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NHGOP wants Attorney General to investigate Volinsky following liquor accusations

  • Andru Volinsky

Monitor staff
Published: 2/19/2018 5:56:17 PM

The New Hampshire Republican Party is calling for a state investigation into a Democratic executive councilor, arguing he engaged in unethical surveillance against the New Hampshire Liquor Commission for political gain. 

In a statement Monday, New Hampshire Republican Party Chairwoman Jeannie Forrester accused Councilor Andru Volinsky of sidestepping the legal process by carrying out an in-person observation of sales practices at a Keene liquor store earlier this month. Last week, Volinsky, wrote a letter accusing the commission of turning a blind eye to bulk alcohol purchases that could violate tax laws. In support of his claim, Volinsky cited his personal experiences in the store.

“Following bizarre media reports, we are calling for the Office of the Attorney General to open an investigation into Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky’s misguided sting operation into our state liquor commission,” Forrester said. 

The statement is the latest escalation in a head-spinning week of conflict. Last Tuesday, Volinsky, of Concord, penned a letter to the governor highlighting what he said was a pattern of the commission assisting out-of-state buyers with dubious cash sales in the ten-thousand dollar range. In some cases, Volinsky alleged, the buyers have been seen skirting tax laws requiring additional documentation for purchases over $10,000 by splitting the transaction into two smaller purchases in front of employees.

Volinsky says the evidence demonstrates a practice that could leave the state open to lawsuits from other states, and raises safety concerns for employees forced to handle large volumes of cash. The Liquor Commission has pushed back, denying that the practice violates the law and describing the transactions as evidence of robust sales. And they’ve accused Volinsky of violating privacy laws in the course of his investigation, pointing to security footage that they say shows Volinsky wandering in the store for several hours.

Last Friday, Gov. Chris Sununu weighed in, saying that there were “a lot of questions to be answered on both sides,” but raised his own concerns about Volinsky’s conduct, according to reports. 

Reached Monday afternoon, Volinsky said the charges against him are politically motivated and that they themselves overstepped the line. 

“Here’s my concern: Both of them: Forrester and Sununu delegitimize (Attorney General) Gordon MacDonald by their conduct,” he said. “He’s an appointed Republican attorney general. How can they not be interfering with his independent judgment by making these public accusations?”

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