State Drops Unregistered Lobbying Cases Over 38 Studios; Gorbea Proposes Tougher Sanctions

May 13, 2015

Gorbea, center, with Corrente and lobbyist Greg Mancini.
Credit Ian Donnis / RIPR

The state has dropped unregistered lobbying cases against two of the figures linked to the failed video game maker 38 Studios. Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea is backing legislation that she said will clarify and strengthen the rules on lobbying.

Former Secretary of State Ralph Mollis last year ordered two figures linked to 38 Studios, Michael Corso and Thomas Zaccagnino, to file retroactive lobbying reports or to face fines. Gobea, the current secretary of state, hired lawyer Robert Corrente to review the matter. Corrente says he found the cases were unlikely to hold up in court, due to flaws in Rhode Island’s lobbying laws.

"Accordingly, we determined that it made little sense to spend taxpayer dollars on protracted litigation that was unlikely to accomplish any meaningful result," Corrente said. "To that end, we have vacated these existing orders in both cases."

The state has also closed an examination into whether 38 Studios owner Curt Schilling took part in unregisted lobbying.

Gorbea says her lobbying bill includes stiffer penalties for future lobbying violations.