State Rep. Accuses Opponent of Violating Federal Law
Friday, September 28, 2012
Outgoing Democratic State Rep. Jon Brien is accusing the man he lost to in last week’s Democratic primary of violating federal law and being ineligible to hold elected office.
In a complaint filed Thursday, Brien accused Stephen Casey of violating the Hatch Act, which prohibits those who are paid with, or have control over, federal funds from running for office. Brien claims Casey, a Woonsocket firefighter, is subject to the law because the department received $300,000 in federal funds for training purposes earlier this year.
Brien says he first learned his opponent may be in violation of the Hatch Act this week when former State Senator Lou Raptakis received a letter from the Office of Special Counsel confirming that his opponent in last week’s Democratic primary, Dave Gorman, would have been ineligible to serve. Raptakis won his primary so no action was needed.
The difference, however, is that Gorman serves as acting-chief of the Coventry Fire Department while Casey is a line firefighter. Casey said he does not control any federal money and dismissed Brien as a write-in candidate simply trying to keep his name in the news.
“I’m not surprised that things are going on,” Casey said. “I’m sure if this falls off, he’ll have something else.”
House Speaker Gordon Fox’s spokesman Larry Berman said Fox is supporting Casey the race and suggested the Democratic nominee is not in violation of any federal law because he is a “rank-and-file” firefighter.
“There is a long history of public service employee including firefighters, police officers and teachers serving in the General Assembly,” Berman said.
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