Scott Brown’s Private Sector Life Is Haunting Him

The period between serving in the Senate and running suggests he didn't always have his eye on public office.

Associated Press

Associated Press

There was a period between Scott Brown’s tenure in the Senate and the announcement of his current run during which it seemed unlikely he would return to electoral politics.

Brown had publicly considered, then rejected, the idea of running for several offices. He was perhaps battered from his high-profile campaign against Elizabeth Warren. Plus, there was money to be made outside of office. His electoral prospects never looked dimmer than the day he announced his new role as a contributor to Fox News. He seemed to be a man more interested in using a personal brand to make some money than in returning to office. He also took gigs at the Boston law firm Nixon Peabody and on the board of Kadant Inc., a Westford paper company.

Interpreting Brown’s calculus in making these moves changed a bit when we learned that he’d set his sights on an office in a neighboring state with a very different electorate. Contributing to Fox News isn’t quite the kiss of death in New Hampshire that it might be here in Massachusetts. And yet, the Boston Globe’s report that Brown had accepted 1.5 million shares of stock and a seat on the corporate board of a Florida company with a confusing mission suggests that, New Hampshire or Massachusetts, Brown spent some time last year not thinking like a future political candidate.

His involvement with the company hasn’t played very well this week, in part because its raison d’etre is so hard to parse. According to the Globe, the company began selling beauty supplies in New Hampshire, relocated to California as a data storage firm, then re-relocated to Florida as a firearms maker and gun-technology innovator. The issue seems to be why Brown took so much money in exchange for his advice to a company whose purpose is hard for voters to grasp. The Globe writes:

Brown referred to Global Digital on Wednesday as a “startup … going through transition,” even though it was created 19 years ago. He has declined to say why he joined the board, how he came to know the company’s executives, and what level of scrutiny he gave its business activities.

Brown resigned his position and gave up his stock Wednesday, calling it “distracting,” but his rivals in the Republican primary, not to mention the Democrats, probably aren’t going to stop asking questions about his private sector activities. It seems, more than ever, that Brown is seeing the consequences of having considered a life that didn’t need to be accounted for to the public before turning to his latest office in New Hampshire.