Legislative complaint dismissed; lawmaker and subject not revealed
CONCORD — An unknown complaint against a lawmaker or lawmakers was dismissed on a 6-0 vote Tuesday, but its subject was not revealed.
Complaints filed with the Legislative Ethics Committee are confidential unless an investigation is initiated.
Tuesday the committee decided an investigation was not warranted, so the complaint remains confidential and any breach is a misdemeanor.
State House speculation was the complaint had to do with Senate President Peter Bragdon's decision to accept the job as Local Government Center Executive Director, but ethics committee chairman attorney Martin Gross said: "What went on last week has nothing to do with this complaint," noting it was filed in May and the committee sought additional information before deciding whether to go forward.
Gross said by law the committee could say no more about the complaint.
Currently, the committee has no other complaints pending.
Bragdon's appointment to the LGC, which is the state's largest health, property and liability insurer for cities, towns, school districts and counties, drew criticism for the potential conflict of interest.
When Bragdon took the post, he said he viewed his new position as any other lawmaker in the citizen legislature who has an outside job.
He said he would recuse himself from any legislation related to the LGC.
Friday, Bragdon, who began his job two days before, said he would resign as Senate president but would remain in his District 11 seat. He said he realized the Senate president has other responsibilities and challenges other lawmakers do not have.
He acknowledged his appointment was creating a perception of conflict of interest and calling the integrity of the Senate into question.
"I worked real hard the last three years as Senate president to bring openness and integrity to the Senate," Bragdon said Friday, "and this would damage that and I did not want that to happen."
Bragdon is expected to call the Senate back into session soon after Labor Day to choose another Senate president.
To date, only Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Morse, R-Salem, has said he will seek the presidency.
Several elected and political leaders, including Gov. Maggie Hassan have said the legislative ethics code may need to be reviewed and possibly revised in light of Bragdon's employment with the LGC.
A legislative committee is to make recommendations on changes to the ethics code but all the members have yet to be appointed and the committee yet to meet. The committee has a Dec. 14 deadline for its recommendations.