Don Roach: Gemma Looks to Expose Cicilline
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
A few weeks ago, I wondered aloud when or if Gemma was going to go negative on David Cicilline. Well, enter today’s announcement from Gemma claiming Cicilline participated in voter fraud. Last week Gemma released a statement which in part stated, “Mr. Gemma will also discuss how investigating voter fraud revealed other potential criminal actions by David Cicilline and his associates.”
First and foremost, you never want politicians bandying about accusations like this without the facts to back it up. It would be reckless and irresponsible. I have and will continue to be a critic of Cicilline, but there’s a significant difference between calling the former mayor out for his financial missteps in Providence and alleging criminal voter fraud. A big difference.
Nonetheless, Gemma is looking to expose Cicilline’s involvement in voter fraud today. Well, I decided to do some digging to see if there has ever been a link between Cicilline and voter fraud. There’s not a lot there. A story back in 2007 involving Delores Rodriguez-Laflamme and Soraya Santiago claimed the two had sold fake ID’s to illegal immigrants. Rodriguez-Laflamme had previously campaigned for Cicilline and was well known within the Latino community. A thin link and so I kept searching…and searching…and searching. I could not find anything else of significance linking the mayor directly to voter fraud.
However, it’s no secret that former mayor Cicilline supported the disgraced political activist organization, ACORN, as far back as 2002. ACORN fell from grace late last decade as they were exposed for having committed numerous acts of voter fraud. This link might be a bit more substantive, but it doesn’t prove anything other than the former mayor congregated with people who committed fraudulent acts. If we were all defined by the company we keep, many of us would find ourselves in a number of “bad neighborhoods”. Still, it gives us something to consider and you have to wonder if Gemma found a link between ACORN voter fraud and Cicilline.
Still, there was not much in the way of Cicilline being linked to voter fraud other than Gemma’s announcement from last week. I have to admit that I’m intrigued by this development but if I were a betting man, I’d put a significant amount of money on this blowing up in Gemma’s face. I mean why would Gemma be able to pull off what law enforcement agencies have not done? Will Gemma, called out for faking Facebook friendships, be the one who can take down the Cicilline machine? I just don’t see it.
And if this backfires, think of the goodwill Cicilline gains through the exposure. He’ll become the embattled martyr fighting for workers and seniors. His team will spin this until the cows come home and all the way to November. If this backfires, it could have ripple effects when Cicilline faces Doherty in the fall as the electorate will be focused on the false accusations against Cicilline rather than the real accusations that he pimped out Providence’s Rainy Day fund in order to win his race in 2010.
Perhaps I’m being overly paranoid and perhaps I’m not giving Gemma enough credit. No, I don’t think so. Instead, I think Gemma will put forth a dog and pony show that will tell us nothing, reveal some very weak links between the former mayor and voter fraud, and expose Gemma as a political dunce. Who knows, but we’ll find out soon enough.
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