Portsmouth Press Herald: Sen. Fuller Clark rejects GOP voter fraud accusation
PORTSMOUTH — Eight voters registered with the city clerk’s office currently cite state Sen. Martha Fuller Clark’s address as their own, five of them unrelated to Fuller Clark.
Vice president of the state Democratic party, Fuller Clark said she has a long history of opening the doors to her large Portsmouth home to political activists, artists and students, while explaining she and her husband are “just very hospitable.”
“There’s nothing here that’s illegal or inappropriate,” she said. “If people want to use this to attack me, that’s just sad.”
Political opponents did go on the attack Wednesday, calling the extra voters linked to Fuller Clark’s address voter fraud. Republican State Committee Chairman Jennifer Horn has called for the attorney general’s office to investigate, while saying it appears Fuller Clark, “is aiding and abetting individuals who are undermining New Hampshire law and allowing her home address to be used as a sanctuary for voter fraud.”
Fuller Clark, 70, lives at 152 Middle St., in an antique three-story home valued at $1.4 million. According to the city clerk’s office, Fuller Clark, her husband Geoffrey Clark, and her son Nathaniel Clark are all registered to vote with that address.
The five others are as follows:
• Anna Deforest Meyer
• Ryan Fitzpatrick Flynn
• Bryan Gregory Griffith
• Andrea Marie Riccio
• Ellen Rose Whelan-Wuest
Fuller Clark said Meyer is her goddaughter and has been renting a third-floor apartment in her home since the fall of 2011.
The senator said Flynn and Griffith both worked for the Obama campaign and stayed at her home from last June or July, through December.
Riccio, explained Fuller Clark, was her 2008 campaign manager, moved to Washington, D.C. in 2009, and has not lived in New Hampshire, or voted in the state, since then.
Fuller Clark said Whelan-Wuest worked for the Obama campaign in 2008, while adding “I don’t really remember how long she was here.”
“I believe she moved out of state,” she said.
Fuller Clark said she currently has a student studying historic preservation who stays in one of her spare rooms and that it has nothing to do with politics.
“We have, as you know, an ample federal house,” she said. “Our children are no longer here and that means we have a number of extra bedrooms and a third-floor apartment. I suppose it’s just being part of a good community supporter and citizen.”
Greg Moore, director of the conservative Americans for Prosperity – New Hampshire, said Wednesday that Fuller Clark either committed voter fraud or “was running an illegal boarding house.”
Moore called for an investigation by the Department of Justice.
“I think it’s unfortunate, and unnecessary and untrue,” countered Fuller Clark. “I believe there are campaign workers on both sides that have lived here for four or six months and voted. These are young adults, they’re over 18. And there’s nothing in the law that says this isn’t perfectly legal.”
Horn cited state voting law before stating, “It is outrageous that a senior Democrat lawmaker, who also serves as vice chairman of the State Democrat Party, would let people use her home address to potentially break New Hampshire laws and promote voter fraud.”
“Her behavior undermines public confidence in the integrity of our elections and raises very serious questions about the campaign tactics used by New Hampshire Democrats,” Horn said in a press statement.
Further, she said, Fuller Clark “knew that political workers who parachute into New Hampshire for several weeks to work on campaigns did not have the ‘intent to maintain’ a presence in our state.”
“She knew that New Hampshire was not the location that ‘more than any other place’ these out-of-state campaign workers had ‘established a continuous presence for domestic, social and civil purposes,’ Horn said. “Yet she allowed them to register to vote at her home address so that they could support her political party and improperly influence New Hampshire elections.”
An immediate investigation is needed “to preserve the integrity of New Hampshire laws” Horn said, while calling for the prosecution of “those who have broken the law.” Horn also asked Attorney General Joseph Foster to recuse himself because he previously served in the Senate as a Democrat with Fuller Clark.
Foster confirmed receipt of a request for an investigation and said he would not comment on the substance of the allegations. He added he takes conflicts of interest seriously, has worked with many people in the state, and will not recuse himself.
Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan said his office has not received any complaint related to Fuller Clark and allegations of voter misconduct.
In general terms, unrelated to the allegations against Fuller Clark, Scanlan said voter fraud “is a significant crime.”
He also said state law allows a person to move to the state one day, with the intention of staying in New Hampshire and registering to vote the next day, then moving out-of-state the third day because of a life change.
But if someone moves solely to vote, he said, “that’s something completely different.
“It all comes down to domicile,” Scanlan said.