NEW: RI GOP Calls on Speaker to “Give Up Gavel” After BOE Orders Mattiello to Repay $72K to PAC

Wednesday, April 25, 2018


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Speaker Nicholas Mattiello was ordered by the Board of Elections to repay over $72K to a leadership PAC.

The Rhode Island Republican Party is calling on Rhode Island Democratic Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello to "give up the gavel," after the Board of Elections ordered Mattiello to repay $72,067.80, which the BOE says was the amount spent by leadership's PAC above what the state campaign-contribution limits allow to help his re-election campaign in 2016. 

The Board also revealed the involvement of Mattiello’s campaign aides with a Shawna Lawton, which prompted a warning, and their refusal to comply with subpoenas. 

Mattiello won his re-election campaign in 2016 over Republican challenger Steve Frias in mail ballots. 

“I am pleased this issue has been resolved.  I regret that my campaign inadvertently made some mistakes.  I accept the warning from the Board of Elections and will fully repay from my campaign account what is owed to the PAC account," said Mattiello in a statement. "To assure those mistakes are not repeated, right after the 2016 election I hired a CPA with expertise in campaign finance to handle all of the finances.”

GOP on Findings

“Illegal conduct marred Speaker Mattiello’s 2016 re-election campaign. Last night, it was shown that his campaign aides illegally coordinated over the Shawna Lawton endorsement mailer," said RI Republican Party Chairman Brandon Bell. 
"His PAC illegally spent over $72,000 to help to help him get re-elected by 85 mail ballots. This cannot be explained away as a series of honest errors. Mattiello would not be in office today but for this illegal activity. When an elected official breaks the law in order to get re-elected, he needs to leave office," said Bell. 

The Board of Election recommended that as “no direct coordination” could be established between Mattiello and Lawton, and that “since the amount contributed in-kind to Mattiello by Lawton which [exceed] the allowable annual contribution limit was refunded by Mattiello to Lawton…that a warning be issued by the Board to contributor Shawna Lawton against making any further contributions which exceed the allowable annual limits and to recipient Nicholas Mattiello abasing accepting contributions which exceed the allowable annual limits.”

“Speaker Mattiello’s 2016 reelection campaign made history. He ran the most expensive race for a seat in the General Assembly in Rhode Island history, approximately $344,137 once the illegal campaign spending by [his] PAC is included," said Bell. "Mattiello spent just under $100 a vote. Now his campaign must pay what is probably the biggest penalty ever imposed in Rhode Island campaign finance history. Speaker Mattiello should just give up the gavel and become part of Rhode Island history.” 


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