Concord - In a move that raises serious ethical questions, Republican House Speaker Bill O'Brien and taxpayer paid legal counsel Ed Mosca petitioned the state attorney general get involved in a lawsuit that could bring financial gain to both O'Brien and Mosca at the taxpayers' expense.
As reported in today's Nashua Telegraph, O'Brien and Mosca have filed a petition to have the legal fees of Republican state Representative Edmond Gionet paid for by the state of New Hampshire. Gionet brought suit against former State Representative Martha McLeod over a disagreement surrounding McLeod's proposed legislation to have a section of road in Franconia named for Franconia Police Cpl. Bruce McKay, who was murdered in the line of duty in 2007. Gionet opposed the legislation.
Bill O'Brien was retained by Gionet to serve as his lawyer, until he was elected House Speaker in November. At that point, Mosca took over the case. The Attorney General previously denied a request to have the state foot the costs of his legal fees.
"At a time when he claims to be focused on the budget, Speaker O'Brien and his House legal cousel want to divert money away from job creation programs, education, and local cities and towns to pay their legal fees," said Harrell Kirstein, press secretary for the New Hampshire Democratic Party. "O'Brien owes New Hampshire taxpayers an explanation. Is he really asking New Hampshire taxpayers to pay his billable hours?"
"An independent review needs to be conducted in order to determine whether House ethics rules have been violated," continued Kirstein. "But most importantly, O'Brien and Mosca should immediately withdraw their petition asking New Hampshire taxpayers to pick up the bill for their legal work."
The petition to pressure the Attorney General's Office to pursue this issue continues a disturbing trend. Earlier this month, the House Republicans tried to unconstitutionally force the Attorney General to join a lawsuit against the federal government.
"House Republicans should be focused on creating jobs and building the economy," added Kirstein. "Not pressuring the executive branch to pursue a matter that is of personal interest to O'Brien and Mosca."