Ethics Commission


Our Rhody Votes 2016 coverage continues, with a look at Ballot Question 2, the Rhode Island Ethics Commission Amendment. It asks voters whether to restore the Commission’s jurisdiction over General Assembly members. 


The American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island is opposing a move to increase ethics oversight at the state legislature. A ballot measure would restore some powers to the state Ethics Commission.

The Ethics Commission is a body tasked with investigating complaints of corruption, abuse of power, or potential conflicts of interest in state and municipal government.

The state Ethics Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to adopt a moratorium on outside ethics complaints in the 90 days before a general election.

The moratorium is intended to discourage politically motivated complaints, although the commission reserves the right to launch its own investigations or complaints, commission spokesman Jason Gramitt said.

Common Cause of Rhode Island, Operation Clean Government, and the League of Women Voters supported the moratorium, Gramitt said.

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Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

The House and Senate Judiciary Committees on Tuesday unanimously passed a bill that would allow voters to restore state Ethics Commission oversight of state lawmakers.

The state Ethics Commission on Tuesday found probable cause that Don Lally violated the revolving door provisions of the code of ethics when he accepted a state job less than four months after resigning as a state representative in March 2015.

Commission spokesman Jason Gramitt called the finding a preliminary step, since Lally -- barring a settlement -- will face a hearing with the Ethics Commission.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

One week after the resignation of a key lawmaker, House and Senate leaders on Tuesday put their combined support behind a proposal to strengthen the state Ethics Commission and its oversight of the legislature.

With the state Ethics Commission poised to consider likely action on a revolving door complaint against former state Rep. Don Lally, Lally has resigned from his controversial job with the Raimondo administration.

State Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed joins Bonus Q&A this week to discuss charter schools, the outlook on ethics reform, her future plans, promoting green jobs, leadership at the state Board of Elections, and other issues.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

John Marion, executive director of the good government group Common Cause of Rhode Island, joins Political Roundtable this week 

State Representative Daniel Reilly (R-Portsmouth) joins Bonus Q&A to talk about the state's infrastructure, ethics, marijuana legalization, the outlook for electing more GOP lawmakers, and other issues.

Thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As usual, your tips and comments are welcome, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Chris Torres, state director for the Rhode Island Working Families Party, joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss his organization, legislative debate over the state Ethics Commission, and the findings of a new Brown University poll on the presidential race.