No prisoner held at Guantanamo Bay was ever tortured as brutally as Frank Guinta’s mangled explanations for his illegal 2010 congressional campaign loans have been. Were there an American Civil Liberties Union for language, it would have no choice but to file a complaint against Guinta for cruelty to the English language and to logic and reason.
For the New Hampshire Republican Party, there also remains no choice. It must call for Guinta’s resignation and sever its ties. Documents released Tuesday by the Federal Election Commission (FEC)
show unmistakably that Guinta asked for and received illegal campaign contributions from his parents for the purpose of stealing a Republican primary and a general election in 2010, then repeatedly lied to the people of New Hampshire to cover it up.
The FEC’s February, 2014, Second General Counsel Report on Guinta’s questioned $355,000 in campaign loans demolishes Guinta’s preposterous claims about the money’s origin. It reveals, among other truths:
• Despite his repeated claims to the contrary, Guinta provided no documentation backing up his contention that his parents’ bank account, from which the $355,000 came, had been seeded with $100,000 in his own money.
• Guinta’s own sister and mother contradicted his assertion that the parents’ bank account was a “family pot” to which all children had an ownership stake. His mother characterized the money as loans from Guinta’s parents to him. She even wrote “loan” on the subject line of nine checks she wrote to him.
• The $355,000 belonged unquestionably — provably — to Guinta’s parents, not to him. As the report put it, “Contributions to the Committee Were Not Rep. Guinta’s Personal Funds.”
To cover up the source of his illegal campaign money, Guinta lied to everyone. First, he lied to the people of New Hampshire. He told this newspaper in a 2010 interview that the money came from multiple personal bank accounts held by him. He let this lie stand while he told the FEC an entirely different lie, that the money came from deposits he made into a family bank account to which he had a legal right of access. While the FEC investigation was ongoing, he told voters that it had ended and he had been cleared.
Guinta’s growing pile of fabrications calls to mind the succinct title of writer Christopher Hitchens’ damning 1999 book on Bill Clinton, “No one left to lie to.” From his constituents to federal investigators, Guinta has lied to everyone.
With Tuesday’s FEC releases, Guinta should have run out of people gullible enough to believe his stories. The question is whether his party will defend the indefensible out of misguided sense of loyalty to one of their own. We know what the answer should be. New Hampshire Republican leaders know it too.
The party cannot stand by a politician who has revealed himself to be wholly unworthy of the public trust. Political parties are supposed to stand for ideals, not merely for tribal connections. The state GOP platform states that Republicans pledge “to lead with integrity, character and compassion.” Guinta has not. The party can either lead with integrity or it can stand by Frank Guinta. It cannot do both.