Democrats allege 2013 Sununu executive council vote shows conflict of interest

Monitor staff
Published: 10/19/2016 10:10:00 PM

Three weeks before the November election, Democrats are calling into question potential conflicts between Repubican candidate for governor Chris Sununu and a lobbying firm run by two of his brothers.

On Tuesday, Democrats questioned potential ties between lobbying firm Profile Strategy Group, run by James and Michael Sununu and Jamie Burnett, and a 2013 vote Chris Sununu took to delay a contract of a company in competition with another company represented by Profile Strategies.

“What are the odds that Chris Sununu didn’t know his brothers’ firm was lobbying for Securus?” Paul Hodes said. “Today, we are calling on the Sununu family and their lobbying business to disclose their client list, to prevent any conflicts of interest were Chris Sununu to be elected.”

Profile Strategy Group represents Securus Technologies, a company specializing in prison telephone and communications systems. Burnett is currently registered as a New Hampshire lobbyist for Securus – the only company that the lobbying firm represents, according to the Secretary of State’s office filings.

Democrats are focused on a 2013 Executive Council meeting where Chris Sununu tabled a vote on a contract with Inmate Calling Solutions LLC – a Securus competitor – to handle communications for the state’s prisons and jails.

In February 2013, the council took up a contract for inmate telephone services involving two companies: Securus Technologies and Inmate Calling Solutions. Securus had won the contract unanimously in 2012, but it was later canceled and rebid after the state found it needed to re-write part of its initial contract request, according to the contract. When it was rebid in 2013, Inmate Calling Solutions won the contract.

Sununu called for the contract to be tabled because he had concerns about the bidding process, and said he wanted to make sure Securus wasn’t “getting railroaded out of the process.”

He ultimately approved the contract with Inmate Calling Solutions at the Executive Council’s March 2013 meeting.

Sununu campaign spokesman David Abrams called the latest charge by Democrats is a distraction from campaign issues.

“Chris Sununu has been open and transparent during his tenure on the Executive Council about any conflicts of interests that have come before him,” Abrams said in a statement. “He is always willing to recuse himself in instances of conflict and any claim to the contrary is patently false and motivated purely by partisan politics.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

(Ella Nilsen can be contacted at 369-3322, or on Twitter @ella_nilsen.)

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