HB1002, Right to Know, and The Pile of (His Own) S***! Rep. Travis O'Hara Just Stepped In … – JP


HB1002, as passed by the New Hampshire House, would allow unprincipled municipalities to turn requests for public documents into a revenue stream. It passed the NH House yesterday, after which (at least) two things happened.

Rep. Lisa Smart, having voted in favor, requested a reconsideration of the vote. The House will have to vote again.

It is not uncommon for someone to vote yes on a bill they know they can’t stop today in hopes of getting a motion to reconsider that could produce the necessary pressure to get a different outcome. HB1002 will be reheard and another vote taken.

The second thing from yesterday was a response by Rep. Travis O’Hara to an email scolding him for his yes vote on HB1002.


You read it right. One hundred more times, but I felt like some context was needed. GraniteGrok did not file any right-to-know requests. David Murphy (Skip) did. But let’s pretend it was GraniteGrok and that this is about costing taxpayers “thousands” (x100) because Travis is closer to the truth than he realizes.

Skip, who made said request(s), upon reading the above response, replied,

“Yet the former Gunstock Commissioner used $100K of taxpayer money as a slush fund against conservatives. I RTK’d the invoice. No one would have known the amount if I hadn’t done so. Just one esample.”

Gunstock is a public subdivision of the state and Belknap County, but the commission that runs it acts like it is their private company. It is not. They are subject to state law as a government body. When irregularities arose, and both Skip and the Belknap County Delegation began to ask questions, Gunstock (in this case) Gary Kiedaisch, along with Tom Day, spent over $100,000.00 on lawyers and lawsuits to entangle those who had oversight and responsibility for uncovering any irregular or illegal activity – including misuse of funds (like donating tax dollars to Gov. Chris Sununu’s campaign) or hiring lawyers to go after state reps investigating Gunstock.

Add to that the cost to the delegation to defend itself from the lawsuit (another 40K), all because the power behind Gunstock didn’t want to be audited, examined, or scrutinized.

If you are not clear on the size and scope of the pile of shit into which Travis O’Hara may have just stepped, Gunstock (the public entity) used public money not just for private or personal interest but to avoid being investigated by people elected to hold them accountable.

The very reason we need the Right to Know Law in the first place.

O’Hara may or may not have been a beneficiary of the effort to smear the Republicans who dared to question how the Gunstock Commission was constituted, run or on what they spent your money (we’ll save that for another day), but had Skip not “filed” that right-to-know request or been unable due to increasingly prohibitive costs favored by Travis (I will gladly vote 100 more times for HB1002) O’Hara, these facts (including the abuse of Belknap County resources) might never have come to light.

So, is 100,000+ dollars more or less than “thousands of dollars”?

GraniteGrok’s reporting, by the way, did not cost taxpayers a dime, but O’Hara’s proclamation is literally why we need to make public documents more accessible (not less) and why Republicans should oppose HB1002 when it comes up for reconsideration next week.

That and, as Skip noted, there are more examples, and we’d like to thank Travis for inviting us to share them when we otherwise might not have.


Las Vegas News Magazine

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