In Case You Missed It: Lamontagne attacks Smith for "Lobbying" for family issues, but neglects to mention his own work as a lobbyist for "Big Tobacco"
On Thursday, July 12, Ovide Lamontagne attacked Kevin Smith for having registered to lobby on behalf of family issues in New Hampshire. The attack came during a WMUR online debate when Lamontagne searched for a response to criticism of his support for zero-based budgeting.
“Their exchange was pretty mild during this afternoon’s debate at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, until Lamontagne went on the offensive after Smith criticized his zero-based budgeting plan. Lamontagne called out his opponent for being a lobbyist. Smith registered as a lobbyist with the National Organization for Marriage last year.” (Amherst Patch, July 12, 2012 http://bit.ly/LNzVAy)
This is not the first time that Lamontagne has questioned Smith’s brief work in lobbying for family issues. Earlier this year, Lamontagne raised the issue of lobbying with WMUR-TV’s Josh McElveen in an interview on the Sunday morning political show, “Close Up.”
However, and after all this time, Ovide Lamontagne neglected to mention his own work as a lobbyist. As recent as 2006, Ovide Lamontagne lobbied for “Big Tobacco.” Lamontagne was registered in New Hampshire to lobby for Liggett Vector Brands, Inc., one of America’s largest cigarette manufacturing and tobacco distribution companies based in North Carolina.
The Liggett Vector Brands, Inc.’s website includes a description of the company, stating:
“Backed with more than a century of heritage, Liggett Vector Brands offers an extensive line of quality tobacco products proudly made in the USA. As the exclusive sales, marketing and distribution agent for Liggett Group LLC and Vector Tobacco Inc., Liggett Vector Brands combines an established tradition of excellence with a bold commitment to innovation.” (http://www.liggettvectorbrands.com/)
During the WMUR debate, Lamontagne was caught off guard when Smith responded to his attack by pointing out that the Devine Millimet & Branch lawyer-lobbyist had also lobbied on behalf of clients, including the tobacco company. Lamontagne then made the following claim:
Lamontagne: “I didn’t make my career as a lobbyist.”
Smith: “Nor did I.”
Lamontagne: “I appeared before one client.”
View the debate clip HERE.
One client? At least as early as 1993, Lamontagne had also registered to lobby for the telecommunications industry, including the Merrimack County Telephone Company and the Granite State Telephone Company.
Kevin Smith statement responding to Lamontagne’s attack:
“It’s disingenuous and a bit odd for Ovide to attack me for having lobbied on behalf of family issues in New Hampshire, when he was a lobbyist himself dating back almost twenty years. I don’t know if he meant to do it during the debate, or if it just popped out when he was stuck on the issue of budgeting. Either way, it looks bad on him, and I’d like to know exactly what he objects to in my advocating on behalf of New Hampshire’s families.”