Case No. 217-2012-cv-00233

Plaintiff: Anne M. Edwards, Senior Assistant New Hampshire Attorney General

Defendant: Bass Victory Committee

Overview of Facts: The New Hampshire Attorney General filed an action in state court against the Bass Victory Committee; the campaign committee of U.S. Congressman Charles Bass. The New Hampshire Attorney General filed an action seeking civil penalties against the Bass Victory Committee for engaging in “push polls” as defined under New Hampshire Revised Statute §664:2, XVII for failing to prove the required disclaimer in accordance to New Hampshire Revised Statute §664:16-a, I.

The Bass Victory Committee changed the jurisdiction of the case from state court to the federal court on the basis that the state law claim is preempted by federal law; specifically the Federal Election Campaign Act. The court determined that the case was not able to be removed to federal court. Subsequently, the case is now in the Superior Court of New Hampshire on issue as to whether a motion should be granted to dismiss the case since a disclaimer is not required for candidates seeking federal office in accordance to the Federal Election Campaign Act.

The Marketing Research Association in collaboration with the American Association for Political Consultants, filed a motion to file an Amicus Curiae Brief in this action because the implications of this case significantly affects the members and interests of MRA and AAPC and the entire survey and opinion research profession, since the legal doctrine of push polls provides a view and perception of what research is and how the research process works. The motion was approved and a brief was filed on February 15, 2013.

The Amicus Brief covers two main arguments:

  1. The statutory requirement to require disclosures while conducting bona fide survey research telephone polling made strictly for candidates seeking federal office are preempted by the Federal Election Campaign Act.
  2. The interpretation by the New Hampshire Attorney General in applying the statute does not provide a distinction for calls made for bona survey research purposes.

The MRA/AAPC brief, filed February 15, 2013: Final_Amicus_Brief-NH_v._Bass-2.2013.pdf

The result: The Attorney General's case was dismissed, twice.

The judge's ruling