Suspect in Jamie Hahn stabbing made questionable campaign reports, ex-congressman says

jshaffer@newsobserver.com
ablythe@newsobserver.com
tmcdonald@newsobserver.com
April 24, 2013 

  • Services for Jamie Hahn

    The family will receive visitors from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh. A memorial service is set for 11 a.m. Saturday at Pullen.

    Memorial contributions may be made to the Hope Center at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, 1801 Hillsborough St., Raleigh, NC 27605. Contributions should be marked “Raising Hope Dinner.”

  • Reaction on Twitter

    Posts on Wednesday about Jamie Hahn:

    “We mourn the loss of Jamie Hahn. Her spirit was a light for so many & she will be missed dearly. The Hagans’ prayers are with her family.”

    Sen. Kay Hagan

    “I wish that @jamiehahn could see and feel all of the love, generosity and friendship offered.”

    Nation Hahn

    “Sending my thoughts & prayers of peace to @NationHahn & family. Jamie was a beautiful person beloved by so many of us.”

    Cate Edwards, daughter of former U.S. Sen. John Edwards

    “The world lost a beautiful soul when @jamiehahn moved on. We owe it to her & @NationHahn to love more, hate less and care for one another.”

    Lori Bush

— As the Triangle mourned slain political strategist Jamie Hahn on Wednesday, attention turned to whether the man who police say stabbed her had made questionable campaign finance reports while working for Hahn’s firm.

Hahn, 29, died early Wednesday from wounds sustained Monday evening, when police say Jonathan Broyhill, 31, stabbed Hahn and her husband, Nation, in their North Raleigh home.

Broyhill worked for Sky Blue Strategies, Jamie Hahn’s political consulting firm.

Former Democratic U.S. Rep. Brad Miller, who decided not to seek re-election in 2012, said he hired Sky Blue for fundraising help around 2010. Broyhill was the main person with access to fundraising software, Miller said.

“Some of the things that Jon said about the campaign finances were inconsistent with other information,” Miller said Wednesday. “It’s probably the case that Jamie was asking questions on behalf of the campaign about campaign finances. I think it’s bound to be part of the investigation of Jon’s motive.”

Broyhill is a longtime friend of Nation Hahn and acted as best man at the couple’s 2009 wedding. Broyhill has been charged with attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury. Raleigh police said Wednesday they expect to upgrade Broyhill’s charges to murder.

He remains at WakeMed with self-inflicted injuries, police spokesman Jim Sughrue said. Sughrue declined to comment on any investigation into Broyhill’s handling of campaign money.

In October, the Federal Elections Commission sent Miller campaign treasurer John Wallace a letter requesting more information about documents that appeared to show donors receiving refunds from the campaign in excess of what they paid.

Those five donors gave a combined $8,250 in the 2012 quarterly report cited by the FEC, but the document shows the five receiving a combined $15,900 in refunds. It’s not clear whether the donors actually received refunds.

Miller emphasized that he does not know of any law enforcement inquiry into election money and said any investigation is limited to his campaign thus far. His campaign’s latest report to the FEC was filed April 15, showing $2,383 in expenses for the first quarter of 2013 and $62,914 on hand.

“Obviously, we’ll have someone look at bank records and (FEC) reports and see if people shown on the reports were paid,” Miller said.

‘She was my center’

A service for Jamie Hahn has been set for 11 a.m. Saturday at Raleigh’s Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, were the Hahns and Broyhill were active.

“Jamie lost her struggle to live this morning,” her family said in a statement issued early Wednesday. “We lost a beautiful and loving wife, daughter and friend. We all lost a pure and brave spirit.”

On Wednesday morning, Nation Hahn wrote about his wife in several posts on Twitter.

“I have no idea what I am going to do without @jamiehahn. She was my center, my rock and my soulmate,” he wrote.

Later, he posted, “It is almost unfathomable that the sun can shine without @jamiehahn here. Tell your loved ones how much they mean to you daily.”

At a service on Tuesday, he read a poem by Aeschylus. “Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”

Friends reported Wednesday that Nation Hahn was upstairs, changing into gym clothes, on Monday evening when he heard his wife scream. He ran down to find her being attacked. He received cuts on both hands as he tried to stop the violence.

Emergency dispatchers received a 911 phone call from a woman shortly before 5:30 p.m. Monday. The caller, whom police did not identify, frantically described Jamie Hahn as “bleeding terribly,” according to a recording of the call.

Jamie Hahn had run out of the home, the recording said. The caller described multiple wounds in the abdomen area.

Police arrived on the scene and followed a trail of blood from Tealbriar Drive to nearby Tealwood Place, where they found Broyhill in the Hahns’ home and additional blood, according to a search warrant released Tuesday.

Police collected a knife and a button from the home, a search warrant said.

Both Nation Hahn and Broyhill hailed from Lenoir, and the three shared common interests beyond their jobs as Democratic strategists, fundraisers and campaigners. They often watched college basketball together, and Jamie Hahn’s Facebook wall shows a photo of the three sipping drinks with umbrellas perched in their glasses.

On Monday nights, the three routinely gathered at the Hahn home for supper, friends said.

‘Her light will shine’

Nation and Jamie Hahn, both graduates of UNC-Chapel Hill, were married in April 2009 at the First Baptist Church in Orangeburg, S.C., where many in the bride’s family lived.

In its statement Wednesday, the family said Jamie Hahn “believed in justice, opportunity and fairness for all. She loved politics, and she saw the Democratic Party as the path to realize her ideals.

“She had a gift for bringing us together – black and white, young and old, gay and straight. She challenged us to work together for a better world. Her light will shine on in all of us who knew and loved her.”

Miller, the former congressman, said he knew both Hahns and Broyhill.

“I spent a lot of time with Jon,” he said. “Jon would sit with me when I made calls. Jamie might send Jon with me to events.”

Nation Hahn also is well-known among North Carolina Democrats as an online strategist who has helped many politicians and nonprofit organizations with direct mail and email campaigns. He worked with the Coalition to Protect All N.C. Families, a campaign opposed to the state constitutional amendment that limits marriage to a union between a man and a woman.

Gary Pearce, a Democratic strategist and friend of the Hahns, posted on his Talking About Politics blog Wednesday, “Jamie and Nation had a unique quality that people responded to. They liked people. Their home was a familiar gathering place. People had fun.”

“Jamie liked politics, and she was good at it. She exemplified all that is good in politics,” Pearce wrote. “Yesterday, the Wake County Republican Party posted a tribute to them both. That was a class act. This is one of those times when what unites us as people is so much bigger than what divides us in politics.”

Shaffer: 919-829-4818