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NEW: Hodgson Blasts Kilmartin For No Bid Legal Contracts to State Legislator

Monday, September 29, 2014

 

Rhode Island State Senator Dawson Hodgson blasted Attorney General Peter Kilmartin for awarding tens of thousands of dollars in no-bid state legal contracts to a sitting state legislator.

Kilmartin’s awarded $47,000 in legal work to State Senator William Conley. Review of public information on the transparency portal reveals an additional $21,000 in payments this year to Dylan Conley, the Senator’s son and an attorney in the senator’s firm.

“It is highly unfortunate to see our Attorney General, the state’s chief law enforcement official, enticing a violation of the ethics code with his own conduct” said Senator Hodgson, candidate for Attorney General. “He has put my Senate colleague at risk, and perpetuated our state’s ‘I-know-a-guy’ reputation. This is no different than the ethics charges in the beach contract scandal that landed Representative Palumbo before the Ethics Commission, and triggered the resignation of Democratic Party Chairman David Caprio. The incumbent’s lack of engagement in Ethics matters and apparent ignorance of the law is inexcusable for someone in his position.”

“I’m hesitant to compare this to the beach contract scandal. This is much worse. Under Rhode Island law, the Attorney General has the authority to investigate and litigate civil violations of the Ethics Code, as well as criminal prosecution for any willful violations of the code.”**

“That our Attorney General is himself enticing violation of a law he’s charged with enforcing makes this a problem he is incapable of solving himself. Analysis of any civil or criminal liability must include consideration of conspiracy or aiding and abetting theories. As the official who actually handed out the contract, the Attorney General is subject to a conflict of interest that prevents him from fairly investigating and rendering a legal determination in these matters.”

“The only appropriate course of action for the Attorney General is to self-report this violation to the Ethics Commission, and appoint an Independent Counsel to represent the state’s interests in the process.”

“Laws are only as effective as the people who enforce them” said Hodgson. “As Attorney General I will exercise the office’s standing to make sure our Ethics code is enforced, as part of a multi-disciplinary approach to public integrity issues and policing our political culture. We have to fix Rhode Island’s reputation for the state to succeed.”

 

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