Democrats urged Republican Charlie Bass on Monday to release e-mail and phone records related to a tax credit he's accused of creating to benefit a company his nephew owns and in which Bass has invested.
Democrat Ann McLane Kuster, who is running against Bass for the 2nd District seat he once held, has criticized what she calls Bass' "self-dealing" when it comes to New England Wood Pellets of Jaffrey, which is owned by the husband of Bass' niece. But Bass didn't invest in the company until after leaving office in 2006 and says Kuster is manufacturing the story to avoid talking about issues that matter to voters.
Bass has denied setting up a meeting between his niece's husband and then-U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman or talking to Bodman about the biomass industry. But the meeting was described in an energy industry newsletter, and during a Congressional hearing, Bodman mentioned speaking to Bass about the issue.
According to a transcript of the March 2006 hearing, Bass described the tax credit to Bodman and asked him to comment on it.
"I have looked at it. You and I talked about when I visited," Bodman responded, telling Bass he would get back to him within a month with an answer.
Kathy Sullivan, former chairwoman of the state Democratic Party, called the contradictions troubling.
"That is why I am calling on Congressman Bass today to release all e-mails and telephone logs between himself, his congressional office, his nephew, his nephew's company, and the U.S. Department of Energy from 2005 through 2007," she said. "We deserve to know who wrote this legislation, what Congressman Bass did to get it passed, and exactly how and when he profited from his association with his nephew's company."
Bass, a member of the company's board of managers, points out that the tax credit he proposed was not specific to any particular kind of renewable energy. His campaign spokesman didn't comment on the transcripts Monday but said Kuster owes the company's employees an apology.
"Charlie Bass supports the development of alternative energies, including biomass, wind, solar, geothermal and others. He always has, when he was in Congress, and now in the private sector," said Scott Tranchmontagne. "Annie Kuster claims to support good jobs in the renewable energy field, yet she continues to maliciously attack the integrity of a New Hampshire company that is leading the industry in creating good jobs in renewable energy. This is Kuster's desperate attempt to make cheap, political points."
Bass bought $500,000 worth of stock in the company in early 2007, after losing his re-election bid to Democrat Paul Hodes, who is leaving the seat to run for U.S. Senate.