House Finance Chairman Ray Gallison is set to resign as a state representative Tuesday as he faces a law enforcement probe, RIPR has learned.
Gallison, of Bristol, has served in the House since first winning election in 2000. When Nicholas Mattiello won the speakership in 2014, following the fall of Gordon Fox, Mattiello picked Gallison as his Finance chairman. (Fox resigned the speakership after a state-federal raid on his home and Statehouse office; he remains in prison after being convicted of corruption.)
According to WJAR-TV (Channel 10), at least part of the investigation of Gallison involves prostitution.
Jim Martin, spokesman for US Attorney Peter Neronha, declined comment on the news involving Gallison. State Police Colonel Steven O'Donnell also declined comment.
Gallison succeeded Helio Melo of East Providence, who had been part of a different faction vying for the speakership, as Finance chairman.
Word of Gallison's predicament spread Monday, as the House heightens its focus on the budget proposed by Governor Gina Raimondo.
Mattiello has scheduled a caucus for 3:45 pm Tuesday, so lawmakers can formally learn of Gallison's resignation. House spokesman Larry Berman declined comment on the matter, beyond confirming the caucus.
The probe involving Gallison represents another perceptual hit for the General Assembly, following periodic legal problems for lawmakers, including Fox, in recent years.
During a lunchtime meeting with reporters, Governor Gina Raimondo acknowledged as much. She declined to say if she'd been briefed by law enforcement, referring questions to Colonel O'Donnell. Raimondo added: "Let’s see what the actual details and allegations are, but look, anytime there is anything like this, it’s unacceptable and it’s disappointing. And the challenge will be for the speaker, the Senate president and I to work together and stay focused and do the people’s work."
State Rep. Marvin Abney (D-Newport) is considered a potential successor to Gallison as Finance chairman.
In 2007, Gallison paid $6,000 to settle a state Ethics Commission complaint, in a case involving a failure to disclose his employment with Alternative Education Programming, which got some state funding, in ethics filings.
This post has been updated.