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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Follow the money

By Steve Ahlquist in Rhode Island’s Future



Despite the NRA paying a record fine for making illegal campaign donations to Rhode Island politicians, to date, not one current office holder in the state has seen fit to return the money.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) was fined by the RI Board of Elections for funneling illegal donations to RI politicians, including House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and Senate President M Teresa Paiva-Weed

One estimate puts the total amount of contributions at over $160,000, over a 10 year period from 2004 to 2014. 

Due to the detective work of Sam Bell, executive director of the Rhode Island Progressive Democrats of America, the NRA was fined $63,000 and the NRA’s Rhode Island PAC was formally dissolved.

Technically, any money received by any candidate in Rhode Island that comes from theNRA Political Victory Fund PAC before January 2014 was illegal. 

That doesn’t mean that it’s a crime to keep the money after the fact, and it’s likely that the politicians did not know that the campaign donations were illegal before Bell made his case.

That said, the bottom line is that the money these politicians accepted from the NRA is tainted, and the influence this money has on our General Assembly can be felt acutely when observing the legislature in action.

Are you still wondering why our General Assembly can’t seem to pass common sense gun control legislation?

Between 2004 and 2014, House Speaker Nick Mattiello received $2,975 from the NRA. All these donations appear to be illegal, tainted contributions. The Speaker has kept every penny. Seventeen other representatives have also taken thousands of dollars.

Joseph McNamara is the head of the RI Democratic Party, the same party whose national platform calls for banning assault weapons and strengthening gun laws to prevent violence. McNamara accepted $700 in illegal NRA contributions over the years.

During the same 10 year period, Senate President M Teresa Paiva-Weed has accepted, and kept, what appears to be $6,075 in illegal contributions from the NRA. 

Seventeen other senators took illegal NRA cash, including Senate Majority Leader Domenic Ruggerio, who raked in $3350 and Senate Judiciary Chair Michael McCaffrey, whose committee handles every bill about guns that comes to the Senate, to the tune of $3500.

Rep Jan Malik, who was recently challenged by his primary opponent Jason Knight to return his illegal donations, took $1075. On the last day of the most recent legislative session, Rep Malik voted for a House bill that would have made it easier to get concealed carry permits in RI before changing his vote after the fact.

I went through the campaign finance reports available here, and carefully made a list of all incumbents who have accepted NRA money between 2004 and 2014.

Here’s the list:

In addition to Representatives and Senators, Attorney General Peter Kilmartin has accepted $1150 in illegal donations.

Attorney General KILMARTIN, PETER F    03/30/2004    $200.00
Attorney General KILMARTIN, PETER F    03/07/2006    $250.00
Attorney General KILMARTIN, PETER F    04/27/2007    $200.00
Attorney General KILMARTIN, PETER F    12/31/2009    $200.00
Attorney General KILMARTIN, PETER F    03/04/2009    $300.00

Former Speaker of the House, William Murphy, now a lobbyist, raked in a series of illegal NRA contributions. He now rakes in even more as a lobbyist for gun interests.
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Lobbyist MURPHY, WILLIAM J    02/05/2004    $500.00
Lobbyist MURPHY, WILLIAM J    02/05/2004    $500.00
Lobbyist MURPHY, WILLIAM J    04/14/2006    $350.00
Lobbyist MURPHY, WILLIAM J    04/27/2007    $1,000.00
Lobbyist MURPHY, WILLIAM J    03/31/2005    $875.00
Lobbyist MURPHY, WILLIAM J    02/22/2009    $1,000.00
Lobbyist MURPHY, WILLIAM J    01/31/2008    $1,000.00

Representative    MATTIELLO, NICHOLAS    11/05/2006    $250.00
Representative    MATTIELLO, NICHOLAS    04/27/2007    $150.00
Representative    MATTIELLO, NICHOLAS    04/01/2008    $150.00
Representative    MATTIELLO, NICHOLAS    07/06/2010    $450.00
Representative    MATTIELLO, NICHOLAS    04/04/2011    $450.00
Representative    MATTIELLO, NICHOLAS    06/06/2012    $450.00
Representative    MATTIELLO, NICHOLAS    02/13/2013    $800.00
Representative    MATTIELLO, NICHOLAS    05/28/2009    $225.00

