By Joey Cresta
PORTSMOUTH — Local politicians from both sides of the aisle said Sunday that House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt's resignation scandal is the latest crack in the crumbling facade of the GOP in the Granite State.
A controversy involving Bettencourt, R-Salem, unfolded rapidly over the weekend. On Friday, he issued a statement saying he would resign effective June 6 and not seek re-election to the House of Representatives, citing a need to focus on his new job and upcoming marriage to Shannon Shutts, who works in House Speaker William O'Brien's office.
On Saturday, state Rep. Brandon Giuda, R-Chichester, called for Bettencourt's immediate resignation, accusing him of falsifying college records indicating he completed an internship at Giuda's law office.
According to WMUR-TV, Bettencourt released a statement Sunday admitting to misrepresenting himself to the University of New Hampshire School of Law and announcing his decision to resign immediately.
Giuda said that if Bettencourt had not resigned, he would have gone public with documents he said showed Bettencourt lied to school officials.
"It's fraud what he did," state Rep. Timothy Copeland, R-Stratham, said Sunday of Bettencourt's actions. "I'm glad D.J.'s doing the right thing now by stepping down, but I understand that it took some prompting by people higher up."
Copeland, a vocal critic of House Speaker Bill O'Brien's leadership, said he found it "interesting" Bettencourt was lying to UNH when House leadership had previously accused Copeland of fabricating complaints about O'Brien's bullying behavior.