By John Toole
---- — WINDHAM — The New Hampshire Democratic Party says Republicans should cancel plans for an event featuring former Providence mayor Buddy Cianci.
“It is incredibly disappointing that New Hampshire Republicans would even consider holding an event featuring a (convicted) federal criminal,” party spokesman Harrell Kirstein said. “They should cancel it immediately and apologize to law-abiding citizens of New Hampshire.”
Windham GOP chairman Bruce Breton said Wednesday he had invited Cianci to speak to a meeting of the Republican town committee in September.
The date and time have not been set.
Cianci — author, political commentator and, indeed, former federal inmate — plans to discuss his political experiences and his book, “Politics and Pasta.”
Breton, contradicting Kirstein yesterday, said the event is not a fundraiser for the party, but a meeting that is free and open to the public.
“Maybe I should have a fundraiser,” Breton said in responding to Kirstein’s criticism. “Now, I could have a full crowd.”
He estimated he has had 50 or 60 expressions of interest from people who want to attend.
Breton said none of the party’s leaders — Kirstein blasted several, including, repeatedly, U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte — were involved in the invitation.
Breton said he personally decided to invite Cianci after reading the book while he was recovering from an illness.
Cianci, credited with the economic revitalization of Providence during his 21 years as mayor, later was convicted on a federal racketeering charge.
Kirstein wondered why Cianci would be invited, if not to help raise money for the GOP.
“Why, then, are Republicans doing this?” he asked. “So they can get advice on beating the rap from this guy?”
Kirstein said it is shameful Republicans would invite Cianci for any kind of event.
This is indicative of the character of Ayotte’s New Hampshire Republican Party, he said.
“Anything goes and there are no standards of decency,” he said.
Breton said he has no intention of withdrawing the invitation to Cianci — and he expects a healthy crowd.