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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Rail details emerge in AG inquiry

Kevin Landrigan wades through the 200+ pages of the Attorney General's investigative files to report on how so many state lawmakers became involved in the renewal of a railroad lease for one of their colleagues.
Leishman admitted to prosecutors that, fearing he would lose the lease, he enlisted the help of Democratic state Rep. David Campbell – no relation – who had locked horns with Commissioner Campbell over whether to increase the state gasoline tax.

“On June 10, he (Leishman) told Rep. David Campbell to report a pressure with Commissioner Campbell during the budget committee of conference,” according to an interview Leishman completed with the AG’s office.

During that same session with prosecutors, Leishman confirmed that former House Speaker Douglas Scamman, R-Stratham, got into the act on Leishman’s behalf and lobbied Gov. Lynch.
As Landrigan notes, and we will emphasize, the Attorney General's Office cleared Leishman and all other state officials are any criminal wrong doing. Associate Attorney General Ann Rice referred the inquiry to the House Ethics Committee.

House Ethics Rules prevent any Representative from using his official position to gain anything of value that would not have been gained without that office. We know that he asked his fellow lawmakers to help secure his lease renewal. The question for the House Ethics Committee is whether Rep. Leishman would have had so many colleagues leap to his aide had he not been a State Representative at the time he was negotiating with the New Hampshire Department of Transportation.

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