NHDP - NH Democratic Party Official Releases New Bass Ethics Scandal Evidence

NH Democratic Party Official Releases New Bass Ethics Scandal Evidence, Calls for Release of All Related Email & Telephone Communications

Concord, NH - In light of the growing ethics cloud surrounding the use of his congressional office to promote his nephew's company, Congressman Charlie Bass made claims last week that flatly contradict congressional testimony from 2005 and 2006 - prompting former New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Kathy Sullivan to call for the release of all government email and phone records related to the scandal.

Facing questions about his role in promoting a tax credit "ideally suited" for his nephew's biomass company, Bass denied to the Nashua Telegraph that he had set up a meeting between his nephew and the U.S. Energy Secretary in February 2006, and he "denied ever talking to Bodman about the biomass industry."


But new evidence shows that Bass did in fact talk with Secretary Bodman about the biomass industry - and congressional testimony even proves that Bass personally pressured Secretary Bodman before, during, and after Bodman's trip to New Hampshire to approve $150 million in funding for the very tax credit that would benefit his nephew's biomass company.


"Not only did Congressman Bass use his office to promote his nephew's company, and later made a lucrative investment in that company, but now congressional testimony from 2006 proves that despite his prior statements, he did have conversations with the energy secretary about the tax credit," said former New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Kathy Sullivan, who called a press conference in Concord to share new evidence.


"These contradictions between Congressman Bass's assertions and the actual facts are very troubling. The voters are entitled to a complete, honest accounting. That is why I am calling on Congressman Bass today to release all emails and telephone logs between himself, his congressional office, his nephew, his nephew's company, and the U.S. Department of Energy from 2005 through 2007.  We deserve to know who wrote this legislation, what Congressman Bass did to get it passed, and exactly how and when he profited from his association with his nephew's company."

*** FACT SHEET ***

OCTOBER, 2010: BASS SAYS HE DIDN'T SET UP MEETING OR DISCUSS BIOMASS WITH BODMAN:

"Responding to allegations that he set up a meeting between Energy Secretary Bodman and his nephew, Congressman Bass denied ever talking to Bodman about the biomass industry.'I can't speak for the Pellet Fuels Institute, but I don't remember anything coming from my office about any other meeting with Secretary Bodman,' Bass said. "I don't ever recall talking with the secretary about the biomass industry.'" " [Nashua Telegraph, 10/14/10]

MARCH, 2006: IN HEARING, BASS PRESSURES BODMAN TO FUND BIOMASS TAX CREDIT

"BASS: Mr. Secretary, on another issue, in the energy bill, Section 206 authorizes the only Department of Energy-managed consumer-focused incentive program for renewable energy. Increased use of smaller- scale biomass, solar and geothermal energy could significantly displace heating oil, natural gas and electricity. .... There is a rebate program that your department could authorize, fund and run that would provide rebates for solar, wind and biomass. But I notice in the department's budget request that there's no funding at all for Section 206. I'm wondering if you've had a chance to look at this section, if you have any comments on it."  [Hearing Of The House Energy And Commerce Committee, 3/9/06]

MARCH, 2006: BODMAN SAYS BASS TALKED TO HIM ABOUT BIOMASS TAX CREDIT DURING NH VISIT

"SEC. BODMAN: I have looked at it. You and I talked about it when I visited. And I have a team working on it. And I do not have a specific answer at this point in time, but I'd be happy to respond to you promptly; that is to say, within the month." [Hearing Of The House Energy And Commerce Committee, 3/9/06]

FEBRUARY, 2006: PRESS SAYS THAT DURING BODMAN VISIT, BASS TOUTS BIOMASS TAX CREDIT

"U.S. Congressman Charlie Bass and U.S. Congressman Jeb Bradley, both Republicans, were on hand for the visit. Bass said other important aspects of the FY07 budget include $150 million for greater use of biomass materials for fuel, such as making ethanol from plant waste and fuel from other waste such as woodchips, stalks or switch grass."[The Nashua Telegraph, 2/24/06]

MARCH, 2006: BASS TELLS CONSTITUENTS HE "URGED" BODMAN TO FUND BIOMASS TAX CREDIT

"For the second time this month, I had the opportunity to urge U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman to support greater energy independence and focus on renewable and alternative sources. On Thursday, Secretary Bodman appeared before the House Energy and Commerce Committee to answer questions regarding the President's FY2007 Budget Request. Just two weeks ago, Secretary Bodman joined me to visit one of New Hampshire's leaders in solar energy technology and production, allowing him to see first hand some of the impressive energy work being done in the Granite State.As you may know, I have been a strong advocate for the funding of research and development in the fields of alternative and renewable energy including solar, biomass, wind, and hydro. During Secretary Bodman's appearance before the committee, I had the chance to ask him about the department's commitment to furthering the biomass and biorefinery facilities, which had been added to last year's landmark Energy Policy Act." [Weekly Report From Washington By Rep. Bass, 3/10/06]

