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Release: Governor Hassan's Taxpayer-Funded Trip to Turkey Continues to be Criticized

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(June 22, 2015) - Last May, Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire issued a Right to Know request of Governor Maggie Hassan's office regarding a taxpayer-funded trade trip she planned on taking to Turkey in June of 2014. Specifically, our organization wanted more information on how much the trip would cost taxpayers, especially due to the fact that only days prior to our request, she issued a travel ban on all out-of-state travel paid for out of the state's general fund. The Granite State was in the middle of a fiscal crisis at the time, and her executive order was in response to an anticipated budget shortfall.

 
After issuing the Right to Know request, Governor Hassan came under significant pressure by local media and other organizations to release information pertaining to the trip and explain the hypocrisy of why she planned on still participating in it despite her own executive order. As reported by the Union Leader, the cost to taxpayers would would be at least $15,000, and despite her own ban, she did still participate in the trade mission with her daughter, state bureaucrats, and some select business leaders.

 

A 2014 Hassan spokesperson justified the governor breaking her own travel ban and the expenses for the trip by saying that "cancelling it would be a significant cost to our businesses." 

 

In an article today on the "uneven record of success" seen in governors' trade missions, the Associated Press reported, "New Hampshire residents are still waiting for results from a trip Gov. Maggie Hassan took to Turkey a year ago. The trip cost taxpayers $15,000 and included more than 100 matchmaking meetings with businesses, yet no specific deals have been announced."

 

Derek Dufresne, spokesman for Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire, released the following statement:

 

"Our organization, along with many others in the Granite State, were incredibly concerned about Governor Hassan's willingness to break her own out-of-state travel ban during a fiscal crisis in May of 2014. Hassan's office once justified the hypocrisy by saying that canceling it would result in a 'significant' loss to New Hampshire businesses. Over a year later, the Associated Press is reporting that taxpayers are 'still waiting' for results from the trade mission and added that 'no specific deals have been announced' as a result of it.

 

"Governor Hassan, like most Washington career politicians, needs to realize that she should abide by the laws and rules she expects every other Granite Stater to live under. It was hypocritical in 2014 for her to break her own travel ban and leave New Hampshire with the $15,000 bill. It is still just as hypocritical today, but now we know that thus far, it was also a very poor excuse and a worthless investment of taxpayer money."

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