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Duck and cover? Independent investigation needed

January 20. 2014 8:31PM

Regarding what looks a lot like a political scandal involving a Nashua lawyer engaged in politics and a Nashua lawyer engaged in law enforcement, the last place we should turn for an impartial investigation is to a Nashua lawyer engaged in both politics and law enforcement.

To recap, State Rep. David Campbell, D-Nashua, has admitted to having a couple of drinks at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on the night of Dec. 23, then running over and killing five ducks in the parking lot. The hotel night manager who called the police that night told the dispatcher, "there's a gentleman who is drunk," referring to Campbell. The bartender has said that Campbell did not appear impaired.

Campbell left the scene on foot and went to his office, where he called his friend Thomas Pappas - chairman of Nashua's three-member police commission. Pappas picked up Campbell. About two hours later, Pappas called the Nashua police and said Campbell was a friend who was staying at another friend's house that night, and asked if Campbell could come in to talk to the police in the morning. Not surprisingly, the answer was yes. Nashua police commissioners appoint city police officers and set their salaries.

All of this looks fishy enough to justify an investigation by the Attorney General's office. But Attorney General Joe Foster is, like Campbell, a Nashua lawyer turned politician (he is a former Democratic state senator). Like Pappas, Foster was appointed to his position by a Democratic governor (Pappas was appointed by Gov. John Lynch in 2010, Foster by Gov. Maggie Hassan last year).

One politically connected Nashua lawyer investigating two other politically connected Nashua lawyers will give the appearance of favoritism even if the investigation is conducted with exceptional integrity. The Attorney General should appoint an outside investigator - not a politically connected Nashua lawyer - to investigate the incident.

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