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New Hampshire AG Appeals Push Poll Law Case

July 22 2013

The New Hampshire Attorney General's office has launched an appeal in an attempt to salvage what MRA Director of Government Affairs Howard Fienberg calls 'a misguided law [which] purports to combat deceptive campaign advocacy techniques, but actually just targets bona fide research.'

Primary problem: MRA says negative impact for New Hampshire could be extensiveFienberg says the law 'biases legitimate political research calls in New Hampshire, distorting the results of research and making it impossible to accurately reflect the thoughts and opinions of New Hampshire residents'. Some research suppliers have already said they will not conduct political research in the state, and the ultimate result could, says Fienberg, be to jeopardise the state's 'privileged place as home to the first-in-the-nation-Presidential-primary'.

MRA says the state law has already penalised 'real researchers doing real research' - specifically, supposed violations cost OnMessage, Inc. $15,000 in 2012 and Mountain West Research $20,000 in 2010. Last month, however, the Merrimack County Superior Court dismissed the Attorney General's case against 'push polling' for the re-election campaign of then-Congressman Charlie Bass, on the grounds that 'federal law preempts the State's claim.' The appeal comes despite a change in AG, from Michael Delaney, who first brought the case, to new holder Joseph Foster, in May. MRA says Delaney had 'doggedly pursued' legitimate researchers for push poll law violations despite 'repeated outreach' by itself and by the American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC).

The two associations, says Fienberg, have also 'campaigned to educate the AG's office and the New Hampshire legislature about the negative impact of the law and assisted legislators in drafting a bill to fix it'. He concludes: 'We are optimistic that the state legislature can fix New Hampshire law early next year to appropriately deter deceptive campaign activities without impeding bona fide research.'

Web site: www.marketingresearch.org .

All articles 2006-21 written and edited by Mel Crowther and/or Nick Thomas unless otherwise stated.

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