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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Did Tina Jackson violate the state ethics law, too?

At least she’s consistent
By Will Collette

Tina Jackson emerged as a political player in Charlestown last year when she ran as a Republican in an attempt to unseat Rep. Donna Walsh, Charlestown’s most popular elected official. 

Jackson lost by a huge margin, probably enlarged by the Westerly Sun’s exposé of her extensive criminal past, a record that she had apparently not revealed to state Republican chair Mark Zaccaria who recruited her to run against Donna.

But that criminal record and crushing election defeat did not deter Zaccaria from giving Jackson another mission – this time to reorganize the CharlestownRepublican Town Committee.

Yep, she was gonna fix them even though the town Republicans did not ask for help, nor did they need it, since they organized themselves as required under Rhode Island law. Some might call that a "coup" attempt.

The misadventures don’t stop there.

And now there’s another one: Jackson has violated the Rhode Island Ethics Act by failing to file the disclosure statement that is required from every candidate for elected office in the state. By contrast, all of the Democratic, CCA and independent candidates for elected office filed their reports, but Jackson has consistently ignored the requirements of the law.

On March 7th, I filed a formal complaint against Jackson with the RI Ethics Commission stating the simple facts that (a) Jackson was required by law to file, (b) did not file and, (c) compounding the offense, her campaign is still listed as “active” in the Board of Elections’ database.

The criminal penalties under R.I. Gen. Laws § 36-14-19 are as follows:

“Any person who knowingly and willfully violates the provisions of this chapter shall, in addition to the civil penalties[1] provided herein, be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) and/or imprisonment for no longer than one (1) year.”

Jackson is no stranger to breaking the law and facing these types of penalties. This is a Helluva record on which to base a political career.

[1] Those civil penalties could include fines of up to $25,000 depending on the severity of the offense.