It’s time for change in state government

Do the words responsibility, accountability or integrity have any place in state government anymore? It would appear not, at least with regard to the attorney general.

To the editor:

Do the words responsibility, accountability or integrity have any place in state government anymore? It would appear not, at least with regard to the attorney general.

The latest black eye to that office comes from a recent report investigating the Greenland shootings. Despite detailed criticism, Attorney General Michael Delaney once again refused to acknowledge any fault of himself or his agency. No surprise to many.

Eight years ago, Jim Reams found similar failed leadership and lack of policies and procedures in an investigation he did of the drug task force while Delaney was deputy AG.

Delaney said the Greenland report wasn’t to assess responsibility or blame. Really? The shooter is ultimately responsible, but this pattern of sculpting the truth or refusing to take meaningful responsibility for its own management mistakes is a repeated fault, and it’s time for a change in leadership there.

As in the FRM scandal, the AG was more concerned with covering up its own shortcomings than getting at the truth or holding anyone accountable. Hundreds fell prey to the largest Ponzi type scheme in New Hampshire history. As an FRM victim, I saw firsthand the consequences of colossal government failure — bankruptcies, divorces, even two suicides.

Scott Farah, now in federal prison, bears ultimate responsibility for this crime, yet was able to operate with impunity for decades thanks to the AG’s office, which ignored numerous criminal complaints over that time period (conveniently left out of the AG’s report).

This information was kept from the public, as well as six audits conducted and ignored by the Banking Department, which uncovered over 70 violations of state and federal law over the years.

Two years ago, with no explicit directive by the governor and Executive Council, Delaney hired a Boston-based law firm for over $75,000 to review state agency responsibility concerning FRM. However, his office and its legal counsel did not review any FRM loan documents or meet with any victims, but proceeded to assign blame in the matter. Without assuming any real responsibility, the AG found a scapegoat in the New Hampshire Securities Bureau when they refused to be part of a cover-up of the AG and Banking Department failings. A bankruptcy court later ruled that FRM had nothing to do with securities.

It would appear from a close examination of all the now-known-facts about FRM that Delaney’s sole mission was to shore up any political blow-back to himself, Governor Lynch, and now-U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, the former attorney general.

We can only hope Governor Hassan moves beyond the Greenland and FRM debacles by appointing an attorney general who views him or herself as the chief law enforcement official of all of New Hampshire and not just as an extension of the office of the governor so as to manage and control the political damage of the moment.

Delaney recently labeled many of those seeking information concerning the inner workings of state government as “mavericks and gadflies.” People deserve to know the truth about government, which goes beyond the sound bites of an office with political overtones. Is that too much to ask?

Peter Martino

Categories: Letters to the Editor