Democrats Call on Bass to Revoke his Ownership Stake After Bipartisan Corruption Charges
CONCORD - After a new federal grant was awarded last week to a company owned in part by Congressman Bass and managed by his nephew, the New Hampshire Democratic Party today challenged Bass to sell his stake in the company and stop using his office to profit himself and his family.
"It is a shame that Congressman Bass's ethical controversies cast a shadow on the work of this New Hampshire company and call this grant into question. This new federal grant to Bass' company once again raises serious ethical questions about Congressman Bass' use of his congressional office to make millions for himself and his family," said Ray Buckley, chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party. "Did he use his office to help secure these taxpayer dollars for his company, like he has in the past? New Hampshire taxpayers deserve an answer."
BASS CITED FOR CORRUPTION BY BIPARTISAN GROUP: Last year, Bass was named to a bipartisan list of the "Most Corrupt" Democrats and Republicans in the country for "misusing 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," according to the bipartisan Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. [http://www.crewsmostcorrupt.org/mostcorrupt/entry/charles-bass]
NEW GRANT TO BASS'S COMPANY: On Friday, August 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a new grant to Bass's company - the only company in New Hampshire's Second Congressional District to receive one of the 125 grants awarded nationwide. [http://www.nhbr.com/businessnews/statenews/970150-257/3-n.h.-biofuel-firms-win-production-expansion.html]
BASS HOLDS AN OWNERSHIP STAKE IN COMPANY: Bass currently holds an ownership stake worth between $500,000 and $1,000,000 in New England Wood Pellet, a private company. [http://clerk.house.gov/public_disc/financial-pdfs/2012/8205358.pdf, page 4]
Bass has repeatedly used his office to promote his nephew's company, falsely denied doing so, and profited from the company's success himself as a part-owner.
Fact: Bass personally introduced legislation to create a special tax credit that was "ideally suited" to help the company owned by his nephew, New England Wood Pellet (NEWP). [Bass Press Release, April 14, 2005; Pellet Fuels Institute Newsletter, March 2006]
Fact: Bass publicly denied using his office to arrange meetings or lobby on behalf of his nephew's company. [Boston Globe, 10/18/10]
Fact: In reality, Bass arranged a meeting between his nephew 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; Invitation letter from Bass,[http://www.scribd.com/doc/63518872/CREW-Most-Corrupt-Sources-Bass-Letter-2006]
Fact: Bass even personally lobbied the U.S. Secretary of Energy to approve $150 million in funding for the tax credit. [U.S. House Energy Committee Testimony, March 9, 2006; Bass E-Newsleter, 3/10/06]
Fact: Bass asked for and received permissions from the company to purchase over $500,000 in an ownership stake, in a private special deal that was not available to the public. [Official Bass U.S. House Financial Disclosure; Nashua Telegraph, 10/15/10]
Fact: Bass joined the board of directors of the company less than a week after leaving Congress, after voters rejected his re-election in 2006. [Bloomberg 1/18/06; Nashua Telegraph, 10/15/10]
Nashua Telegraph, 8/5/12: Pellet case dogs Bass - "New Hampshire Business Review reported last week that New England Wood Pellet was one of three New Hampshire firms sharing part of $19.4 million in federal grants to promote the use of biofuels in rural areas."
Nashua Telegraph, 10/7/10: "The Telegraph reported last week that Bass had financially benefited, either while serving in the House or days after leaving office in 2007, for lobbying on behalf of his niece's husband's wood pellet company. The company had sought government funding for an energy rebate for which Bass had written legislation in 2005, and the following year, he arranged a meeting between his niece's husband and the U.S. energy secretary. Bass reported on a congressional disclosure form that he bought at least $500,000 worth of privately held stock in the wood pellet company . . ."
Boston Globe, 10/18/10: "Bass has denied setting up a meeting between his niece's husband and then-U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman or talking to Bodman about the biomass industry. But the meeting was described in an energy industry newsletter, and during a Congressional hearing, Bodman mentioned speaking to Bass about the issue. According to a transcript of the March 2006 hearing, Bass described the tax credit to Bodman and asked him to comment on it. "I have looked at it. You and I talked about it when I visited," Bodman responded, telling Bass he would get back to him within a month with an answer."