By TIM SANDLER CONCORD, N.H. (UPI) _ Lawrence Guay, a $100-a-year state legislator f

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By TIM SANDLER CONCORD, N.H. (UPI) _ Lawrence Guay, a $100-a-year state legislator from the North Country, returned a changed man from an anti-communism conference in Washington sponsored by the political arm of the Unification Church. The group, Causa International, has sent New Hampshire legislators on all-expense-paid trips across the country for years. Last week, at least one state representative attended a similar four-day conference in Miami sponsored by the group. All-expense-paid trips are not new to New Hampshire elected officials. Last month, Rep. Robert Cushing, D-Seabrook, took a guest trip to South America. Former Senate President Vesta Roy accepted an invitation to Saudi Arabia last spring. Other legislators have accepted trips to countries including Germany, Japan, Israel and Norway. None of the legislators paid their own expenses. Even though no state funds are involved, the trips hold a built-in paradox: Should legislators who accept expensive trips be held accountable for them if they were invited because of their government positions? Rep. Donna Sytek, R-Salem, acknowledges the dilemma. She returned in January from two weeks in South Africa. The trip was paid for by the South African Forum, which calls the trips purely educational. "I don't know why anybody cares if there is no state money involved," Sytek says. But at the same time, she adds, "It certainly is their (voters') business if we're going in an official capacity." The new version of the financial disclosure law for elected officials, enacted last Wednesday, has minimal provisions holding legislators accountable for such trips. The form requires a legislator to state the source of the gift, the address of the donor, its estimated value, and the date it was received. Critics, however, contend the law leaves the door open for abuse by groups using the trips as high-financed lobbying efforts. Sytek's trip, for example, could be construed as an attempt to influence her opinion on state divestment from South Africa. The issue was before legislators in 1986. As the law stands, Secretary of State William Gardner says the free trips should be listed by legislators as "gifts" if the invitation was prompted by the official's position. "It will at least provide information to the electorate that they can judge from when they make their decisions on who to vote for in the future," he says. Claire Ebel, director of the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union, says that information may not be enough for voters to understand the purpose of the trip. She says the law should be extended to include more information about the organizations giving the gifts to dissuade gift givers from using front groups to influence legislators. "For example, most people in New Hampshire would not think of Causa as being anything alarming," says Ebel. "But the Unification Church is known ... by a great many people and would illicit just that response. "It's important that the information on the forms inform, not cloud. The idea of financial disclosure is to open the process to the average citizen," says Ebel. Steve Hassen, a former assistant director of the Unification Church headquarters in Washington, says the Causa conferences indeed have a hidden agenda. He calls them veiled attempts by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon to gain legitimacy for his church by promoting one popular belief _ anti-communism _ without mentioning his more controversial stances. Since the late 1970s the U.S. government has closely watched Moon, a self-proclaimed prophet who has been accused of brainwashing followers. Moon spent part of 1985 in federal prison for tax evasion. Hassen says he was "deprogrammed" from the church 10 years ago and is now a Boston psychoanalyst and a consultant to the Cult Awareness Network. After hearing of a similar conference in Washington attended by at least seven New Hampshire legislators last December, Hassen warned of unwitting duplicity on the part of the legisaltors. "The legislators should know better than anyone that there is no free lunch," says Hassen. "When people do these things they want something in return. Moon's plans now are to try to get access to leaders, get their pictures shaking hands with leaders, and getting roads into any type of institution they can." Guay, a Gorham Democrat, disputes Hassen's allegations. Guay was on the invitational committee of the Miami Causa conference and attended a similar conference in Washington last year. qxD The conferences are nothing more than a means of educating leaders about the strategic tactics of communist countries, says Guay. "If you understand how the communists take control of other countries you can spot the infiltration," says Guay. "If we (as representatives) see anything wrong, we can bring it out in the public so they can see it." Whether or not such trips benefit a legislator's constituents or have the intentions Hassen alleges for Causa is up for debate. Regardless, says Ebel, legislators need to be careful. "Public officials as a group need to be concerned not only about the propriety of an action, but the appearance of propriety. The appearance is as important as the reality of any situation for a public official," says Ebel. Meantime, Ebel says it is in a legislator's best interest to detail such trips in an open letter to constituents to avoid allegations of misconduct. "It's very important that they make public what they learned," says Ebel. "After all, they conduct the people's business, not their own."


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