MARCH, 2006: BASS CALLS HIS OWN ADVOCACY FOR BIOMASS TAX CREDIT "OVERLY REPETITIVE"

"At the risk of being overly repetitive, I believe New Hampshire's massive timber resources can one day soon be converted into energy for our region. This energy can be processed into liquid form as an ethanol or biodiesel, it can be used to heat our homes in pellet or simply split wood form, and it can generate electricity at industrial power plants." [Weekly Report From Washington By Rep. Bass, 3/10/06]

MARCH, 2006:  INDUSTRY NEWSLETTER SAYS BASS SET UP MEETING WITH BODMAN

"Recently, PFI board member Steve Walker had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman. The meeting, arranged by New Hampshire Congressman Charlie Bass, highlighted the growing awareness within energy policy circles of the emerging importance of pellet fuels in meeting America's energy challenge. . . .Congressman Bass, who introduced and championed passage of the Renewable Energy Security Act (RESA) provisions of the 2005 Energy Bill, saw an opportunity to promote the provisions of act through a meeting between Walker and Secretary Bodman." [Charlie Neibling, New England Wood Pellet Co., Pellet Fuels Institute Newsletter, January - March 2006 edition]

FEBRUARY, 2005: IN HEARING ONE YEAR EALIER, BASS PRESSURED BODMAN ON BIOMASS

"REP. BASS: Mr. Secretary, would the -- again, I don't expect a yes/no answer. Would the Energy Department be willing to embark on some sort of analysis of the resource that exists in this country in renewables, most notably in biomass, corn husker, agricultural waste, biomass, sawdust, woodchips and so forth? . . .  MR. BODMAN: Of course. It's our job." [Hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, 2/9/05]

*** OVERVIEW FACT SHEET ON BASS ETHICS SCANDAL ***


Bass used his office as U.S. Congressman to profit his nephew's business, from whom he got millions in private stock not available to the public.

In 2005 & 2006, Congressman Bass wrote and successfully passed a law that created tax credits "ideally suited" to benefit a wood pellet company owned by his nephew.  Bass even personally arranged a meeting between his nephew and the U.S. Secretary of Energy to lobby for funding the tax credit and promote the company (which Bass now denies, despite pictures and an article about it from the time).

As he was helping this company, Bass bought himself between $500k - $1M worth of the company stock in a private sale not open to the general public. Bass now insists this happened in the days after he left office, despite the original disclosure forms that actually list the sale in January and November of 2006, before he left office.  But even by his own account, Bass made millions from his nephew's company that he lobbied for as Congressman. Today the stock is worth between $1 - $5 million.

KEY FACTS:

*** New England Wood Pellet President Steve Walker is Congressman Bass's niece's husband. 
[Union Leader, May 12, 2005]

*** Bass personally introduced legislation to create a 25% tax credit for renewable fuel home heating systems, which was included in the 2005 Bush Energy bill. [Bass Press Release, April 14, 2005]

*** This tax credit was described by the company as "ideally suited" to benefit them. [Pellet Fuels Institute Newsletter, March 2006]http://pelletheat.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/PFInewsletter2006-1.pdf

 

*** Bass personally arranged a meeting between NEWP President and the U.S. Secretary of Energy to lobby for funding for this tax credit and to promote the company.  [Pellet Fuels Institute Newsletter, March 2006]

*** Bass purchased between $500,000 - $1,000,000 of NEWP stock in a private sale not available to the public. [Bass U.S. House Financial Disclosure, Filed 3/9/07.  Purchase of stock listed as "1/06" and "11/06".  Bass now claims he meant 2007, though the form was filed in March of 2007, making the November date completely nonsensical.]

*** Bass announced he was joining the board of directors of NEWP ten days after leaving Congress. [Bloomberg, January 14, 2007]

*** In the year after he left Congress, his NEWP stock roughly doubled in value, to $1 - $5M total. [Bass Personal Financial Disclosure, Filed 5/3/09.  Stock was worth $1-5M in 2008 but no new shares were purchased in 2008 or 2009.]