NH lawmaker says he's resigning now
CONCORD, N.H.—New Hampshire House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt says he's resigning immediately after apparently misrepresenting himself to law school officials.
Bettencourt released a statement Sunday saying he's leaving the Legislature immediately, several media outlets reported. The decision came amid accusations that Bettencourt falsified college records and another lawmaker, Rep. Brandon Giuda, called on Bettencourt to resign immediately.
Giuda said if Bettencourt didn't resign, he would have gone public with documents he said show Bettencourt lied to officials at the University of New Hampshire School of Law.
Bettencourt did not immediately return telephone or email messages requesting comment.
Bettencourt , a Salem Republican who was the youngest House Majority Leader in New Hampshire history when he was elected to the position before the 2011-2012 session at the age of 26 , had said Friday he would resign from the House next month to focus on his new family and his new job.
Giuda said the 28-year-old Bettencourt misrepresented an 11-week internship at Giuda's solo-practice law firm, The Concord Monitor reported Sunday.
Earlier this year, Bettencourt approached Giuda on the House floor and told him he was in trouble because he did not have enough credits to graduate from law school and needed an internship, the newspaper reported.
Giuda allowed Bettencourt to intern at his home office, the newspaper said, and had Bettencourt draw up a contract and sign it.
Giuda said Bettencourt did not show up for his internship the first two weeks, claiming prior obligations, and that the third week he arrived late and stayed for only 2 1/2 hours. Giuda said Bettencourt never showed up again after that.
He said he later saw a picture of Bettencourt on Facebook saying "'I graduated.'"
"I will never cover for a dishonest person," Giuda was quoted as saying.
Giuda did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.
House Speaker William O'Brien said in a statement Sunday he was disappointed to hear about Bettencourt's decision.
"Certainly, we are disappointed to hear about Rep. Bettencourt's resignation from the House," O'Brien said in a statement posted by WMUR on its website. "He played an important part in achieving a historic budget that closed a nearly $1 billion deficit, in providing tax and regulatory relief to help grow New Hampshire's economy and moving forward an agenda based on Republican principles of lower taxes and limited government. Clearly, he has a number of challenges to work through as he moves forward with his family and career. I wish him the best of luck in the future."
Information from: WMUR-TV, http://wmur.com