Secretary of State Gardner “Baffled” By Forrester’s Move
Concord, N.H. – New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner slammed Jeanie Forrester’s last-minute amendment to the budget to benefit her long-time cronies at HealthTrust, the controversial taxpayer funded insurance group formerly known as the Local Government Center (LGC).
Gardner told the Associated Press, “I was not aware of this amendment – no one ever asked me any questions or suggested there were any problems… I’m kind of baffled.”
The Union Leader reported that Gardner “outlined his department’s history overseeing the risk pools and its order for HealthTrust to return more than $50 million to taxpayers.” Adding, “All but 4 percent is taxpayers’ money that had to be sent back… because it was used for something it was not intended to be used for.”
The Union Leader also reported that Gardner “vowed... to keep fighting the change in regulation for the risk pools.”
“Jeanie Forrester’s has a lot of explaining to do about her shady amendment that would undermine regulation of a group that’s supposed to be returning $50 million in funds in order to do a special favor for her friends,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. “As Senate Finance Chair, Forrester’s shady dealings have created a dark ethical cloud not only around herself, but also the entire budget process.”
Here are just a few of the outstanding questions Forrester needs to answer:
Why did Forrester submit this last minute amendment given her obvious conflict of interest?
When did Peter Bragdon approach Forrester to submit this amendment?
Is Forrester still on staff at Municipal Resources Inc.? (Her 2011 financial disclosure form listed the company, which still names her on its “staff & affiliates” page)
Why hasn’t Forrester listed Municipal Resources Inc. on her financial disclosure forms since 2011?
Has Forrester discussed this amendment with anyone else at Municipal Resources Inc.?
What benefits would this amendment have for Municipal Resources Inc.? (Municipal Resources Inc. lists HealthTrust, formerly LGC, as a client)
BRAGDON BEGAN CONSIDERING THE POSITION WITH LGC ON JULY 12,2013
“Bragdon, speaking on WMUR-TV last weekend, indicated that he began considering the position with the LGC on July 12 while flying to a conference in Seattle.” [Laconia Daily Sun, 8/20/13]
A WEEK LATER, BRAGDON APPOINTS FORRESTER TO LGC REGULATORY OVERSIGHT STUDY COMMITTEE WITH OVERSIGHT OVER LGC
“On July 19, Bragdon named Meredith Republican State Sen. Jeannie Forrester to the study committee charged with proposing any changes to state law governing risk pools like the ones the LGC operates, managing health, property liability and worker’s compensation insurance plans for cities and towns.” [Nashua Telegraph, 8/15/2013]
BRAGDON RESIGNED SENATE PRESIDENCY AMID LGC CONTROVERSY
“Bragdon resigned the presidency amid controversy triggered by his original decision to keep the position while simultaneously serving as executive director of the Local Government Center (LGC).” [Laconia Daily Sun,8/20/13]
FORRESTER’S 2011 FINANCICAL DISCLOSURE FORM LISTS INCOME FROM MUNICIPAL RESOURCES INC, COMPANY WEBSITE STILL LISTS HER UNDER “STAFF & AFFILIATES”
In2011, Forrester’s financial disclosure form listed income from her employment with Municipal Resources Inc. The company’s website still lists Forrester on its “staff & affiliates” page. [GenCourt, accessed 5/26/15, Municipal Resources Inc., Accessed 5/26/15]
MUNICIPAL RESOURCES INC WEBSITE CURRENTLY LISTS HEALTHTRUST AND PROPERTY-LIABILITY TRUST (FORMERLY LGC) AS CLIENTS [Accessed 5/26/15]