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January 28. 2014 5:03PM

Bragdon cleared: No surprise here

The bipartisan Legislative Ethics Committee was unanimous in its Monday dismissal of allegations that Sen. Peter Bragdon, R-Milford, violated state laws and ethics rules for the purpose of benefitting the former Local Government Center (now HealthTrust Inc.), which hired him as its executive director last year. This is no surprise for two reasons: 1) everyone in Concord knows Bragdon to be ethical; 2) the charges were obviously politically motivated.

Bragdon was Senate President when named the new executive director of the troubled LGC last August. He resigned his Senate presidency but kept his seat. State Rep. Rick Watrous, D-Concord, filed a complaint with the Ethics Committee alleging that Bragdon knew the $180,000-a-year job was offered to him to influence his Senate votes, that he used his public position to get the job, and that he appointed Sen. Jeanie Forrester to a committee charged with reviewing a report on the LGC for the purpose of enhancing his job prospects.

The committee voted 7-0 that there was no “clear and convincing evidence” for these allegations. Of course there wasn’t. They make no sense. The LGC was supposed to have hired Bragdon for the purpose of influencing his Senate votes when the ethics rules make clear that he would have to abstain from voting on legislation that directly affects the LGC. The allegations were fanciful nonsense.

On two lesser complaints, the Ethics Committee found that if there was a violation it was inadvertent on Bragdon’s part.

Granite Staters wonder why so many good men and women refuse to enter politics. Political smear tactics like the made-up allegations against Sen. Bragdon are a major contributing factor.


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