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The New Hampshire Democratic Party accused Republican Scott Brown on Thursday of failing to disclose expenses associated with his time spent exploring a run for office.
Democrats filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commissions four days after a television interview in which Brown, a former senator from Massachusetts, discussed his decision to run for the U.S. Senate seat in New Hampshire now held by Democrat Jeanne Shaheen.
"It was a gradual process, obviously, because it's a very big life and family decision. The fact that Gail and I made that decision, it was actually on Valentine's Day ... " Brown told WMUR-TV, going on to describe a dinner during which his wife told him, "I'm in, the kids are in, go take back our country, go win this thing."
Democrats say the interview proves Brown decided to run a month before he announced his exploratory committee and filed a statement of candidacy on March 14. If that was the case, and he had spent at least $5,000 before then, he would have been required to file a statement of candidacy by March 1. Democrats also note that Brown reported spending no money on travel, campaign video production or other activities in his first FEC filing, which covered activity through March 31.
"For five weeks after he decided to become a candidate, Scott Brown refused to admit it, misleading the people of New Hampshire (and) ducking the law," said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley.
Brown's spokeswoman responded that the exploratory committee was formed March 14, and that the main expense in the early days was gas for Brown's pick-up truck.
"We just moved into our campaign headquarters, and as bills get submitted, they get paid," she said.
The complaint was filed three days after the state Republican Party asked the Federal Elections Commission to investigate whether Shaheen's campaign illegally coordinated with a political action committee on an ad targeting Brown.