D.J. Bettencourt, the Republican from New Hampshire, has fallen from grace rapidly. He was elected as a state representative at the age of 20, became the majority leader of the state House of Representatives at 27 in 2011. Bettencourt resigned from his position on Sunday when he admitted to falsifying information regarding an internship required for him to graduate this spring from the University of New Hampshire’s Law School.
A legal foundation announced on Monday that it would no longer hire Bettencourt, which it was planning to do once he graduated. On Tuesday, the leaders in the legislature were working swiftly to fill the position left vacant by Bettencourt. The issue came to light when Representative Brandon Giuda offered Bettencourt an11-week internship at his legal practice in southern New Hampshire. Giuda said that Bettencourt appeared for only one day of work.
“He approached me and said he was in trouble, he did not have the credits he needed to graduate,” Giuda said. “He needed to do an externship or an independent study with me.”
Giuda mentioned that he was shocked when Bettencourt announced his pending law school graduation this spring. Giuda decided to confront Bettencourt about his education and Bettencourt admitted to creating fake reports for 11 weeks of the internship that he never attended.
“D.J. gave me a full confession,” Giuda said. “He said he had fabricated all of the reports because he didn’t have the time and he made a lot of excuses.”
A republican from Nashua, Peter Silva, will replace Bettencourt as the New Hampshire House of Representatives majority leader. Silva worked previously as the deputy for Bettencourt. No comments were made by the University of New Hampshire’s law school because violations of the school’s code of conduct are confidential. Bettencourt could be issued a letter of reprimand or could be expelled from the school should the administration find that Bettencourt broke the school’s rules.
The group planning to hire Bettencourt after he graduated was the New Hampshire Legal Rights Foundation. The conservative group issued a statement on Monday regarding the incident involving Bettencourt. The statement said that the claims against Bettencourt were “serious enough that we feel it’s necessary to sever our emerging relationship.”
Last year, when the bishop of the Roman Catholic diocese in New Hampshire criticized the GOP budget cuts to programs that help poor people, Bettencourt posted comments on his Facebook page about the bishop. He called the bishop a ‘pedophile pimp.’