as needed.” Arnold said he was the recipient of such swag from the White Houses of both President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush. He says small gestures like these are traditional throughout the military.

Kramer accused Arnold of impersonating a law enforcement officer. Arnold says he used the AFOSI-issued badge and credentials provided to him, as he had done for years. He also willingly surrendered the badges to investigators for examination. The prosecution claimed Arnold wore various patches and pretended to be in different branches of the military. “I did wear different shirts depending upon what scenario I set up for my firearms and tactics classes,” Arnold said after the trial. “I never ran around town claiming to be an Army Ranger, a Marine sniper, or anything else.” Another detail not revealed in the trial was that during Arnold’s Air Force career, he was actually part of an elite Air Mobility Command. The jury heard a different story, however. “He’s a poser. He’s a fraud,” Kramer told them. “This is a man with no honor in him.”

Arnold refused to plead guilty to any of the charges during pre-trial negotiations and proceeded with a costly trial in order to clear his name. OSI agents who testified for the defense were shocked that a case with falsified evidence at the hands of who they believe to be an unethical fellow investigator sailed all the way through the legal system. Those who signed affidavits complaining about Palmer’s tactics are currently following up on them via every channel available. The Congressional inquiry is active. Arnold himself expects his record to be expunged once the truth is revealed. His last words before entering prison were, “I have only begun to fight.”

Related Articles

EXCLUSIVE: Air Force Veteran and Firearms Expert Convicted of Manufacturing Weapons Speaks Out

Exclusive: Air Force Vet/Firearms Expert Sentenced to Prison



Liberty Activists Organize For Thanksgiving Charity

Manchester, NH- Benswann.com’s Annabelle Bamforth recently spoke with New Hampshire resident Amanda Bouldin to discuss Shire Sharing, a charity organization founded in 2011 with a mission to deliver hundreds of Thanksgiving meals to needy families in the areas of Manchester, Nashua, Concord, Keene and the Upper Valley.

Bouldin moved to New Hampshire in 2009 as an early participant of the Free State Project. She founded Shire Sharing in honor of her father Kent, who passed away in the spring of 2011. When Amanda was growing up in Texas, Kent had organized a project called Basket Brigade where volunteers delivered meals at Thanksgiving to families in need. Amanda decided to organize her own New Hampshire version of the “Basket Brigade” and launched Shire Sharing about six months after her father’s death as the Thanksgiving season was approaching.

In 2011 Bouldin set up a webpage for donations to the cause. She was able to raise enough money that year to purchase dinners for 52 homes. In 2012, the organization gained momentum and Shire Sharing delivered meals to almost 200 homes. The video below documents the Shire Sharing volunteers in action during the 2012 season.

2013’s effort showed even greater success with nearly 400 homes receiving Thanksgiving meals. Bouldin said that each household has an average of 3.5 people, which equates to at least 1,300 people in the Manchester area being able to enjoy a holiday meal last year.

Shire Sharing 2013
Thanksgiving dinner bags set for delivery in 2013. (photo courtesy of Amanda Bouldin)

Bouldin said that the organization is run entirely by volunteers and private donations for expenses such as web hosting for the Shiresharing.org website and buying food for the Thanksgiving baskets. Space to store food and assemble bags is also donated, and a yearly comedy night fundraiser is held to receive additional donations. Bouldin said that the school her daughter attends showed interest in the organization, and will be participating this year by having student volunteers assemble food bags.

Shire Sharing’s efforts illustrate what can be made possible through voluntary action. One impressive aspect of Shire Sharing is that nearly all of the pre-delivery organizing occurs within their Facebook group among the largely self-motivated volunteers. Bouldin, with the help of dedicated volunteers, has utilized the close-knit yet expansive network of liberty activists participating in the Free State Project and other pro-liberty groups to gather the food, assemble food baskets, and travel in cars and buses to deliver the meals. Bouldin said that she reaches out to social service groups in the area to locate families in need.

Shire Sharing volunteers. (photo courtesy of Amanda Bouldin)
Shire Sharing volunteers. (photo courtesy of Amanda Bouldin)

Bouldin said that while the Shire Sharing Facebook group focuses mostly on delivering Thanksgiving meals there have been smaller fundraising initiatives accomplished, such as raising funds to purchase a wheelchair for a person in need, handing out backpacks filled with warm clothing and first aid supplies to the homeless during the Christmas season, and raising money for a family experiencing a difficult financial situation.

The Facebook group, which now exceeds 500 members, is full of enthusiastic, ambitious volunteers. Shire Sharing’s goal this year is to deliver to 500 homes. Bouldin said that so far about $7,000 has been raised, but at least $10,500 is needed to reach this year’s goal.

To donate online, visit Shire Sharing’s donation page here. For information about volunteering or making a food or cash donation, email ShireSharing@gmail.com.

New Hampshire’s Liberty Candidates Flourish As Establishment Picks Fizzle

Last night’s midterm election results delivered multiple losses to New Hampshire’s GOP establishment candidates. United States Senate candidate Scott Brown failed to unseat Democrat incumbent Jeanne Shaheen; gubernatorial candidate Walt Havensten lost to Governor Maggie Hassan (D-Exeter); Marilinda Garcia lost her bid for New Hampshire’s 2nd  Congressional District to Democrat incumbent Ann McLane Kuster.

