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Shaheen Bragged About Writing $42 Billion Broadband Program. It’s Connected Zero People to Internet

One year ago this week, U.S. Rep. Chris Pappas was patting his own political back over nearly $200 million in federal tax dollars coming to New Hampshire to improve broadband internet access.

“Access to high-speed internet enables our businesses to compete, communities to thrive, and Granite Staters to succeed,” Pappas was quoted in a press release. “I was proud to help pass the bipartisan infrastructure law to secure these funds.”

He wasn’t alone.

Rep. Annie Kuster said she was “thrilled” by the broadband funding, and Sen. Maggie Hassan called it one of her “key priorities.”

And Sen. Jeanne Shaheen was the most excited of all, sending a “breaking news” press release taking credit for “writing the broadband provisions that created the BEAD program.”

“This is precisely what we had in mind,” Shaheen said of the $200 million broadband cash haul.

But ask Shaheen about the Broadband, Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program today, and she’s a “no comment.” The rest of the delegation is suddenly silent as well. 

Perhaps that’s because of a new report saying the $42 billion program launched in 2021 has yet to connect a single person to the internet.

Not one.

“In 2021, the Biden administration got $42.45 billion from Congress to deploy high-speed Internet to millions of Americans. Years later, it has not connected even one person with those funds. In fact, it now says that no construction projects will even start until 2025 at the earliest,” Federal Communications Commissioner (FCC) Brendan Carr reported.

According to the Washington Times, the reason Biden’s expensive, high-speed rollout is stuck in dial-up mode is progressive politics.

The law Shaheen helped write imposes burdensome requirements like climate change mandates, preferences for hiring union workers and the requirement that eligible companies prioritize the employment of “justice-impacted” people with criminal records to install broadband equipment.

“The Biden Admin’s failure to turn even a single shovel’s worth of dirt with these dollars flows directly from its own choices,” Carr says. “The administration chose to pursue DEI goals and climate change priorities and to add layers of Byzantine process that senators warned would delay internet builds.”

Among the mandates is a requirement “to prioritize certain segments of the workforce,” such as “individuals with past criminal records” and “justice-impacted participants.”

Carr compared the years of spending and billions of dollars — all without result — to the recent news that Biden’s billion-dollar push for electric vehicle charger stations has led to just seven or eight actually constructed.

“A lot of people look at the seven EV chargers, and they thought that was a big miss,” Carr said. “And you know, at least you got seven EV chargers. Here, we’ve got $42 billion, and we’ve got no shovels in the ground — nobody connected at all.”

As critical as high-speed internet service is for New Hampshire families, getting them connected is taking a back seat to a shopping list of liberal items, according to Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.). He joined nine other Senate Republicans in a letter to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) demanding the agency drop its “bureaucratic red tape and far-left mandates” that have kept the program offline.

“As numerous states and stakeholders have articulated, current BEAD rules divert resources away from bringing broadband service to rural America in a manner that is inconsistent with NTIA’s statutory authority in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). NTIA’s failure to resolve these concerns will prolong the digital divide and put billions of scarce taxpayer dollars at risk,” the senators wrote.

Meanwhile, Carr says, the Biden administration has added insult to injury for Americans in rural areas like northern New Hampshire who could have been helped by the BEAD program.

“While the Biden Admin’s $42.45B plan from 2021 has not resulted in even a single shovel’s worth of dirt being turned, the government in 2022 revoked an award to Starlink that would have delivered high-speed Internet to 642,000 rural locations,” Carr said.

Worse, Carr said, a group of moderate Republicans led by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) wrote the Biden administration in 2022 warning the heavy-handed regulations proposed for the BEAD program would prevent it from fulfilling its mission.

“Certain provisions go beyond the authority granted to NTIA and will discourage or deter broad provider participation. This undermines our shared goal of delivering broadband service to all Americans as soon as possible,” the senators wrote.

Then, as now, the New Hampshire delegation had no comment.

Judge Blocks Woodburn’s Request for ‘Blame the Victim’ Defense in Domestic Violence Case

Disgraced former State Sen. Jeffrey Woodburn is not being allowed to introduce evidence that he claims shows the alleged victim had a history of causing the kind of fights that led to his alleged crimes.

Woodburn, once one of the highest-ranking elected Democrats in state government, continues to fight hard against the domestic violence charges that have hung over him since his 2018 arrest. He is heading for a new trial on one count of domestic violence and one count of simple assault after the New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled he was denied the ability to argue self-defense.

On Friday, Coos Superior Court Judge Peter Bornstein denied Woodburn’s request to introduce evidence of prior instances that “physically interfered with his attempts to avoid conflict.”

Woodburn’s attorney, Mark Sisti, filed a motion to allow this evidence, even though it detailed incidents that predate the alleged violence for which he had originally been convicted. 

“Testimony concerning Jeff Woodburn’s prior attempts to avoid conflict and the alleged victim’s behavior about those attempts are admissible and relevant to his mental state at the time of this alleged offense,” Sisti wrote.

Assistant Attorney General Zachary Wolfe’s objection pointed out Sisti and Woodburn supply no details about this “vague, amorphous” evidence, making it impossible to counter in court or even prove they actually happened.

“The defendant’s motion fails to identify not only the specific instances of conduct he wishes to introduce, but also any specific legal grounds justifying his request,” Wolfe wrote.

While the Supreme Court ruled Woodburn can use evidence demonstrating his claim of self-defense for the actions covered in the trial, Bornstein wrote in his order that it does not open the door for what is essentially the unspecified evidence Woodburn is claiming.

“Among other things, the defendant has not identified any of the alleged victim’s prior acts as to which he seeks to introduce evidence or the approximate date(s) on which he alleges occurred,” Bornstein wrote. 

The simple assault and domestic violence convictions stem from Woodburn’s violent actions related to three separate incidents, according to court records. In the first instance, Woodburn and the woman arrived in separate vehicles at a Dec. 15, 2017, Christmas party, and the woman agreed to drive him home so that Woodburn could drink at the party. During an argument on the drive home, Woodburn had the woman pull over, and during a struggle over his phone, he bit her hand, according to court records.

On Christmas Eve that same year, Woodburn kicked the door to the woman’s house when she refused to let him inside. In August 2017, he reportedly kicked her clothes dryer earlier that year, breaking the appliance, according to court records.

The woman went on record telling Bornstein that at one point during one of her struggles with Woodburn, she tried to grab his phone without permission. Bornstein stated in court that it did not rise to the level of behavior allowing Woodburn’s self-defense claims.

Woodburn’s new trial on the two charges is slated for next year. The North Country Democrat has already been convicted on two counts of criminal mischief and is facing 30 days in jail. He is also free while he appeals Bornstein’s August ruling denying a new trial on these charges.

Woodburn is just one of several Granite State Democrats embroiled in legal scandals. Strafford County Sheriff Mark Brave is on paid leave and facing charges of stealing tax dollars to pay for trysts with a series of paramours. Former state Rep. Stacie Laughton (D-Nashua) is in jail awaiting trial on child pornography charges. And two-time Democratic candidate for governor, former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand, has just been called out for a second time by the state attorney general over illegal campaign tactics he used in local political races.

In addition, both U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan (D) and the state Democratic Party are still holding on to cash donated to them by notorious fraudster Sam Bankman-Fried after he allegedly stole it from clients. Hassan and the NHDP were two of the top recipients of the more than $100 million in political campaign contributions federal prosecutors say Bankman-Fried made before the 2022 midterm elections.