Representative    CARNEVALE, JOHN M    06/05/2010    $200.00
Representative    CARNEVALE, JOHN M    04/12/2011    $200.00

Representative    CHIPPENDALE, MICHAEL W    10/15/2012    $500.00

Representative    CORVESE, ARTHUR J    05/08/2004    $300.00
Representative    CORVESE, ARTHUR J    05/16/2005    $300.00
Representative    CORVESE, ARTHUR J    07/11/2006    $300.00

Representative    COSTA, DOREEN MARIE    10/15/2012    $500.00

Representative    DESIMONE, JOHN J    07/08/2004    $150.00

Representative    FELLELA, DEBORAH A    08/20/2006    $250.00
Representative    FELLELA, DEBORAH A    04/27/2007    $100.00
Representative    FELLELA, DEBORAH A    01/12/2010    $150.00
Representative    FELLELA, DEBORAH A    04/12/2011    $200.00

Representative    JACQUARD, ROBERT B    07/19/2004    $300.00
Representative    JACQUARD, ROBERT B    10/20/2004    $500.00
Representative    JACQUARD, ROBERT B    10/12/2006    $350.00
Representative    JACQUARD, ROBERT B    04/12/2011    $200.00

Representative    KENNEDY, BRIAN PATRICK    07/19/2004    $400.00
Representative    KENNEDY, BRIAN PATRICK    08/02/2006    $400.00
Representative    KENNEDY, BRIAN PATRICK    06/11/2009    $400.00
Representative    KENNEDY, BRIAN PATRICK    06/05/2010    $375.00
Representative    KENNEDY, BRIAN PATRICK    04/12/2011    $375.00

Representative    LIMA, CHARLENE        04/06/2004    $300.00

Representative    MACBETH, KAREN        11/01/2009    $100.00
Representative    MACBETH, KAREN        05/27/2010    $200.00
Representative    MACBETH, KAREN        12/08/2011    $200.00

Representative    MALIK, JAN        08/18/2004    $200.00
Representative    MALIK, JAN        11/19/2004    $250.00
Representative    MALIK, JAN        06/29/2005    $225.00
Representative    MALIK, JAN        09/06/2006    $300.00
Representative    MALIK, JAN        06/05/2010    $300.00

Representative    MCNAMARA, JOSEPH    05/26/2004    $200.00
Representative    MCNAMARA, JOSEPH    05/25/2005    $300.00
Representative    MCNAMARA, JOSEPH    06/16/2011    $200.00

Representative    MELO, HELIO        03/10/2010    $225.00
Representative    MELO, HELIO        04/12/2011    $200.00

Representative    NEWBERRY, BRIAN C    11/03/2006    $300.00
Representative    NEWBERRY, BRIAN C    05/29/2009    $150.00
Representative    NEWBERRY, BRIAN C    02/24/2010    $150.00
Representative    NEWBERRY, BRIAN C    06/29/2011    $200.00
Representative    NEWBERRY, BRIAN C    04/15/2013    $250.00

Representative    TRILLO, JOSEPH A    04/02/2004    $100.00
Representative    TRILLO, JOSEPH A    04/05/2004    $500.00
Representative    TRILLO, JOSEPH A    04/06/2004    $200.00
Representative    TRILLO, JOSEPH A    04/07/2004    $100.00
Representative    TRILLO, JOSEPH A    04/22/2004    $150.00
Representative    TRILLO, JOSEPH A    06/29/2005    $200.00
Representative    TRILLO, JOSEPH A    06/15/2006    $300.00
Representative    TRILLO, JOSEPH A    07/24/2007    $300.00
Representative    TRILLO, JOSEPH A    05/17/2008    $300.00
Representative    TRILLO, JOSEPH A    05/29/2009    $300.00
Representative    TRILLO, JOSEPH A    06/05/2010    $300.00
Representative    TRILLO, JOSEPH A    04/12/2011    $200.00

Representative    UCCI, STEPHEN R        11/19/2004    $500.00
Representative    UCCI, STEPHEN R        08/21/2006    $250.00
Representative    UCCI, STEPHEN R        11/02/2006    $200.00
Representative    UCCI, STEPHEN R        07/27/2007    $300.00
Representative    UCCI, STEPHEN R        06/29/2009    $200.00
Representative    UCCI, STEPHEN R        06/29/2009    $200.00
Representative    UCCI, STEPHEN R        06/25/2011    $200.00
Representative    UCCI, STEPHEN R        06/15/2010    $200.00