Independent of Republicans’ losses in the larger seats, New Hampshire’s election showed a remarkable number of liberty candidates claiming victory in smaller state house and senate seats. Many members of the Free State Project, known in the state as “early movers” who have moved to New Hampshire ahead of a larger initiative to encourage 20,000 liberty-minded people to reside in the state, were particularly impressive in their races.

Despite several anti-Free State Project endeavors from various opponents of the organization, dubbed by some as the “Free State Project Witch Hunt”, at least 15 FSP participants in senate and house races were victorious Tuesday night. Anti-FSP initiative “Free State Project Watch” posted a list of 39 state House and Senate candidates who are also FSP participants. It has been confirmed that at least 15 and as many as 20 candidates, both Democrat and Republican, won seats in the state house.

“The record-breaking total of 20 Free State Project early movers’ winning state house seats further proves the viability of the Project,” FSP founder Jason Sorens, told Benswann.com. “When all libertarian-leaning representatives are counted, the liberty bloc in the New Hampshire State House will amount to about 20% of the entire body. What will state politics look like when thousands more libertarians move here? We’ll find out soon enough!”

In addition to the victories of Free State Project members, LibertyBallot.com founders reported that more than 100 of their recommended liberty candidates had won as well.


Watch Keene’s Pumpkin Festival Coordinator Physically Confront Reporter Amid Rioting

Keene, NH-  Saturday’s celebration of the annual Pumpkin Festival in Keene, New Hampshire took an unusual turn as many Keene State College students and travelers to the event became drunk and disorderly.

Multiple sources claimed that the streets of Keene became chaotic when several house parties were shut down by police, which led to large numbers of intoxicated individuals roaming the town. Much of the mayhem- including rioters throwing liquor bottles, setting fire to various objects, and flipping over dumpsters and a vehicle- occurred on the outskirts of the festival’s location on Main Street.

Festival coordinator Ruth Sterling appeared to object to local news coverage of the rioting. The video above, from Keene public access station Cheshire TV’s Channel 8, shows Sterling repeatedly grabbing at reporter Jared Goodell’s microphone even after he criticized her for preventing him from doing his job.

Free Keene reported that Goodell spent over eight hours covering the Keene Pumpkin Festival and spent over $5,000 of his own money to assure production of the event’s coverage.

“Right now Ruth Sterling who is the festival coordinator is on site here, is being, well, she’s not letting me do my job and to report to you. She would not like me to tell you what is going on at Keene State College,” said Goodell as Sterling attempted several times to take away his microphone.

“Now I’m being called a Free Stater,” he said.

Goodell told Annabelle Bamforth of Benswann.com that he is not a Free State Project participant.

Sterling emphasized that the Pumpkin Festival was “100% safe” and the riots were not at the festival. “So if you think that inciting these people is a good idea,” Sterling said to Goodell, “I am going to pull the plug on you. Because you are a guest of the Keene Pumpkin Festival and I have assigned you this spot.”

“You heard it here first everybody,” said Goodell as Sterling circled him and continued attempting to wrestle away the microphone, “when you report the news, when you report the reality, the people in charge want to shut you down. This is against freedom of the press, folks.”

“We have been bringing you coverage all day. Yes, Ruth is correct that this festival is very important for Keene. We have been reporting that all day long,” said Goodell.

Sterling then accused Goodell of self-promotion. “I’m not self-promoting anything,” he said.

“Yes you are,” Sterling retorted. “Can we agree he’s self-promoting?” she yelled to the crowd.

“Everybody, Ruth Sterling, the festival organizer of the Keene Pumpkin Festival, censoring local media from the truth of what is happening outside the footprint,” said Goodell as Sterling walked away.

Goodell told Bamforth in an interview that Sterling stayed close to the set after the segment. He said that there were reports of Sterling attempting to find Channel 8’s power supply and ordering the station to shut down their broadcast. Goodell stated that the atmosphere was hostile during his interaction with Sterling.

Sterling could not be reached for comment.

UPDATE #2, October 22nd, 2014, 10:56 a.m. Eastern: Jared Goodell provided Bamforth with additional video, available below, that shows Goodell reading a statement from Keene State College officials regarding reports of violence and subsequent injuries occurring nearby the college before taking a commercial break. “This newly released video provides context to what was I reporting on when Ms. Sterling stormed the live TV set,” Goodell said.  “It is clear that my reporting was based on facts and intended to warn viewers at home of safety dangers which could have been taking place outside their home.”

New political ads feature James Foley’s beheading

The video showing the beheading of American journalist James Foley is likely being used as part of the propaganda machine behind ISIS, but the group Secure America Now is also using the footage in their own political advertisements.

The conservative group used the footage as part of multiple campaigns meant to target vulnerable Democratic senators throughout the country.  One ad meant to target Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), features the footage of Foley with a voice over saying, according to the Hill, “While radical Islamists threaten to attack America, and millions cross our border undetected, President Obama and Sen. Shaheen have done nothing.” 

John and Diane Foley, the parents of James, have come out against the use of their son’s final moments for advertisement purposes.  “I think it is deplorable, and I think it should be taken down,” said John Foley, according to Politicus USA.  Diane also commented on the ad saying, “It makes me very sad that people would use the brutality of our son’s death for their own political purposes.”

The head of Secure America Now, Allen Roth, originally defended the use of the footage for the group’s political ads, saying, according to Mediaite, “The image has appeared around the world millions of times… We meant no harm.”

