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Veterans Affairs employee, former NH state representative under investigation over potential conflict

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The Department of Veterans Affairs is looking into how one of its employees also, until this week, held elected office as a New Hampshire state lawmaker, an agency spokesperson told NHPR.

The VA says Benjamin Bartlett has been employed with their agency since 2014, currently serving in a dispatch role for its law enforcement unit. Under the Hatch Act, federal employees are generally prohibited from running for or holding partisan elected offices, according to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel.

Bartlett, a Republican, won a seat representing Nottingham at the State House last fall. He resigned from that position on Wednesday, at the time telling NHPR and other news outlets his decision was driven by health issues. He didn’t respond to follow-up questions about his employment status.

Bartlett only cast a single vote in the House, in early January. Since then, House attendance records list Bartlett as absent from all other roll call votes.

Bartlett is also on the select board in Nottingham, a nonpartisan position, where his attendance record shows only two absences this year. Bartlett attended the most recent meeting on April 17, where he led the pledge of allegiance, according to meeting minutes.

With Bartlett’s resignation Republicans now hold a slim majority over Democrats in the New Hampshire House, 200 to 196.

Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University.
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