Senate candidate Scott Brown visits Jaffrey to talk energy policy

Republican candidate for senator Scott Brown (right) visited New England Wood Pellet in Jaffrey Wednesday as part of a tour to present his energy policy. Plant manager Joe Powers (left) explains Wood Pellet's operations to Brown.

Republican candidate for senator Scott Brown (right) visited New England Wood Pellet in Jaffrey Wednesday as part of a tour to present his energy policy. Plant manager Joe Powers (left) explains Wood Pellet's operations to Brown. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

JAFFREY — Republican U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown visited the biomass energy plant New England Wood Pellet in Jaffrey on Wednesday afternoon. Brown’s visit was part of what he has called his “Making Energy Affordable” tour, a set of campaign appearances to present his energy plan. But as Brown tours several counties in New Hampshire presenting his energy proposal, questions about his financial situation remain unanswered.

Following a tour of the facilities, Brown said he is against a national energy tax. “There are proposals to increase a national energy tax that will potentially increase the cost of energy and gasoline. That is problematic to businesses, and the increase in production costs will then pass over to consumers,” Brown said.

Regarding the recent regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency calling for fossil-fired energy producers to reduce carbon emissions, Brown said it is a “wait-and-see approach.” “Energy producers in our state are not quite sure of how they are going to be affected,” Brown said.

Like a national energy tax, the EPA regulations would potentially increase the cost of energy for New Hampshire residents. Brown said, “We are noticing is there is a problem when you have the federal government mandating new regulations without really consulting energy producers.”

What voters in New Hampshire and elsewhere are watching even more closely than Brown’s platform is his business dealings.

Brown’s connection to Global Digital Solutions Inc., a company based in West Palm Beach, Fla., have led Brown’s opponents and the media to question his personal assets and interests.

Brown has described Global Digital as “a start-up company in the defense technology field with the potential for long-term growth,” according to a statement Brown released Wednesday However, the Boston Globe reported June 4 that the company Brown advised only had a virtual office space and had filed no revenues or sold any products. The company currently markets itself as a firearms innovator but started as a cosmetic producer and then switched to a wireless data firm, according to the Boston Globe.

Brown, who held a seat in the U.S. Senate representing Massachusetts from 2010 to 2013, officially declared his candidacy in the N.H. State House in Concord on Wednesday, and, less than two hours later, announced his resignation from the advisory board of Global Digital Solutions Inc.

Brown has said he was an adviser of the Florida-based company and noted he held stocks in the Global Digital Solutions Inc. in exchange for providing advice in different matters. Brown, who is retired from the U.S. National Guard, has said the company was looking for someone with a military background.

Brown joined the advisory board of Global Digital Solutions Inc. in September 2013. “Senator Brown will draw on his extensive government experience at the state and federal levels and his longtime service in the Army National Guard to provide advice and guidance to the Global Digital executive leadership team related to the company’s overall global strategy,” reads a press release issued by Global Digital Solutions Inc. last September.

A report submitted by Global Digital to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission showed Brown’s stocks in the company were initially valued at $1.3 million. Those significantly diminished and by the time Brown resigned, the shares were valued at around $550,000, according to a Boston Globe report.

However, a statement released Wednesday by Brown’s communication staff on his resignation said he did not receive any monetary compensation from GDSI. “It’s clear from recent media reports that my continued role with the company would be an unnecessary and unwanted distraction,” Brown said in the statement.

Despite Brown’s resignation from GDSI, his personal finances have yet to come out in the public eye.

Earlier in the race, Brown’s opponents in the Republican Party, Jim Rubens and Robert Smith, had called on him to file a personal disclosure form, a statement dissecting personal finances that candidates are required by law to file. The deadline for candidates to file was originally May 15. But Brown sought and was granted an extension to file the form by Aug. 9, only one month before the N.H. Republican Party holds its primary election.

When asked by the Ledger-Transcript if there Brown’s position with Global Digital had led to the delay in releasing his personal finance statement, Brown’s communications director, Lizzy Guyton, declined to comment. Guyton later provided this statement via email about the personal finance disclosure form: “It’s a routine extension that’s commonly requested by Democrats and Republicans alike.”

N.H. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, who is running for re-election and is the only declared candidate for the Democratic party, filed a personal disclosure form in May. According to the form, Senator Shaheen and her husband, William, have between $3.7 million and $7.9 million in personal assets.

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