In case you missed it, the Boston Globe and InDepthNH published articles this week, detailing major concerns from New Hampshire Democrats over the delayed notification of Republican Representative Troy Merner's admission.
This concern comes after reporting showed that the New Hampshire attorney general's office did not inform members of State House leadership until six months after Troy Merner had told investigators that he doesn't actually live in his district.
The disgraced former Representative resigned from the House in September following an investigation by the AG’s office revealed Merner did not live in the district he was elected to represent for over a year. In that time he cast dozens of illegal votes, many of which could have direly swung the outcome of critical legislative decisions.
Read key excerpts here
Burling questioned why the Attorney General’s Office had a credible allegation about Merner’s move, but waited six months until the investigation was completed before notifying Speaker Packard, a Londonderry Republican, in a letter Sept. 18. Packard then asked Merner to resign immediately, which he did. Merner also resigned from the Lancaster board of selectmen where he was chairman.
“My real sense of outrage is how is it when confronted with a verifiable complaint, a state Rep is voting in a district he was not qualified to vote in,” Burling said, adding the New Hampshire Constitution is clear that Merner was required to resign when he moved out of district and not run again for that seat.
Burling said he heard there were more than 20 votes where Merner’s vote impacted the outcome.
“Rep. Merner’s illegal vote likely affected the outcome of many motions that were decided by zero or one vote margins and on one bill, HB 626, his vote directly caused the bill to be killed,” Wilhelm said in an email Tuesday.
Constitutionally, Merner should not have been a member of the House and should not have been able to vote on bills and motions this past session.
“We’re talking about votes (Merner) took that were recorded votes,” Burling said. “Think of all the unrecorded votes, the voice votes, committee votes. Here is a guy who had no business being in a House seat having the chance to vote nay or yea, let alone committee or caucus votes.
Rep. Wilhelm told the attorney general’s office in a letter Wednesday he is “deeply concerned” investigators waited more than four months to notify House leadership that Merner had admitted he no longer lived in the district he was representing.
“For nearly twenty weeks, the House was deprived of its opportunity to fairly judge Rep. Merner’s qualifications, and he continued to illegally vote on over 100 pieces of legislation,” Wilhelm wrote.
Investigators concluded that Merner, a Republican from Lancaster, had moved out of his legislative district more than two months before he won reelection in November 2022. They said he kept representing the district and serving on the Lancaster Board of Selectmen even though he had moved to live with his wife in Carroll. He’s suspected of voting illegally in Lancaster and claiming mileage reimbursement based on the wrong address.