However, after negative publicity from both political parties in New Hampshire and Foley’s parents, the ad was removed from online campaigns in New Hampshire.  Secure American Now released a statement to accompany the removal of the video which reads:

“It has been brought to our attention that a news report image of American hostage James Foley that appeared in a Secure America Now video has upset his parents, so we have decided to take the video down. The purpose of the video was to draw attention to Washington’s failure to secure our borders from real threats by terrorists. That remains our objective and we will continue to engage in this public debate.”

The ad is also reportedly being used in Louisiana, Colorado, and Arkansas to denounce Democratic senators who hold seats in each state.  Whether or not the ads featuring the footage of Foley have been taken down in those states has not yet been confirmed.

Exclusive: Air Force Vet/Firearms Expert Sentenced to Prison


Arnold's Air Force service record was spotless. He was considered one of the military's best marksmen and one of the Air Force's best firearms instructors.
Tim Arnold served his country for 20 years and executed many top secret missions. Now he must serve time in prison.

WASHINGTON, October 10, 2014–Former firearms instructor and decorated Air Force veteran Timothy Arnold stood for sentencing before Chief Judge Lisa Godbey Wood on October 9, 2014 at the United States District Court of Southern Georgia. Arnold received a sentence of 22 months behind bars and a fine of $168,000 for what many people close to the case believe is the result of a highly unethical investigation without merit.

Advised to not speak in his own defense at the trial, Arnold gave this statement at his Thursday morning sentencing, “I think it is very obvious how much I love this country. During my 20 years in the military, I was given missions and tasks that I did not agree with, but I did them. I do not agree with this guilty verdict, but I believe in this country. I will continue to do the same thing I have always done, and that is live with integrity. Preserving my reputation and my honor means more to me than it probably does to the average person. Now that I have lost my cherished Second Amendment rights, I have also lost the way I make my living. I must focus on protecting and providing for my wife and our little daughter…” Arnold choked up, unable to finish his statement.

Tim Arnold served his country for 20 years and executed many top secret missions. Now he must serve time in prison.
Arnold’s Air Force service record was spotless. He was considered one of the military’s best marksmen and one of the Air Force’s best firearms instructors.

As previously reported on BenSwann.com, Arnold’s charges included conversion (embezzlement,) manufacturing firearms, and illegally dealing firearms. According to multiple affidavits by other agents and witnesses, lead investigator Special Agent Wendell Palmer assembled no true elements of crime but broke multiple Air Force Policy Directives. Most damaging to Arnold’s case were the gross misrepresentations the witnesses say Palmer applied to their unsigned statements used during the trial. Palmer also confiscated personal firearms, records, and other property without providing a receipt. When his superior, Colonel Kristine Blackwell, was asked to intervene, she reportedly turned her back and laughed.

Alarmed by this “less than professional” investigation, many fellow agents and members of law enforcement interviewed by Palmer registered official complaints with the Air Force Inspector General (IG) before Arnold’s case went to trial. This information was not disclosed to the judge or the jury. It is unclear whether or not the IG has responded to the complaints of its OSI agents by opening an investigation of its own. One complaint stated, “I am extremely concerned for what I believe to be a misstatement of facts, improper evidence accounting procedures, and unsubstantiated allegations.”

Palmer declared to multiple witnesses during interviews that he believed Arnold was manufacturing fully automatic and silenced weapons and abusing the government credit card to do so. “I did not feel this information was correct, and felt it was inappropriate for Palmer to make such a statement during an ongoing investigation,” said a fellow agent. Another complainant said, “Upon reading Palmer’s documentation of my interview, I wish I had insisted on doing so (providing a written statement) as he took significant liberty with information I provided and did not account for important details I made sure to convey.” In simple terms, it appears Arnold was framed—but for a crime that didn’t exist.

A Congressional inquiry into this matter was originally requested through Rep. Jack Kingston’s (R-GA) office in 2011, but it was Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) who actually opened one this year.

Arnold has 30 days to report to the Bureau of Prisons and begin his sentence. Congress has 30 days to get something done about it.

EXCLUSIVE: Air Force Vet/Firearms Expert Convicted of Manufacturing Weapons Speaks Out

Arnold's Air Force service record was spotless. He was considered one of the military's best marksmen and one of the Air Force's best firearms instructors.
Arnold’s Air Force service record was spotless. He was considered one of the military’s best marksmen and one of the Air Force’s best firearms instructors.

WASHINGTON, October 6, 2014–Decorated Air Force veteran and firearms expert Timothy Arnold was convicted in the United States District Court of Southern Georgia on January 21 of manufacturing and dealing in firearms without a license, transporting illegally-acquired firearms to a state in which he did not reside, dealing firearms across state lines without a license, and theft of government property by conversion. The prosecution, led by Assistant United States Attorney Fred Kramer, claimed Arnold was running a “black market operation” while he was a well-known firearms instructor with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Brunswick, Georgia. FLETC is part of the Department of Homeland Security and trains law enforcement officers for 91 federal agencies, including the U.S. Park Police and U.S. Marshals Service.

