RI Campaign Update – Raptakis Asks Mollis to Come Clean on North Providence
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
North Providence corruption and the race for Secretary of State. Allegations of election law violations. The first televised Providence mayoral debate. A run-in between the governor of Rhode Island and his possible successor… and much, much more. Here, at a glance, is the day’s news from the campaign trail.
State Senator Lou Raptakis is challenging incumbent and Democratic primary opponent Ralph Mollis to tell the public what he knows about the corruption scandal in North Providence. Raptakis said three indicted North Providence ex-councilmen—Joseph Burchfield, Raymond Douglas III and John Zambarano—have all donated to Mollis’ campaign for re-election. Yesterday, the three men pled not guilty to additional charges of extortion and bribery.
“As Rhode Island’s chief election official, the Secretary of State should be above reproach but he is in the middle of this scandal and refusing to return the tainted money he received from his friends,” Raptakis said. “While Secretary Mollis seems committed to remaining loyal to his indicted cronies, he seems to have forgotten his obligations as a public official to the people of Rhode Island.”
The alleged violation involves a campaign mailer in which the Cicilline campaign and Brown University logos appear side by side, according to the Gemma campaign. Under the Brown logo are the words, “Paid for by The Cicilline Committee.” The headline of the mailer asks “Can you believe there’s only one Brown alum in the entire U.S. Congress?”
The mailer, which is geared toward alumni, asks them to support the election of another alum to Congress. Cicilline is a ’83 graduate of the school.
“I will not permit David Cicilline to lie to or otherwise mislead voters,” Gemma added. “This offensive attempt to imply that Brown University would endorse his candidacy tells us all we need to know about the character of a man who is not fit to serve in the United States Congress.”
Even though he had been told beforehand he was not invited, independent candidate for governor Lincoln Chafee showed up at a meeting of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation yesterday and presented Gov. Don Carcieri with a letter, claiming the notice for the meeting was in violation of the open meetings law.
“I have serious reservations about the notice for today’s meeting. It appears that the item to enter executive session is defective. As such, it is very possible that any action taken at that executive session will later be contested in the courts,” Chafee said in the letter.
“I believe that you have a responsibility as Chair to place my request to address the Board on the agenda, not to summarily deny it,” Chafee added. “I urge you to schedule a new meeting at which I and other members of the public will be free to speak about this important issue.”
Segal Calls on Cicilline to Return Corporate Money
Congressional candidate David Segal yesterday renewed his call for his First District primary opponent, Providence Mayor David Cicilline, to return money he has received from corporate political action committees, or PACs.
He said that Cicilline has accepted $5,000 from the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers PAC, which he said had “weaken[ed] health care reform” by opposing the public option. He also faulted Cicilline for taking money from a coal and nuclear company, Dominican Resources—which Segal said flied in the face of Cicilline’s pro-environment stance.
“Additionally, Cicilline has taken contributions totaling at least $6,800 from the principles and employees of the Procaccianti Group - the same corporation that recently unilaterally chopped wages and benefits of the working people at the Westin Hotel and subcontracted out scores of jobs, and opposes pro-worker ordinance pending before the city council,” Segal added “How can we trust Cicilline to stand with the workers?”
Caprio TV Ads Start Airing Thursday
Democratic candidate for governor Frank Caprio is launching his first series of television ads this Thursday—finally tapping the $1.7 million campaign war chest he has amassed over the course of his campaign. The ad will focus on his efforts to work with the small business community to create jobs.
Televised Debate Tonight for Mayoral Candidates
Candidates for Providence mayor will meet tonight for their first televised debate, which will air on Channel 12 from 7 to 8 p.m. The debate, which will be anchored by Karen Adams and moderated by Tim White, will be held at the Providence Performing Arts Center. Click here for tickets.
The University of Rhode Island chapter of the American Association of University Professors endorsed Bill Lynch for Congress yesterday, his campaign announced.
“Bill Lynch was the obvious choice for our endorsement,” said Dr. Frank R. Annunziato, executive director of URI-AAUP. “He is a passionate advocate for higher education and a champion of working Rhode Islanders. He is the strong leader Rhode Island needs in Washington.”
Robitaille Blames Caprio, Chafee Policies for Hampering Economic Recovery
Republican gubernatorial candidate John Robitaille said July’s unemployment numbers—which showed a slight dip from 12 percent to 11.9 percent—showed that the economy is still not improving.
He warned that the economic policies of the two leading candidates for governor would continue to hold the state’s economy back.
“As these numbers indicate, the Democrats’ reckless spending spree and vast expansion of the federal government has simply failed to create the much needed jobs in our state,” Robitaille said. “Come Election Day, I am confident that Rhode Island voters will reject the failed economic policies of President Obama, Linc Chafee, and Frank Caprio, as voters come out in droves to support my pro-growth, limited government policies. It’s time for tough decisions, as well as fair and affordable solutions, not more of the same.”