CONCORD, N.H. — New Hampshire’s Legislative Ethics Committee voted unanimously Monday to clear former Senate President Peter Bragdon of using his position to win a $180,000 job with a quasi-governmental organization, but wants his agreement to informally resolve two issues.

The panel voted unanimously to ask Bragdon to agree to informally resolve two complaints as inadvertent violations of ethics rules: that he knew legislative issues would come up affecting his new job at the Local Government Center and that his salary was related to his position and therefore a gift prohibited under ethics rules.

If Bragdon agrees, the panel will forego a formal hearing on the two issues. The panel would send him a letter with conditions which could range from written advice to admonishment.

Ethics Committee Chairman Martin Gross said it was premature to discuss what the conditions might be. If Bragdon refuses to resolve the issue informally, “I think we will grit our teeth and say, ‘OK, you don’t want informal resolution’ and go to a formal hearing,” said Gross.

The panel hopes to issue its investigative report next week. Gross could not set a time when the informal resolution of the outstanding issues would be completed if Bragdon agrees to accept that process.

Bragdon said Monday he would need to talk to his attorney “but I would think if they want to chat about it, then it’s probably worth chatting about.”


The Milford Republican took the job with the LGC in August and stepped down as Senate president in September after continued criticism from Democrats about potential conflicts of interest. He kept his Senate seat.

As to the dismissed issues, Bragdon said that he has “maintained all along that I followed the ethics rules and guidelines.”

Three other complaints brought by state Rep. Rick Watrous, a Concord Democrat, were dismissed. They are that Bragdon violated ethics rules by using his position as Senate president to get the job, knew he was being recruited to use his influence on legislation and used his position to enhance prospects he would be hired through an appointment made as Senate president.

In his complaint, Watrous said keeping both the job and the Senate seat is a conflict that leaves the public wondering if Bragdon is influencing legislation. Watrous also questioned Bragdon’s appointment of Sen. Jeanie Forrester to a committee reviewing a report about LGC.

Bragdon insisted repeatedly that he has been diligent about recusing himself from any legislation involving his job. He denied doing anything unethical and said ethics rules allow lawmakers to work if they don’t do legislative work for their employer.

The center, which has since reorganized, was an umbrella organization overseeing a health care trust, a worker’s compensation trust and a liability and property trust in which many municipalities participate. Bragdon is executive director of the health care trust.


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