Tim Arnold instructs a class at FLETC
Tim Arnold instructs a class at FLETC

Arnold was employed as Chief of Firearms and Tactics for AFOSI while serving the last few years of his twenty-year career in the Air Force. Upon his retirement in 2009, the Air Force requested that he remain in his position in a civilian capacity and continue to perform all of his duties—tactical instruction, course development, equipment purchasing, and an extensive travel schedule. His activities and purchases were overseen and approved by his direct superiors on a monthly basis, as they had been for years. One thing that did change frequently, however, was the identity of his bosses. Turnover was routine and each department head arrived with very different ideas regarding the nature of their position. Arnold was known for having high expectations for his FLETC students and high standards for his training curriculum. Many witnesses in his trial testified that his training certainly saved lives during operations overseas. They said he was one of the best firearms instructors in the Air Force. Arnold prided himself on creating realistic scenes using costumes and props to simulate real-life scenarios that protective services agents might face in the field. His job required him to buy civilian equipment for those classes—and his superiors pressured him at the end of every fiscal year to spend all remaining funds of his operating budget, that sometimes totaled $120,000. This is common practice in federal agencies whose directors fear a surplus will cut their Congressional funding for future years.

Arnold demonstrates how to provide aid to a wounded victim by placing pressure on a wound site while engaging an active threat.
During the “Bullets and Bandages” class at the Sig Sauer Academy, Instructor Tim Arnold demonstrates how to provide aid to a wounded victim by placing pressure on a wound site while engaging an active threat. Photo Credit: FirelanceMedia.com

Firearms were not just Arnold’s profession, they were also his lifelong hobby. His expertise garnered countless unsolicited requests from co-workers, members of law enforcement, friends, and family to assemble guns for them. Most of the time, he would advise them as to what parts they should order and then Arnold would assemble them into a working firearm—as a favor or for a trade. “The investigators were not able to find a trail of money from me profiting from my supposed firearms business,” Tim Arnold says, “Because I never made any money off of it. I never claimed to be a business or advertise. I did it for fun and as a favor to people in my life.” However, a jury in a civilian court found Arnold guilty of illegally manufacturing and dealing firearms. Of note, the legal definition of manufacturing implies objects are created from raw material. What Arnold did, and what many other gun enthusiasts in this country do, is actually firearms assembly, a legal endeavor. A few months before the AFOSI investigation into Arnold’s activities began, he was busy working on customizing an AR-15 platform rifle to replace the outdated MP-5 sub-machine guns that protective service officers currently use in the field. “Obtaining new parts to service those military weapons is nearly impossible,” Arnold says, “And a weapon with more maneuverability in tight quarters would reduce training time, as well as cost of replacement parts, saving the Air Force money.” Arnold’s prototype made its way to a training in New Jersey where it was mistaken for an illegal weapon. A review of the investigation itself reads like a comedy of errors, which makes Arnold’s conviction all the more surprising. Lead investigator Special Agent Wendell Palmer directly violated countless Air Force Policy Directives, including the interrogation of a subordinate as part of a criminal investigation, which is a conflict of interests; failing to read Arnold his rights during any of the interrogation sessions; ghostwriting statements from Arnold and all other witnesses; and failure to provide receipts for property, firearms, and records seized from Arnold, other witnesses, and even the Sig Sauer Academy in New Hampshire where Arnold worked as an adjunct instructor while on administrative leave.

Executive Director Adam Painchaud Instructs a Class at the Sig Sauer Academy
Executive Director Adam Painchaud Instructs a Class at the Sig Sauer Academy

Sig Sauer Academy Executive Director Adam Painchaud, also an AFOSI Special Agent, initiated a complaint against Palmer to the Air Force Office of Inspector General. Six witnesses signed separate affidavits detailing accounts of Palmer’s unethical conduct, including the Witness Statements riddled with errors, omissions, and misrepresentations that Palmer wrote himself. Several active OSI Agents offered to provide verbal testimony, afraid of the retaliation that a paper trail might bring. During the trial, Painchaud was slated to be the star witness for the defense. “I had the ability based on my firsthand, expert knowledge of the matters involved to dispute the charges against Arnold,” says Painchaud. Instead, he was prevented from testifying and Judge Lisa Godbey Wood threatened to charge him with contempt of court due to allegations from the prosecution that he inappropriately questioned another witness in the hallway outside the courtroom. “My testimony would have been instrumental,” Painchaud says, “The jury never got to hear it because I never got to testify. This is not how our system is supposed to work.” Painchaud was later cleared of the contempt allegations, as well as conduct unbecoming of an agent, after a separate investigation by AFOSI revealed his innocence.

Arnold was featured in several Sig Sauer advertisements.
Arnold was featured in several Sig Sauer advertisements.

Despite a Congressional inquiry into the handling of the investigation that resulted in Arnold’s conviction, his sentencing is set for this Thursday, October 9. Arnold faces up to 25 years in prison and a $300,000 fine. UPDATE: http://truthinmedia.com/exclusive-air-force-vetfirearms-expert-sentenced-to-prison/

Andrew Hemingway Victorious In Last Debate Before NH Primary

Manchester, NH- New Hampshire Republican gubernatorial candidates Andrew Hemingway and Walt Havenstein squared off Friday night in their last debate before the September 9th primary. Havenstein suffered from an incapability to articulate a distinct position on vital state issues, and thus was unable to define himself as the leading candidate. The fact that Havenstein cancelled three debates with Hemingway prior to Friday clearly did not help his campaign.

Despite Havenstein gaining support of establishment allies such as Mitt Romney, John McCain, Chris Christie, and NH State Senate candidate Jim Foley- who was recently outed for concealing his disbarment from law practice for embezzling- Andrew Hemingway triumphantly left the debate as the clear winner.

The contrast between Havenstein and Hemingway was difficult to miss as topics including marijuana decriminalization, New Hampshire’s economy and police militarization were discussed.

