Concord, NH - After being named to a bipartisan list of the most corrupt members of Congress for using his Congressional office to profit from insider investments, Bass is now trying to patch-up his record by co-sponsoring the STOCK Act, which would crack down on members of Congress profiting from their official roles. But the bill Bass is co-sponsoring would make his own past purchase of stock in his nephew's company, while in possession of nonpublic information, a crime.
The STOCK Act, HR 1148, "Prohibits Members, their staff, Executive branch employees, and any other person from buying or selling securities, swaps, or commodity futures based on congressional and executive branch nonpublic information." [House.gov]
Bass purchased between $500k - $1M in New England Wood Pellet private stock, not available to the public, while he was in possession of significant nonpublic information about legislation and tax credits that materially affected the company's future. Not only had Bass sponsored and personally lobbied for the tax credit as a member of Congress, but prior to the NEWP stock purchase Bass arranged a private meeting between himself, his nephew, and Energy Secretary Bodman. [Nashua Telegraph, 10/19/2010]
"Not only did Congressman Bass use his office to promote his nephew's company, and later made a lucrative investment in that company with nonpublic information, but now he is sponsoring a bill to make his own actions a crime," said Harrell Kirstein, press secretary for the New Hampshire Democratic Party. "Those are the values of a lifelong member of Congress, not hard working New Hampshire citizens."
Bass has personally made a fortune on the private investment and still maintains close private ties to the company. The value of his stock went from between $500,000 and $1,000,000 in 2007 to between $1,000,000 an d $5,000,000 in 2010 and he still holds between $500,000 and $1,000,000 in NEWP stock [Bass Personal Disclosure Reports] Less than a year ago, NEWP's CEO and Bass's nephew donated $2,000 to his congressional campaign and created an industry group to give Bass their top award. [Fec.gov]
"With a dark cloud of ethical question still hanging over Bass's head, it should be no surprise he was named one of the most corrupt members of Congress by an independent watchdog group in 2011," continued Kirstein. "As long as Charlie Bass continues putting his own personal profit before the people of New Hampshire questions will remain about his questionable relationship his nephew's company."
Outstanding Questions About Bass's Questionable Relationship with NEWP:
- How many stock holders are there currently in New England Wood Pellet and who are they?
- When is the last time Bass spoke with a New England Wood Pellet CEO or other official?
- Did Bass sell any stock in the past 2 years? If so, how much did he make and why isn't the sale on the disclosure? If not, how did his holding drop in value since this is not a public stock?
- Bass currently sits as a senior member of the house Energy Committee - in a position to heavily influence and profit from inside information about regulations affecting this company. If the STOCK Act passes, wouldn't it prevent Bass from ever selling this stock, or buying any more, while in Congress?
History of Bass's Lobbying for NEWP Tax Credit and Private Meetings:
BASS WAS NAMED ONE OF THE MOST CORRUPT MEMBERS OF CONGRESS BY AN INDEPENDENT WATCHDOG.
Rep. Bass misused his position by seeking preferential treatment for his nephew's business, a New Hampshire-based company that produces wood pellet fuel for use in heating systems. Rep. Bass also appears to have lied on his personal financial disclosure forms about his interest in the company. [citizensforethics.org]
BASS MAINTAINS DIRECT CONTROL OVER HIS STOCK IN NEWP.
Bass's stock in New England Wood Pellet remains self-directed according to his most recent FEC disclosure form. [Bass Personal Disclosure Reports]
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 thedepartment'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 EnergyAnd 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." [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 andalternative sources. On Thursday, Secretary Bodman appeared before the House Energy andCommerce 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 thefunding 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 andbiorefinery 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 theEnergy 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]