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Did Sen. Gregg Have Ethical Problems That Derailed Nomination?

March 1, 2009

Hmmmm.

Maybe there was not a high-minded reason for Republican Senator Gregg of New Hampshire pulling his name for the nomination of Commerce Secretary after all.  Recall he had stated that he had positions on the issues that conflicted with those of the Obama administration.

Instead maybe he knew his business dealings might pose a problem.

Sen. Judd Gregg, President Barack Obama’s former nominee for commerce secretary, won taxpayer money for redevelopment of a shuttered Air Force base where he and his brother had invested in commercial property, an Associated Press investigation found.

Gregg, R-N.H., has personally invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in Cyrus Gregg’s office projects at the Pease International Tradeport, a Portsmouth business park built at the defunct Pease Air Force Base, once home to nuclear bombers. Judd Gregg has collected at least $240,017 to $651,801 from his investments there, Senate records show, while helping to arrange at least $66 million in federal aid for the former base.

Gregg said he violated no laws or Senate rules. In a conference call with New Hampshire reporters on Friday, he said most of the federal money he steered to Pease had been requested by the National Guard or the city of Portsmouth.

“None of these in any way have benefited me personally,” Gregg said.

But the senator’s mixture of personal and professional business would have been difficult to square with President Barack Obama’s campaign promise to impose greater transparency and integrity over federal budget earmarks – funding for lawmakers’ pet projects. Gregg said that during his consideration for the Cabinet job, the White House did not know about his Pease earmarks, although the administration knew about his investments at Pease.

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