When asked about drugs and Governor Hassan’s response to the “spice” problem in the state, Hemingway said he is an advocate of marijuana decriminalization and criticized New Hampshire’s criminal penalty for small amounts of marijuana.

“Today in New Hampshire, we have such severe penalties on this that it pushes and creates a marketplace for these synthetic drugs,” said Hemingway.

Havenstein responded “I understand the nature of this problem, it is a very severe problem for our state. But I don’t think there are simple solutions. I don’t think there are simple solutions, if there were simple solutions, frankly we’d find those simple solutions. And it’s not merely a matter of decriminalizing marijuana.” Havenstein mentioned “looking at” decriminalization.

Havenstein and Hemingway discussed their plans to energize New Hampshire’s economy; Havenstein promised to create 25,000 new jobs by 2017 and reduce the business enterprise tax by 1.1%; Hemingway proposed a flat tax for businesses while eliminating the business profits tax and business enterprise tax and reducing the interest and dividends tax to reduce the burden. Havenstein called it a “tax on jobs when we’re trying to create jobs”, and Hemingway replied that his proposal would mean a reduction of the overall tax burden by nearly 42%.

The two candidates were asked about police militarization. The city of Keene discussed the future of their BearCat, an armored vehicle obtained by police through a federal grant application, and ultimately decided to keep it. Hemingway was asked if police militarization is becoming a problem, and he answered yes.

“To protect and to serve. That is ultimately the motto of police officers. And I believe perhaps that’s something that we have lost. This adoption of BearCats, these massive armored vehicles, the idea of them running through the streets of New Hampshire is frankly something that terrifies me and I think it terrifies a lot of individuals.”

Havenstein said that he does not think “massive arming up” of police is appropriate but that it’s up to the communities to decide of that type of equipment is appropriate.

WMUR-TV’s political analyst, James Pindell, graded the debate and gave Hemingway a B+, while Havenstein received a D, the lowest grade of all New Hampshire candidates analyzed following WMUR debates last week. WMUR coverage and analyses provides influence to New Hampshire elections.

“Havenstein gets the worst grade for any candidate all week for the simple reason that he had a terrible debate. He didn’t seem prepared for the most basic of questions. The feedback from Republican post-debate was all in unison: My goodness is he trying to lose?” wrote Pindell. The analyst did not have many words for Hemingway but wrote that “he came prepared and knowledgeable and energetic, even if it seemed over the top sometimes.”

Havenstein has been promoted by big-name GOP establishment candidates, many with unscrupulous records, throughout his campaign. Even with such support however, Havenstein has failed to resonate with voters. Hemingway has been labeled as an underdog in the past, but the campaign has been steadily gaining momentum. While he is not propped up by well-known names in the Republican party, Hemingway has become a favorite of independent-leaning conservatives and liberty-minded voters.

Hemingway’s victory at Friday’s debate has led to more grassroots support than ever before, with pro-liberty candidate PAC Stark360 organizing over 100 volunteers to distribute literature about Hemingway to voters this weekend in the final push before the primary.

Stark360 Volunteers
Volunteers preparing to distribute pro-Hemingway material. Photo credit: Stark360

Hemingway’s official campaign has its own team of about 100 volunteers making phone calls, knocking on doors, and other get-out-the-vote initiatives.

Stark360 has raised nearly $200,000 to help spread the word about Hemingway. Stark360’s volunteers in addition to official campaign volunteers could spell victory for Hemingway next Tuesday, as New Hampshire voters appear to crave a candidate with substance, solutions and integrity, not simply money and political influence.

Update #1, September 6th, 7:41 pm: Jim Foley has suspended his New Hampshire Senate campaign following news that Foley had poorly concealed his record of being disbarred from practicing law due to fraud.

President and Vice President warn ISIS militants after beheading videos

After videos were released by ISIS depicting the beheadings of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden made warnings of U.S. retaliation against the terrorist organization.

Early Wednesday, President Obama made his most powerful statement to date on the growing threat of ISIS, saying the U.S. will eliminate the organization and its followers.

“Our objective is clear and that is to degrade and destroy ISIL so it’s no longer a threat—not just to Iraq but also to the region and to the United States,” Obama said, according to MSNBC.

From there, President Obama laid out a plan to use coordinated airstrikes and ground efforts with regional cooperation to defeat ISIS in the Middle-East.  However, President Obama is currently only planning on confronting ISIS in Iraq and not Syria, saying he would have to consult Congress and gain Congressional approval of any military actions in Syria.

When the president was asked by a reporter to elaborate on his plan, President Obama backtracked, saying, according to the DailyMail, “Our objective is to make sure they aren’t an ongoing threat to the region.”

Vice President Joe Biden, though, made some heated remarks concerning ISIS though as compared to that of President Obama.

“We will follow them to the gates of hell until they are brought to justice because hell is where they will reside,” said Biden at a press conference at a naval shipyard in Portsmouth, New Hampshire Wednesday afternoon, according to the International Business Times.   “If they think the American people will be intimidated, they don’t know us very well.”

Vice President Biden continued by saying, according to NBC News, the American people are “so much stronger, so much more resolved,” than any enemy can comprehend, and the American people “don’t retreat,” and “don’t forget.”

NH Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Educational Freedom

Concord, NH- The New Hampshire Supreme Court upheld the state’s law providing tax credits for businesses that fund scholarships to private schools in a ruling Thursday. The unanimous ruling overturned a lower court’s decision in June that had declared a part of the law- one that allowed the scholarship money to be used at religious schools- was unconstitutional.

