CONCORD, NH — InDepthNH published a bombshell report Monday detailing conversations between state lawmakers that point to the likelihood that members of Republican House Leadership knew Troy Merner was illegally living outside of his district and worked to cover up the situation to maintain their narrow majority in the House.
In the reporting, Representative Kat McGhee (D-Hollis) revealed that Merner, who resigned on September 19 following an investigation by the Attorney General's Office, confided in her that the Republican leadership was aware of his relocation and instructed him to continue serving. Merner, elected in 2016 from Lancaster but later moving to Twin Mountain, had played a crucial role in maintaining the narrow Republican majority in the House, affecting the outcome of over 20 critical votes.
As follow up reporting from New Hampshire Public Radio explains, Republicans in leadership have not denied these claims.
The New Hampshire Attorney General’s office — headed by Chris Sununu political appointee Republican John Formella — has come under fire in recent days for their handling of the investigation of Merner. In an editorial in the Union Leader published over the weekend, Formella is taken to task for not notifying House leadership about the investigation for six months.
The editorial board wrote: “Why the delay by the AG? Formella’s office won’t say, other than to use the shop-worn and wholly inadequate excuse that it cannot provide any information because of an ongoing criminal investigation. That is rubbish. Judging from its current pace, the public might not get an answer to this matter before Bill Belichick’s next Super Bowl win.”
Republicans on the House Rules Committee recently denied a recent request for the re-introduction of HB 626, a bill blocked by an illegal vote by Merner — a move that lends credibility to the idea that Republicans were and are continue to be willing to use Merner’s illegal votes to maintain their policy agenda to the bitter end.
In response to the ongoing saga around Merner fraud, illegal votes, and a possible cover-up by Republican leadership, NHDP Chair Ray Buckley released the following statement:
"These charges are incredibly serious and they are not being treated with the gravity they demand by Republicans at any level in the state, including at the office of the Attorney General. We need full transparency about who knew what, and when they knew it. Anyone engaged in a cover-up for this disgraced former lawmaker's illegal behavior should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”