With less than two weeks until Election Day, Republican Brendan Doherty’s campaign is criticizing Democratic Congressman David Cicilline for having accepted what it says is about $12,000 in campaign contributions from people connected to strip bars and other adult entertainment businesses. Cicilline’s campaign calls the criticism “a new low” and a distraction from the bread-and-butter issues facing struggling Rhode Islanders.
The charges come as both candidates have made an aggressive push for women voters. Like other Democrats, Cicilline has argued that GOP policies are anti-women. Doherty has fired back by pointing to his efforts to protect women during a long state police career.
From a Doherty news release:
“Congressman Cicilline’s attempt to gain politically from the proceeds of these operations demonstrates not only tremendously poor judgment but also his blatant hypocrisy each time he claims to ‘fight for women,’ ” observed Ian Prior, Doherty Campaign Manager. “These contributions again underscore the difference in character between Brendan Doherty and David Cicilline. While Doherty fought to outlaw underage girls from being hired as strippers, to enact a tough anti-human trafficking law and to close the loophole in Rhode Island law that prevented law enforcement from prosecuting indoor prostitution, Cicilline was fueling his political campaigns with the profits of the sex industry for his own political benefit.”
Doherty’s campaign cites these contributions to Cicilline:
Prior pointed to a $1,000 contribution in 2003 from Hyon Suk Bivians, former manager of the Midori Spa in Providence. “Cicilline took a contribution from the manager of a reputed house of prostitution that has been a target of the Providence Police Department. And there are other examples of Cicilline pocketing campaign contributions from the local sex industry:
• Frank and David DeLuca owners of the now-closed Sportsman Inn, also a reputed den of prostitution over the years, contributed $7,400 to Cicilline, as recently as 2010.
• Richard Shappy, owner of the Cadillac Lounge and Satin Doll strip clubs has contributed $1,650 to Cicilline;
• Chalres Tapalian, who owns Cheaters, a Providence topless bar, donated $500 to Cicilline;
• Thomas Tsoumas, managing partner of the Foxy Lady, a Providence strip club, donated $1,000 to Cicilline.
Asked for a response, Cicilline’s campaign manager, Eric Hyers offered this statement:
“Seriously? Every day the Doherty campaign sinks to a new low.
David will continue talking about 58,643 RI’ers out of work, 51,727 RI’ers whose mortgages are underwater and jump-starting our economy.
We have no doubt Doherty will continue to do whatever he can to district voters from his commitment to keep right-wing Republicans in power and allow them to privatize Social Security and Medicare, repeal Obamacare, and give more tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas.”