The law, passed in 2012 by Republicans who overrode a veto by former Democrat Governor John Lynch, allowed businesses that donated to private nonprofit scholarships to claim a tax credit of up to 85% of their donations. The scholarships were then awarded to qualified children of low-income and middle-class families. The program had a cap of $3.4 million in its first year, and $5.1 million in the second year.

Former state representative D.J. Bettencourt, an author and prime sponsor of the bill, wrote “The School Choice Scholarship Act (House Bill 1607) allows businesses to make tax-deductible donations to K-12 educational scholarship programs. Such programs will offer up to $2,500 scholarships to disadvantaged and special needs students toward the cost of out-of-district public schools, independent schools, and even certain home-schooling expenses.”

Challengers of the law include the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the NH ACLU, Governor Maggie Hassan (D-Exeter) and public school activist and newly-appointed NH Board Of Education member Bill Duncan. A lawsuit filed by the ACLU argued that because families would be able to use scholarship money at religious schools, the law violated two sections of the New Hampshire Constitution.

The Blaine Amendment in New Hampshire’s Constitution states “no money raised by taxation shall ever be granted or applied for the use of the schools of institutions of any religious sect or denomination.” (New Hampshire Constitution, Part II, Article 83). Another section statesno person shall ever be compelled to pay towards the support of the schools of any sect or denomination.” 

However, proponents of the tax credit law countered that that tax credits are not the same as taxpayer dollars; the US Supreme Court ruled in 2011 that tax credits are not public funds and taxpayers cannot challenge how people or corporations donate their money. “We don’t want taxpayer dollars supporting religious activities any more than we want churches to become dependent on government money. That’s why scholarships under HB 1607 are entirely privately funded,” wrote Bettencourt.

The NH Supreme Court did not rule on the merits of the law, but rather stated that the petitioners failed to prove that “their personal rights have been impaired or prejudiced.” Governor Hassan expressed her disapproval in a press release: “I continue to believe that the voucher tax credit is unconstitutional and am disappointed that the Supreme Court did not rule on the underlying issue.” Referring to the law as a voucher program, she stated that it is “bad public policy for public education in New Hampshire and our taxpayers, diverting millions of dollars in taxpayer money with no accountability or oversight to religious and private schools at the expense of public schools and property taxpayers across the across the state.” She added that “the legislature should repeal this misguided law.”

Despite Hassan’s urging to repeal the law, the ruling was praised throughout New Hampshire. Network For Educational Opportunity Executive Director Kate Baker said, “We are thrilled that the New Hampshire Supreme Court has ruled unanimously today that empowering parents to make educational decisions for their children does not violate any provision of our state constitution. We are delighted that for the 2015-2016 school year we will not be forced to discriminate against any applicant families based on their beliefs.”

Jim Rubens, a Republican candidate for US Senate, said “Thank you to those legislators and activists who constructed New Hampshire’s tax-credit funded scholarship program that allows statewide school choice for deserving students. Those opposing New Hampshire’s scholarship program were unable to demonstrate to the Supreme Court that they were personally harmed in any way. Now, the benefits of this law can flow to many more students.”

“School choice is not an indictment on public schools nor a battle of public vs. private schooling. It’s about giving disadvantaged and special needs students and their families the opportunity to excel in an education that fits their needs,” wrote Bettencourt.


NH GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Told To Return $9K In Improper Tax Credits

Concord, NH- Gubernatorial candidate Walter Havenstein (R-Alton) has been billed by the state of Maryland for “inappropriately accepted” tax credits that he shouldn’t have received.

Questions were raised about Havenstein’s residency following his candidacy announcement earlier this year. At the time of his declaration of candidacy, Havenstein claimed that he has lived in New Hampshire since 1999 when he and his wife moved to Bedford.

Havenstein later bought a home in Alton, NH, and then bought a condominium in Bethesda, Maryland while working there at BAE systems before becoming CEO of SAIC. In 2007, Havenstein signed affidavits stating that Maryland was his primary residence when he applied for the Maryland Homestead tax credit.

Maryland law defines “principal residence” as follows: “Principal residence” has been defined to mean the “one dwelling where the homeowner regularly resides and is the location designated by the owner for the legal purposes of voting, obtaining a driver’s license, and filing income tax returns.”

Critics of Havenstein, particularly Democrats, questioned Havenstein’s declaration of being a full-time New Hampshire resident in order to gain eligibility to run for governor, while also claiming primary residency in Maryland to receive tax credits at the same time.

“Being a statutory resident for income tax purposes doesn’t make you eligible for the homestead property tax credit that Havenstein took. Only those domiciled in Maryland can take that break. Homestead equals domicile and domicile equals homestead,” said former New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Kathy Sullivan in April when the media began discussing the issue. “Given these facts, Havenstein is left with a very uncomfortable situation – either he was domiciled in Maryland as recently as 2011 and therefore ineligible to run for Governor of New Hampshire or he misled Maryland tax officials to get a tax break he wasn’t entitled to.”

In June, Havenstein requested that the Ballot Law Commission make a ruling declaring that he met the seven-year residency requirement that gubernatorial candidates in New Hampshire must adhere to. In his petition, he claimed that he did stay longer in Maryland than New Hampshire for several years but stated the situation was temporary.

The issue was assumed to be put to rest after the Ballot Commission ruled in his favor. However, with the state of Maryland now ordering $9,000 in back taxes, Havenstein has 30 days to pay the bill.