Representative    WINFIELD, THOMAS J    08/22/2004    $200.00
Representative    WINFIELD, THOMAS J    06/15/2006    $200.00
Representative    WINFIELD, THOMAS J    11/06/2006    $90.00
Representative    WINFIELD, THOMAS J    08/10/2007    $225.00

Senator    PAIVA WEED, M TERESA    02/24/2011    $1,000.00
Senator    PAIVA WEED, M TERESA    02/02/2012    $1,000.00
Senator    PAIVA WEED, M TERESA    08/12/2013    $800.00
Senator    PAIVA WEED, M TERESA    04/22/2004    $375.00
Senator    PAIVA WEED, M TERESA    05/14/2007    $500.00
Senator    PAIVA WEED, M TERESA    05/17/2008    $400.00
Senator    PAIVA WEED, M TERESA    02/11/2009    $1,000.00
Senator    PAIVA WEED, M TERESA    02/24/2010    $1,000.00

Senator    CICCONE III, FRANK A    07/10/2004    $150.00
Senator    CICCONE III, FRANK A    05/25/2005    $225.00
Senator    CICCONE III, FRANK A    06/21/2006    $300.00
Senator    CICCONE III, FRANK A    11/03/2006    $300.00
Senator    CICCONE III, FRANK A    05/07/2007    $300.00
Senator    CICCONE III, FRANK A    04/15/2008    $300.00
Senator    CICCONE III, FRANK A    06/03/2009    $300.00
Senator    CICCONE III, FRANK A    06/12/2010    $300.00
Senator    CICCONE III, FRANK A    06/21/2013    $400.00

Senator    COTE, MARC A        03/23/2004    $200.00
Senator    COTE, MARC A        05/16/2005    $200.00
Senator    COTE, MARC A        06/15/2006    $200.00
Senator    COTE, MARC A        04/16/2008    $200.00
Senator    COTE, MARC A        04/06/2010    $200.00

Senator    DAPONTE, DANIEL        02/24/2010    $200.00
Senator    DAPONTE, DANIEL        04/12/2011    $200.00

Senator    DOYLE II, JAMES E    06/17/2006    $150.00
Senator    DOYLE II, JAMES E    03/31/2008    $300.00

Senator    FELAG JR, WALTER S    07/04/2004    $200.00
Senator    FELAG JR, WALTER S    09/01/2006    $300.00
Senator    FELAG JR, WALTER S    06/15/2008    $300.00
Senator    FELAG JR, WALTER S    03/03/2010    $300.00
Senator    FELAG JR, WALTER S    04/12/2011    $300.00

Senator    FOGARTY, PAUL W        05/13/2004    $100.00
Senator    FOGARTY, PAUL W        07/01/2005    $150.00
Senator    FOGARTY, PAUL W        09/21/2007    $150.00
Senator    FOGARTY, PAUL W        01/10/2008    $150.00
Senator    FOGARTY, PAUL W        06/11/2009    $200.00

Senator    GALLO, HANNA M        06/01/2004    $150.00
Senator    GALLO, HANNA M        05/24/2005    $150.00
Senator    GALLO, HANNA M        05/17/2008    $150.00
Senator    GALLO, HANNA M        08/05/2009    $200.00
Senator    GALLO, HANNA M        04/28/2011    $200.00
Senator    GALLO, HANNA M        04/12/2011    $200.00

Senator    GOODWIN, MARYELLEN    08/16/2004    $150.00
Senator    GOODWIN, MARYELLEN    07/09/2010    $200.00
Senator    GOODWIN, MARYELLEN    05/13/2011    $200.00

Senator    LYNCH PRATA, ERIN P    06/08/2009    $200.00
Senator    LYNCH PRATA, ERIN P    06/10/2010    $200.00
Senator    LYNCH PRATA, ERIN P    04/12/2011    $200.00

