Democratic campaign consultant Steve Marchand ran a spoof website last year in a way that violated disclosure requirements in the state's political advertising law, according to the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office, which this month issued a sternly worded warning letter.
Marchand won't face further action from the AG's office for his communications on that website because a 1995 Supreme Court precedent narrowly protects anonymous political speech when expressed by an individual; however, other components of the complaint remain under review, according to the Oct. 6 letter.
Investigators concluded that Marchand bore responsibility for Preserve-Portsmouth.com, which was based largely on information from the unhyphenated PreservePortsmouth.com, a website by a nonpartisan group that had endorsed 2021 city council candidates.
Marchand's site kept the overall aesthetic of the original, but it included a modified endorsement section with references to former President Donald Trump, according to the AG's letter.
"While the evidence suggests that you alone created the website content, you coordinated with others to extend the visibility of the site and also requested their thoughts on the content and effectiveness of the site," Deputy General Counsel Myles Matteson wrote in the letter to Marchand.
This free post is for Granite Memo members
Just sign up and sign in to read this post and other members-only content.