Former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu blasted Democrats, saying “This is just part of the Democrats’ smear campaign because they are burdened by an incompetent that is making a tough political climate for them,” he said.

“This is just another in a long list of these types of events that Walt Havenstein has brought into the race,” said Andrew Hemingway, Havenstein’s primary opponent. “It’s unfortunate because what it does is every time this happens, it takes away from the issues that are facing this state.”

James Pindell of WMUR-TV weighed in on the news, pointing out that “stories like this, which undermine Havenstein’s argument from day one that he is the most electable candidate, only give Hemingway more momentum.”

NH Store Reopens After Closure Over “Spice” Sale Allegations

Manchester, NH- A judge allowed Manchester store TN Gas and Convenience to be reopened Monday, saying that city officials should not have revoked the store’s license before a holding a hearing. TN was shut down despite lack of evidence that the store was selling the designer drug “spice”, an herbal mixture sprayed with various synthetic cannabinoids.

The city of Manchester and surrounding areas have been struggling with several dozen reported overdoses of  spice. Governor Maggie Hassan (D-Exeter) declared a state of emergency in New Hampshire on August 14th in response to the overdoses. However, TN was closed down by city officials on August 13th, one day before the declaration.

Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Diane Nicolosi ruled that the city was not following procedures properly in shutting down the store. “Based on the totality of the circumstances of this case, the court finds there was insufficient evidence to support a finding by (the city) that the danger to public health, welfare and/or safety was immediate when the license was revoked,” read Nicolosi’s ruling.

Nicolosi further declared several reasons why TN should not have been abruptly closed. Governor Hassan had not yet declared a state of emergency at the time of the closure, and a police search of the store did not result in any spice being found. TN was shut down based solely on claims of a user of spice who had overdosed and told police he had bought it at TN; Nicolosi was suspicious of the informant’s credibility.

“Shut down based on the testimony of a person who lives in a park who is homeless and overdosed — no name, no affidavit, nothing under oath,” said Joe Kelly Levasseur, attorney for TN owner Saif Nourie. “The testimony of someone who overdoes and said they bought it at TN.”

Nourie had denied selling spice, and Levasseur told Nicolosi that while his client had never sold the drug in his store, he would have ceased the sales of spice if ordered to do so.

The city attorney argued that officials have the authority, based on a city ordinance, to revoke a business license in the case of “the immediate risk to public health”.

Since the reopening of TN, the store has suffered profit losses and spoiled goods. Salah Flaih, who says he is the father of the owner, noted that the store’s employees have lost wages because of the closure. “We have seven employees. They have no money. They have families, they have kids,” said Flaih.

Although the store is now open, another hearing before Manchester’s Administration Committee has been scheduled to determine future operation of TN.

NH Governor Declares State Of Emergency Over “Spice” Overdoses

Concord, NH- Governor Maggie Hassan (D-Exeter) declared a state of emergency last Thursday in response to dozens of reported overdoses related to synthetic marijuana, often called “spice”.

The state of emergency will be in effect for 21 days unless an order is made to end the declaration early or to extend it. About 44 people have been reported to experience adverse reactions to the product; around half of those overdoses required hospitalization.

Spice is generally marketed as potpourri or incense on their packaging and often labeled “not for consumption”, but product users commonly smoke it, ingest it or brew it into tea because the products are sprayed with synthetic cannabinoids. The synthetic compounds have been claimed to mimic the effects of marijuana, but with more dangerous and intense reactions.

According to the press release, “The declaration of a State of Emergency triggers the Department of Health and Human Services public health powers under RSA 21-P:53 or any other applicable statute to investigate, isolate or quarantine and require the destruction of the commodity in question.”  The overdoses have mainly been reported in the Manchester area, and a few have been documented in Concord.

“These spice products can be treated with a variety of things, some of them are showing up with controlled substances that make them illegal, but we don’t know that that’s true for all of them,” said Hassan.

Although spice has been legal to sell, police and health officials are now searching for the “Smacked” brand of spice with a bubblegum label. The state of emergency declaration allows for the bubblegum “Smacked” spice to be pulled from store shelves. There are several other brands and flavors of spice, but “Smacked” is the brand that officials are claiming caused the overdoses.

Manchester Police Sgt. Brian O’Keefe said that Chief David Mara is discussing with city officials the possibility of a spice ban within Manchester.

Matt Simon, New England Political Director of the Marijuana Policy Project, said “It’s very important for people to understand that these drugs are not ‘synthetic marijuana.’ That’s about as accurate as calling methamphetamine ‘synthetic coffee.’ If adults could legally choose to use marijuana, it’s hard to imagine that there would be much demand for these dangerous substitutes.”

“This is just another reason to end marijuana prohibition,” said Simon.

Police in New Hampshire cities including Nashua and Manchester are checking convenience stores and gas stations for the product. A store owner in Pelham was arrested on Friday and charged with two counts of felony drug sales for selling the substance. Three stores in Manchester have been shut down after police said those stores were selling the product.

New Hampshire Democrats disguised as Republican politicians stealing elections?

CONCORD, August 14, 2014– It’s no secret to elected officials, including New Hampshire State Rep. John Hikel (R- Hillsborough), that Democrats like Barbara Griffin are running as Republicans to steal elections.

“What Barbara and other Democrats told me when I first moved to town is that they register as Republicans to win. If you talk to the state GOP, they say that if you have an ‘R’ next to your name it’s okay with them. That status quo is what is dividing the party in the state and probably nationwide,” said Hikel.

