Rep. Laurie Sanborn's future remains unclear as 2024 House session enters second week

By JOSH ROGERS

New Hampshire Public Radio

Published: 01-10-2024 3:28 PM

The political fall out for Rep. Laurie Sanborn, one of the top ranking lawmakers in the New Hampshire House, remains uncertain — nearly two weeks since the state suspended the casino license held by her husband, former state Sen. Andy Sanborn.

Rep. Laurie Sanborn and Andy Sanborn, who owns Concord Casino, were found to have mischaracterized their charitable gaming business when they applied for a $844,000 pandemic assistance loan that state prosecutors say they weren’t entitled to receive.

Under the terms of the order issued by a state hearings officer at the end of December, Sanborn has six months to sell his casino, or its license will be revoked for two years.

But Rep. Laurie Sanborn — who is the third-ranking member of the New Hampshire House and chairs a powerful legislative committee — has not spoken publicly since the state ruling and has not appeared at the State House since it opened for the 2024 session last week.

Sanborn attended neither of the House’s meetings last week. Both absences were announced as excused due to “important business,” according to the House clerk.

Sanborn was also absent Tuesday during the year’s first meeting of the House Ways and Means Committee, which she chairs and which oversees tax and revenue policy – including revenue tied to charitable gaming in the state.

The committee was led by Vice Chairman John Janigian in Sanborn’s absence, which was not explained publicly. Committee members, staff and other lawmakers indicated little knowledge of Sanborn’s whereabouts – or whether or when they expected her to continue to lead the committee.

House leaders — including Speaker Sherman Packard, who has authority over all leadership posts in the House — have not responded to questions from NHPR about Sanborn’s fate.

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Sanborn herself has not returned several messages seeking comment about her political future.

In September, Sanborn resigned from her role leading a state commission on charitable gaming the day after prosecutors first accused her husband of fraudulently obtaining the COVID relief loan.

These articles are being shared by partners in The Granite State News Collaborative. For more information visit collaborativenh.org.