Ex-Rep. Bass faces questions over work on behalf of company

Financial disclosure forms suggest Bass, who is campaigning to reclaim the House seat he lost in 2006, worked to benefit a company while owning stock in it, according to a report by the Nashua Telegraph. Bass told the newspaper the financial disclosure forms were filled out incorrectly.

The Telegraph reports on several issues in play. Financial disclosure forms filed by Bass in March 2007 report that he bought at least $500,000 in shares in the New England Wood Pellet company, which is owned by his nephew, in January and November 2006.

The Telegraph also says that Bass arranged a meeting for the company with a George W. Bush administration official in early 2006, after he may have purchased the stock. Bass also backed a tax credit in the House that might have benefited the company. 

Bass said that financial disclosure reports that showed him owning stock in NEWP before arranging the meeting were incorrect. He said he did not buy the stock until after he lost his reelection bid in November 2006. 

"I only acquired the stock after serving in Congress,” Bass told the Telegraph. “There is nothing wrong with getting into the business after I got out of office, and that’s just what I did.”

Bass also said he didn't recall setting up any meeting with a Bush administration official. The Republican joined the board of NEWP after leaving office. 

Officials with the Pellet Fuels Institute publicly credited Bass with setting up the meeting with then-Energy Department Secretary Samuel Bodman. Bass told the New Hampshire paper he couldn't speak for the institute.

Democrats are hoping the allegations will give Ann McLane Kuster, a favorite candidate of liberal groups, traction in her race against Bass for the seat. A spokesman for Kuster told the Telegraph that the report was "deeply troubling" and deserved further explanation.

An Oct. 5-7 poll by The Hill found Bass leading Kuster by 3 percent, a result within the survey's 4.9 percent margin of error.