Hikel isn’t the only one who recognizes this is a problem. Other elected officials have spoken out. “No one in the Republican Party leadership seems willing or able to do anything about it,” they say.

Griffin is running for New Hampshire State House from Goffstown as a Republican. However, she is a bona fide Democrat. In 1998,  Griffin ran as a Democrat for the New Hampshire State House.

Griffin has also drawn criticism from New Hampshire State Rep. John Burt (R) because she embraced and advocated for regional planning and decision making by unelected bureaucrats by fighting hard for workforce housing in Pinardville, New Hampshire while she was an official. “I mean, they fought real hard to have bigger government,” said Rep. Burt in a web post.

Griffin has been a registered Democrat and voting in elections as a Democrat up until this year.

What does this mean for voters in New Hampshire, where people like Barbara Griffin are able to live their lives as Democrats, and then declare themselves Republican when they want to run for office?

According to Hikel, this could have dire consequences for the state of New Hampshire and could even result in a change of the Republican platform moving it more to the left, not reflecting what Republicans in New Hampshire actually believe or want.

“We need to let people know what is happening and let them know its important not just to vote for someone just because they have an “R” next to their name,” says Hikel.

New Hampshire has no requirements or qualifications for running as a Republican like other states have in place, which Hikel sees as one of the possible problems.

Follow Michael Lotfi on Facebook & Twitter.

Exclusive: Stark360 PAC Aims to Make New Hampshire a Pro-Liberty Powerhouse

A group of entrepreneurs and liberty activists just announced the launch of a new political action committee called Stark360. The PAC is focused on pursuing libertarian-minded political objectives in New Hampshire, a critical state in the presidential election process as it is home to the first-in-the-nation party primary elections. Stark360 is named after New Hampshire-born Revolutionary War hero General John Stark, best known for his heroic actions at the Battle of Bennington in 1777. The committee’s site contains the following quote by Stark, which happens to be the source of New Hampshire’s state motto, “Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils.”

Stark360 has outlined a specific set of step-by-step objectives that it aims to achieve over the next few years. First on the list is the election of 32-year-old millennial Republican tech entrepreneur Andrew Hemingway to the position of governor of New Hampshire. If Hemingway, who once served as Chairman of the state’s Republican Liberty Caucus, prevails in the September 9 GOP primary, he will face incumbent Democratic Governor Maggie Hassan in the general election in November. Second on Stark360’s agenda is the achievement of a pro-liberty majority among Republicans in the state’s legislature. The group also has eyes on the 2016 Republican presidential primary, as it hopes to lay the groundwork for a win by a liberty candidate. According to the organization’s mission statement, it plans to achieve these goals by deploying “a statewide, data-driven grassroots campaign that will endure beyond 2014 and address a fundamental structural weakness of the Republican Party.”

Aaron Day, Chair of Stark360, expressed the group’s concerns with politics-as-usual in The Granite State, “In recent years, New Hampshire has picked losing Presidential candidates. A small, elite group of the New Hampshire Republican establishment, corrupted by DC interest groups, has disenfranchised New Hampshire voters, alienated the youth vote, and manipulated party rules for personal advantage. Our data-driven grassroots infrastructure will restore the Republican party back to the liberty loving citizens of New Hampshire and serve as a model for the rest of the nation.”

Stark360’s team includes founder and Chair Aaron Day, who serves as CEO of the think tank The Atlas Society, Chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire, Chairman of the Free State Project, a member of the Hillsborough Country Republican Committee, and board member of the Bedford Republican Committee. Co-founder Matt Philips once interned for The Cato Institute prior to joining forces with internet advertiser DoubleClick and selling his company Right Media to Yahoo! Inc. He now serves on the board of the Free State Project, as a member of the Hillsborough County Republican Committee, and as Chairman of the board of Ethics and Economics Education, Inc. Treasurer and special adviser Dan Backer, also founder and Principal Attorney for DB Capitol Strategies, has experience as counsel to over 30 PACs and 20 members of the US House and Senate.

A particular focus of the group is bridging the divide between the Republican Party and millennial voters. Says Stark360’s mission statement, “What if we could prove that liberty works? What if we could transform the Republican Party into a party of liberty that embraces the millennials? What if we could break the cycle of failed Republican candidates who support the expansion of the welfare state and position the country for a Goldwater/Reagan Republican in 2016?” The group also pointed out, “If both the legislature and governor’s office were controlled by Liberty-Republicans, New Hampshire would be in a position to pass right-to-work, reform its broken pension system, fix voter fraud, and decriminalize, if not fully legalize, marijuana.”

Aaron Day told BenSwann.com that enacting policies on the state-level in New Hampshire would serve as an example as to how other states could benefit from them as well, “For a relatively small investment compared to other races and states, we can prove that liberty works in New Hampshire by winning our state races, and then we become the proof-point for the rest of the country… because we certainly have enough examples of failure of the state as seen in Detroit, Illinois, California, and other places around the country. ”

Stark360 accepts donations in Bitcoin in addition to traditional currency options and believes that liberty activists nationwide should focus on promoting issues in New Hampshire, as the state is influential on national politics and already has a libertarian-leaning electorate. Said co-founder Matt Philips, “New Hampshire is the single best investment to demonstrate and spread liberty throughout the rest of the country through New Hampshire’s critical first-in-the-nation primary status. The case for liberty in New Hampshire is clear.”