Senator    MCCAFFREY, MICHAEL J    07/21/2004    $500.00
Senator    MCCAFFREY, MICHAEL J    07/21/2005    $750.00
Senator    MCCAFFREY, MICHAEL J    08/06/2006    $750.00
Senator    MCCAFFREY, MICHAEL J    08/07/2007    $750.00
Senator    MCCAFFREY, MICHAEL J    06/24/2008    $750.00
Senator    MCCAFFREY, MICHAEL J    06/05/2009    $750.00
Senator    MCCAFFREY, MICHAEL J    06/15/2010    $750.00
Senator    MCCAFFREY, MICHAEL J    05/20/2011    $750.00
Senator    MCCAFFREY, MICHAEL J    06/28/2013    $400.00

Senator    PICARD, ROGER A        07/19/2004    $200.00
Senator    PICARD, ROGER A        08/03/2005    $200.00
Senator    PICARD, ROGER A        05/15/2006    $250.00
Senator    PICARD, ROGER A        06/20/2009    $300.00
Senator    PICARD, ROGER A        06/12/2010    $150.00

Senator    RAPTAKIS, LEONIDAS P    05/10/2006    $300.00
Senator    RAPTAKIS, LEONIDAS P    07/24/2007    $300.00
Senator    RAPTAKIS, LEONIDAS P    06/30/2008    $300.00
Senator    RAPTAKIS, LEONIDAS P    02/26/2013    $250.00
Senator    RAPTAKIS, LEONIDAS P    07/19/2004    $300.00

Senator    RUGGERIO, DOMINICK J    05/19/2004    $300.00
Senator    RUGGERIO, DOMINICK J    05/25/2005    $300.00
Senator    RUGGERIO, DOMINICK J    05/10/2006    $300.00
Senator    RUGGERIO, DOMINICK J    04/27/2007    $300.00
Senator    RUGGERIO, DOMINICK J    05/17/2008    $300.00
Senator    RUGGERIO, DOMINICK J    02/21/2013    $500.00
Senator    RUGGERIO, DOMINICK J    05/29/2009    $300.00
Senator    RUGGERIO, DOMINICK J    02/24/2011    $450.00
Senator    RUGGERIO, DOMINICK J    02/08/2012    $500.00

Senator    SERPA, PATRICIA A    07/01/2009    $150.00
Senator    SERPA, PATRICIA A    06/05/2010    $150.00
Senator    SERPA, PATRICIA A    07/18/2011    $200.00
Senator    SERPA, PATRICIA A    03/30/2013    $250.00

Senator    SHEEHAN, JAMES C    05/04/2004    $150.00
Senator    SHEEHAN, JAMES C    07/08/2005    $150.00
Senator    SHEEHAN, JAMES C    07/24/2007    $100.00

Senator    SOSNOWSKI, V SUSAN    07/28/2004    $200.00
Senator    SOSNOWSKI, V SUSAN    10/18/2004    $100.00
Senator    SOSNOWSKI, V SUSAN    04/08/2008    $200.00
Senator    SOSNOWSKI, V SUSAN    03/02/2010    $200.00
Senator    SOSNOWSKI, V SUSAN    06/16/2011    $200.00

Senator    WALASKA, WILLIAM A    04/26/2004    $300.00
Senator    WALASKA, WILLIAM A    04/05/2005    $300.00
Senator    WALASKA, WILLIAM A    09/01/2006    $300.00
Senator    WALASKA, WILLIAM A    05/02/2007    $300.00
Senator    WALASKA, WILLIAM A    05/17/2008    $300.00
Senator    WALASKA, WILLIAM A    06/07/2009    $300.00
Senator    WALASKA, WILLIAM A    06/05/2010    $300.00
Senator    WALASKA, WILLIAM A    04/12/2011    $300.00

RI HOUSE DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP COMMITTEE    04/29/2004    $300.00

RI HOUSE DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP COMMITTEE    09/15/2005    $300.00

RI HOUSE DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP COMMITTEE    04/06/2006    $200.00

SENATE DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP COMMITTEE      04/21/2004    $625.00

SENATE DEMOCRATS 2004 PAC             08/16/2004    $600.00

Steve Ahlquist is an award-winning journalist, writer, artist and founding member of the Humanists of Rhode Island, a non-profit group dedicated to reason, compassion, optimism, courage and action. The views expressed are his own and not necessarily those of any organization of which he is a member. atomicsteve@gmail.com and Twitter: @SteveAhlquist