What did Bragdon and Forrester Discuss Before and After her Ethically Questionable Appointment to the LGC Committee?
Concord – The long list of serious ethical questions surrounding disgraced former Senate President Peter Bragdon and his entire Republican caucus continue to grow. This morning the Nashua Telegraph reported, “Bragdon’s official letter to [Senator Jeanie] Forrester naming her to the [LGC] panel came July 19, eight days after Bragdon has confirmed he first thought about pursuing the LGC job.” [Nashua Telegraph, 8/21/2013
] Bragdon’s admission that he had already begun talking to the LGC about a $180,000 contract when he took the official action of legally appointing Senator Jeanie Forrester to the LGC committee raises significant concerns about a breach of the state's ethics handbook.
“The more we learn about Bragdon and the LGC the more concerns are raised and the more serious those concerns become. Bragdon’s official act appointing Forrester to the LGC committee occurred a more than full week after he began talking to the LGC about a job paying $180,000 per year,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Communications Director Harrell Kirstein. “That is a terrible abuse of power and both Bragdon and Forrester owe the public a full and honest account of any discussions they have had about the LGC both before and after her appointment. What did Bragdon know of Forrester’s opinions about the LGC when he appointed her to a committee study regulations impacting his new employer?”
- “Legislators shall not use their public position or office to obtain anything of value for the private benefit of the legislator or the legislator’s immediate family.”
- “Legislators shall not become involved in any official activity without complying with the conflict of interest procedure set forth in this document.”
“Bragdon’s official and legal appointment of Forrester is a clear conflict of interest. He used his position as Senate President to influence a decision that would directly benefit the LGC, while being considered for a $180,000 contract with the LGC,” said Kirstein. “As soon as Bragdon began negotiations with the LGC about the Executive Director position he should have revealed that to the public. He had a clear financial interest that was not disclosed, and did not recuse himself from decisions potentially impacting that interest.”
Bragdon’s only excuse is a completely unverifiable claim that in his mind he had previously decided who to appoint – but at that point the bill creating it hadn’t yet become law and the committee didn't exist. Not only does that claim contradict emails he sent other legislators, and the official letter appointing Forrester, but it is also inconsistent with his story last week. Previously Bragdon claimed that he had “appointed” Forrester “to that panel before he began talking to the LGC.” [Concord Monitor, 8/13/2013
“With being caught red-handed, Bragdon is desperately trying to rewrite history and cover up his ethically questionable decisions. But as his story changes day to day and week to week, how can Bragdon expect us to believe this version? Which story is true? Are any of them?” asked Kirstein. “If I think about paying my credit card bill on July 8th but I don’t actually sign and mail the check until July 19th, what day did I actually commit the act? The fact is Bragdon’s official action appointing Forrester to the LGC Committee occurred well after he began discussions with the LGC about taking their Executive Director job. It was a reckless and irresponsible violation of the public trust.”