The only announced candidate to challenge US Representative Frank Guinta in New Hampshire wants federal officials to pursue criminal charges following the Republican’s recent admission that he broke campaign finance laws.
Shawn O’Connor, a Democrat, sent a letter today to US Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Raymond Hulser, the acting chief of the Public Integrity Section of the US Department of Justice, asking for an investigation.
For five years, Guinta had claimed $355,000 in campaign loans to his 2010 congressional campaign came from a bank account in his name that he forgot to disclose. But in an agreement with the Federal Election Commission released earlier this month, Guinta acknowledged that the money came from his parents’ account — though he maintains the money is his.
Guinta won his first race in 2010 to represent the First District, which encompasses the eastern portion of New Hampshire. At the time, federal election laws limited donations to $2,400 per person, including family members. Under Guinta’s agreement with the FEC, he has agreed to pay back the loan to his parents and a $15,000 fine.
In the wake of the agreement, members of his own party, including US Senator Kelly Ayotte, have called on Guinta to resign. Guinta has no plans to resign and will seek reelection, his chief of staff said in a statement last week.
O’Connor, an entrepreneur from Bedford, said in the letter that he hoped the government “will protect the intregrity of our electoral process by fully and swiftly investigating and prosecuting any violations of federal law.”
Years ago, New Hampshire’s US Attorney convened a grand jury to look into the matter, but no charges have been filed, according to sources who were called to testify at the time.
Guinta lost reelection in 2012, but he sought a comeback campaign two years later and won a second, nonconsecutive term in November.James Pindell can be reached at James.Pindell@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jamespindell.