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Report: Tyco Donated $25,000 To Support Sales Tax

Oct 4, 2002 | AP

Tyco International donated $25,000 to Gov. Shaheen's failed effort to pass a sales tax, a published report said Friday.

Documents made public for the first time Thursday show the company was the largest New Hampshire contributor to the $200,000 Shaheen spent promoting her ''Excel'' plan with television and radio advertising, according to The Union Leader.

The plan, killed by the House in April 2001, would have used a sales tax to help pay for public schools.

At the time, Tyco was led by Dennis Kozlowski, the chairman and chief executive officer who resigned earlier this year and is accused of stealing $600 million from the company.

Prosecutors are investigating whether millions of dollars doled out to Kozlowski and his favorite causes was properly authorized by the Tyco board of directors, and it's unclear whether the $25,000 to support the sales tax was part of the possibly tainted funds.

Kozlowski also is charged with evading New York City's sales tax in buying artwork worth millions of dollars.

In her U.S. Senate race, Shaheen has repeatedly accused her Republican rival, U.S. Rep. John E. Sununu, of being in the pocket of corporations that have set up in Bermuda to avoid paying U.S. taxes.

Tyco with headquarters in Exeter but based in Bermuda is one of the most prominent users of the so-called ''Bermuda loophole.''

Shaheen acknowledged in March 2001 that she was seeking contributions from businesses and their executives to help pay for the Excel advertising program.

Though she wasn't required to disclose the donors, Shaheen's office said she would release a list as soon as it was compiled. That didn't happen, however, until June 2002, more than a year after the plan was defeated.

The largest overall contributor was Shaheen's own political action committee, which donated $59,150 to the Excel program. But after the plan's defeat, $51,800 was returned to the committee from the fund.

The Democratic Governors Association was the second-largest donor to the Excel program, giving $50,000.

Other donors included Jesse Devitte of Hopkinton, who gave $5,000 to support the sales tax plan. Devitte is a GOP activist who now chairs Republican Craig Benson's campaign for governor. Benson vows to veto a sales tax bill should it reach his desk as governor.


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