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Shaheen details family’s loans, Sununu won’t mandate masks

CONCORD, N.H. — Companies connected to U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s family received just under $3 million through the government’s small business lending program aimed at saving jobs during the coronavirus pandemic, according to the senator’s campaign.

The Treasury Department’s Paycheck Protection Program authorized $520 billion for nearly 5 million mostly small businesses and nonprofits. The government on Monday released the names and some other details of recipients who were approved for $150,000 or more, but Shaheen, a Democrat, went further. She disclosed the exact amounts received by five companies owned or partially owned by her husband, her youngest daughter’s clothing company, a health management company partially owned by her oldest daughter and nonprofit for which her daughter works as a consultant.

The loans ranged in size from $20,000 to $1.2 million, with the highest amount going to the Shaheen & Gordon law firm in Dover. Good Measures, the health company co-owned by Stefany Shaheen, got $840,000. Shaheen’s campaign said the loans supported nearly 200 jobs.

“Like many people in New Hampshire, members of my family manage or work for small businesses and applied for PPP loans to keep their businesses going and their employees on payroll. I was not involved in any way in applying for those loans nor do I have anything to do with their businesses, and Congress had no role in processing PPP applications,” Shaheen said in a statement. “From the beginning, I have called for transparency and oversight of this program and I am glad that all the information about all the PPP loans has now been made public.”

The Colorado law firm owned by Corky Messner, one of the Republicans competing to challenge Shaheen in November, received between $2 million and $5 million, according to the Treasury Department. Messner’s campaign said he was aware of the decision to apply for the loan though he is not involved in the firm’s day-to-day operations. The campaign said it helped hundreds of employees all over the country.

The details released Monday amounted to fewer than 15% of all borrowers. The Associated Press and other news organizations are suing the government to obtain the names of the remaining recipients.

In other coronavirus-related developments:

TRUMP RALLY

Republican Gov. Chris Sununu said Tuesday he will not issue an order requiring face masks for gatherings of 50 people or more, as some have suggested ahead of President Donald Trump’s rally in Portsmouth.

Trump is holding a campaign rally Saturday night at Portsmouth International Airport, where attendees will be given masks but not required to wear them. Asked about the event Tuesday, Sununu said he has treated all large, public gatherings the same, whether it be the Black Lives Matter rallies that have been held around the state or the protests against his shutdown of nonessential businesses during the pandemic.

“To have a mask order for one and not the other is not fair and doesn’t make sense,” said Sununu, who rejected a reporter’s suggestion that the Trump rally would be different because it is likely to attract a large number of people from out of state.

“I think all the protests had a chance to bring people from outside,” he said.

Sununu said he plans to greet Trump when he arrives, but is unlikely to attend the rally.

“I’m going to meet the president as the governor, I will not be in the crowd of thousands of people,” he said.

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DARTMOUTH-EARLY RETIREMENT

Dartmouth College is offering a “one-time retirement incentive option” to qualifying employees in response to the sudden and severe financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The offer includes six months of pay to employees who have worked at the college for at least 10 consecutive years and whose combined years of employment and age is at least 75.

Previously, Dartmouth had offered retirement programs in 2009, 2010, and 2011.

A spokeswoman for the college estimated that about 550 people, or about 18% of Dartmouth employees, are eligible for the offer.

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IMMIGRATION DETAINEES

A federal judge has denied a request to release immigration detainees with lower-risk medical conditions from the Strafford County House of Corrections.

The detainees were arrested by Immigration and Customers Enforcement. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, a class-action lawsuit was filed on behalf of the detainees to release them.

The judge recently released about 10 high-risk inmates from custody, but found that lower-risk detainees had failed to demonstrate that ICE or corrections officials had been deliberately indifferent to their medical needs.

New Hampshire’s all-Democrat congressional delegation, in a letter to Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolfe on Monday, said despite safety measures at the jail, two people have tested positive at the facility.

The delegation said, “we are concerned about the continued infection risk faced by detainees and staff.”

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THE NUMBERS

As of Tuesday, 5,932 people in New Hampshire had tested positive for the virus, an increase of 19 from the previous day. Two new deaths were announced, bringing the total to 384.

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and the infirm, it can cause more severe illness and can lead to death.

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Associated Press Writer Kathy McCormack contributed to this report.

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