State Rep Candidate Accused of Campaign Finance Violation
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Amy Rice, the Democratic incumbent from Portsmouth, filed a complaint against her Republican challenger with the state Board of Elections on Thursday. Rice said Reilly failed to report at least $10,000 in advertising expenses when he first ran against her in 2008 for the District 72 seat, which encompasses Portsmouth, Middleton, and Newport. She narrowly beat Reilly with 51 percent of the vote to his 48 percent.
At the time, Reilly was a 19-year-old student at Providence College. Now he is a senior at the school. Rice is an attorney based in Portsmouth and serves as the vice chair for the House Judiciary Committee.
In her complaint, Rice said Reilly did not disclose several major expenses: a roughly $3,000 billboard, three color mailings at approximately $2,400 each, and a low-budget television commercial, which she estimated to have cost $3,000. A GoLocalProv review of his campaign finance reports confirmed the expenses were not listed.
“Why didn’t he report it? Where did the money come from? It’s not right,” Rice told GoLocalProv. “I suspect his daddy paid for it and he doesn’t think he needs to follow the rules like everybody else.”
Reilly’s father, William Reilly, William Reilly is listed as the top delinquent taxpayer in Rhode Island, owing $1.2 million to Rhode Island, according to the Division of Taxation. And the family’s financial troubles don’t stop there: Dan Reilly’s 105 Heidi Drive home in Portsmouth—which he has part ownership in through an investment company—went through foreclosure last spring. Reilly said he still lives there as a tenant.
Reilly told GoLocalProv last night that the omitted information was an honest mistake. He said used his own money to pay for the advertising expenses and reported it as a loan in his finance reports. “What I didn’t do, in error, was … itemize the actual expenses,” Reilly said. “I had thought since they came out of my pocket I didn’t need to list the expenses.”
As for family money, his father contributed just $500 to his 2008 campaign, according to state records.
Candidate Faces Fines
The maximum fine for failing to follow the state campaign finance law is $100 per violation, according to Ric Thornton, the director of campaign finance for the Board of Elections. If a candidate makes a correction to a report that affects the total amount of contributions or expenditures by $500—or 10 percent of the total—the report is treated as a new document, causing the candidate to face late fees. The fine for a late report is $25, plus $2 per each date that it is late.
Reilly said he would file an amended report on Monday and is expecting to face about $750 in total fines.
As for his family’s financial issues, Reilly said his father earned the income in Florida and therefore does not owe taxes to Rhode Island. His father currently is fighting the issue in the state Supreme Court. He said his home was foreclosed because of the impact of the recession on his investment company, Beachview Associates. “Cash dried up. It was a really bad economic environment,” Reilly said. “We got caught in a downturn.”