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Entries in Ethics (61)



Concord - New Hampshire Republican State Committee Chairman Jennifer Horn today called on Senator Jeanne Shaheen to donate all of the tainted campaign contributions she received from disgraced Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) to charity. Buzzfeed today reported that Shaheen is refusing to give up the donations and will only commit to holding them pending the outcome of his trial. Democratic Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) have decided to give up the donations immediately:

"Senator Klobuchar and Senator Bennet made the right decision to get rid of disgraced Senator Bob Menendez's tainted contributions. Senator Shaheen has no good reason to continue to hold on to Menedez's dirty money, and she needs to follow the lead of her senate colleagues and get rid of it immediately," said NHGOP Chairman Jennifer Horn. "Senator Shaheen's continued unwillingness to purge these tainted donations from her campaign coffers raises serious questions about her commitment to integrity and ethics in government."

In 2008, then-candidate Shaheen called on Senator John Sununu to return campaign donations from Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) after he was indicted, but before his trial. 

"Senator Shaheen demanded that Senator Sununu return campaign contributions from indicted Senator Ted Stevens but won't return her own donations from indicted Senator Bob Menendez. Granite Staters are smart enough to realize that she is a dishonest hypocrite who holds herself to a different standard than she holds others." 



Concord - New Hampshire Republican State Committee Chairman Jennifer Horn today called on Senator Jeanne Shaheen to cancel a fundraiser this evening at the home of a Washington lobbyist tied to a prostitution ring.


"Granite Staters expect their elected officials to adhere to high ethical standards, and it's unseemly for Senator Shaheen to be involved in the sleazy underside of Washington politics," said NHGOP Chairman Jennifer Horn. "It is disgraceful that Senator Shaheen chose to kick off the general election campaign with a fundraiser at the home of a financial services lobbyist who has been convicted of illegal gift giving and tied to a prostitution ring. She needs to immediately cancel this fundraiser and return all donations from this disgraceful event."


The Daily Caller today reported that Senator Shaheen is scheduled to attend a fundraiser this evening at the posh Georgetown home of Bill Broydrick, a prominent Washington lobbyist.


In 2007, the Associated Press reported that Broydrick's phone number was found in phone records released by Jeane Palfrey, the infamous "D.C Madam". For 13 years, Palfrey operated a high-end prostitution business in Washington. Broydrick received three calls from her in 2004.


According to the Capital Times of Madison, Wisconsin, Broydrick also pleaded guilty in 1989 to providing an illegal gift to former Wisconsin state Sen. Gary George.



Governor's Decision To Use State House Office In Political Ad Raises Ethical Questions


Concord - The New Hampshire Republican State Committee today filed a Right-To-Know request regarding Governor Maggie Hassan's corner office campaign ad shoot.


This week, Hassan released her first ad for her re-election campaign. The entire ad was shot in Hassan's taxpayer-funded, State House office in Concord. State law prohibits public employees from using government property for "electioneering."


The full request is below:


The Honorable Maggie Hassan

Governor of New Hampshire

State House

107 North Main Street

Concord, New Hampshire03301


Dear Governor Hassan,


This is a request under the New Hampshire Right To Know Law (RSA 91-A.)


On behalf of the New Hampshire Republican State Committee I am writing to formally request that you provide me with all records from your office regarding your recent political ad shoot in your State House office. This request includes, but is not limited to schedule information to determine when the ad was shot, documentation regarding any state employees who may have worked on this shoot and any emails or communications from your staff about this political ad.


Under New Hampshire law (RSA 659:44-A) public employees are prohibited from electioneering "while in the performance of his or her official duties or use government property, including, but not limited to, telephones, facsimile machines, vehicles, and computers, for electioneering." Any person who violates this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor crime. Participating in the production of a partisan political ad in the governor's office would certainly fit the definition of "electioneering."


Your ethically questionable decision to use the sacred confines of the corner office as a political prop in your first partisan campaign is extremely troubling. It also raises questions about what other types of political activities you are conducting in the governor's State House suite.  


If members of your taxpayer-funded staff helped set up this ad shoot, it would be a violation of state law. It's likely that your official staff had a hand in the production of this ad given that many of your former campaign aids hold patronage positions in the governor's office. This includes your 2012 campaign consultant Pamela Walsh, who now draws a publicly funded paycheck as your chief of staff.


The use of official offices in political ads has generated significant controversy and serious ethical questions in recent years. Congressional ethics rules forbid the use of federal office space for political and campaign activity, meaning that congressmen and senators are barred from shooting campaign ads in their district offices or in the United States Capitol.


In 2012, President Obama was sharply criticized by government watchdog groups for using the West Wing of the White House in a series of campaign ads. ABC News reported at the time that Meredith McGehee, policy director of the Campaign Legal Center, said it "an unwise politicization of the highest office in the land."


"I find it a bit disturbing that he would do it in the West Wing office," McGehee said. "Filming in a West Wing office - it may not be precedent-setting but that doesn't mean it's the right thing to do."


Granite Staters expecttheir governor to use his or her time in the corner office to do the people's business, not political businesses. You decision to shoot a partisan campaign ad in your official office adds to the ethical concerns that havealready been generated by your illegal fundraising scandal. Accepting tens of thousands of dollars in illegal campaign contributions and deciding to blur the line between your official duties and campaign activities raises serious questions about your integrity.


Pursuant to the guiding statutes, please respond to this request within five (5) days of receipt. If you deny any part of this request, or this entire request, please cite eachspecific exemption you feel justifies the refusal to release the information and notify me of appeal procedures available to me under the law.


Thank your for your attention to this important matter.




Jennifer Horn


New Hampshire Republican State Committee



MANCHESTER Scott Brown released the following statement on today’s news that Senator Shaheen is one of the targets of an ethics complaint relating to the ongoing IRS scandal:
"These are serious allegations against Senator Shaheen. The IRS should never be used to exact political revenge against opponents or groups that you disagree with. Senator Shaheen has an obligation to fully explain her motives in this case, which has left the very real impression  she used the IRS for partisan political purposes."

The Hill reported today that the Center for Competitive Politics is “calling on the Senate ethics committee to examine nine top Democrats, accusing them of pushing the IRS to investigate specific groups … in which they charge that lawmakers tried to get the tax agency to probe outside conservative groups.”


NHDP - Legislative ethics panel rejects Bragdon's claim of 'overbroad' restrictions

Key Point: "[Ethics committee chairman] Gross wrote that the conditions were purposely broadly worded 'to assure that as long as Sen. Bragdon remains in the Senate, his position cannot in any way be used to benefit his employer.'... Gross wrote that Bragdon must accept or reject the committee’s restrictions by 12 noon on Friday."

Union Leader: Legislative ethics panel rejects Bragdon's claim of 'overbroad' restrictions
John DiStaso

CONCORD — The Legislative Ethics Committee has rejected state Sen. Peter Bragdon’s assertion that the panel imposed “overbroad and unnecessary” restrictions on him to avoid potential conflict between his role as an elected official and his job as executive director of the HealthTrust public employees benefits pool.
“The conditions were not offered as a starting point for further negotiations,” ethics committee chairman Martin L. Gross wrote to Bragdon’s attorney, Russell Hilliard, in a letter on Monday that was obtained by the New Hampshire Union Leader on Tuesday, “but rather to afford Senator Bragdon the opportunity to avoid a formal proceeding to consider the two allegations that the Committee’s Preliminary Investigation indicated would be supported by clear and convincing evidence.”
Bragdon’s reaction to the sharply-worded letter was, “No comment at this time. I will be discussing this matter with attorney Hilliard and trying to figure out why I am being treated differently than other legislators who are employed.”
The committee, after clearing Bragdon of any intentional behavior that violated legislative ethics guidelines, told Bragdon that he must agree to “not take part in any official activity that concerns, involves or would have any effect on your employer.”
Bragdon, a Milford Republican, accepted the $180,000-a-year post last summer and then stepped down as state Senate President, but stayed on as a rank-and-file senator.
The committee also told Bragdon that he should not participate in any HealthTrust consideration or decision-making process” on any matter that involves legislative consideration, and he should not participate in any HealthTrust “consideration, decision-making or communications with the state’s regulatory officials who deal with the risk pool.”
Hilliard wrote to the panel last week that the conditions are “overbroad and unnecessary” and asked for clarifications. He wrote, for instance, that some legislation “applies generally to employers and nonprofits such as HealthTrust and not in any particular fashion to HealthTrust.”
But Gross wrote back on Monday, “If Senator Bragdon believes the conditions are unacceptable, and if chooses to remain a member of the Senate, the Committee will go forward by issuing written formal charges and scheduling a hearing to determine the merits of the allegations.”
Gross wrote that the conditions were purposely broadly worded “to assure that as long as Sen. Bragdon remains in the Senate, his position cannot in any way be used to benefit his employer.”
He wrote that the restrictions “are intended to isolate Senator Bragdon from his employer’s relations with the state.”
Gross noted that Bragdon recently filed an “incomplete” declaration under the ethics guidelines, “in which he identified the Medicaid bills as involving a conflict with his employment, but then participated in voting on them. He did this notwithstanding previous assurance to the Committee that he would not participate in any matter involving his employer.”
Gross wrote that Bragdon is allowed to perform “purely ministerial activities” in assisting HealthTrust to comply with proposed legislation or regulations, but may not become involved in meaningful, “prudential decisions concerning its relations with the state.”
Gross wrote that Bragdon must accept or reject the committee’s restrictions by 12 noon on Friday.