Ethics Commission

Ian Donnis / RIPR

H. Philip West Jr. served as the executive director of Common Cause of Rhode Island for almost 20 years before stepping down in 2006. His tenure coincided with corruption in Governor Edward DiPrete’s administration, the state banking crisis, and high-profile battles over the Ethics Commission. West has turned his two decades observing Ocean State politics into a 684-page book called “Secrets and Scandals.” Rhode Island Public Radio Reporter Ian Donnis sat down with West to discuss the book and how much Rhode Island has changed.

John Bender / RIPR

Former delegates to the 1986 Constitutional Convention are speaking out against the event Rhode Islanders will vote on November 4th. 

1986 was the last time the state held a Constitutional Convention.  The state can hold one once every ten years, pending voter approval.  Delegates are elected to the convention which creates legislation then voted on by the public; bypassing the general assembly.  Critics say the delegates can be easily swayed by special interest groups, because they are not seeking reelection.  Tom Izzo was a delegate in 1986.

Richard Licht Judgeship Vote Expected For Tuesday

Jun 10, 2014

The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote this Tuesday on a top state official’s nomination to be a Superior Court judge.  Richard Licht currently heads the state Department of Administration.

Governor Lincoln Chafee nominated Licht for the judicial post last month. If confirmed, Licht will take the place of retired Superior Court judge Judith Savage and earn close to 150-thousand dollars a year.

State Representative Michael Marcello (D-Scituate) joins Bonus Q+A to talk about his fight for the speakership with Nicholas Mattiello and a host of other issues, including guns, ethics, the budget outlook, and more.

Happy April, happy opening week of baseball, and thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As always, your tips and feedback are always welcome, and you can follow me through the week via the twitters. Let's head in.

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and guest panelist Erika Niedowski of The Associated Press join Bonus Q+A this week to discuss changes in the RI House; the proposed pension settlement; whether the House should vote on a proposal to restore state Ethics Commission oversight of the General Assembly; and much more.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Common Cause of Rhode Island is giving qualified support to a new proposal introduced by state Senator James Sheehan (D-North Kingtown) to restore state Ethics Commission oversight of the General Assembly.

John Marion, executive director of Common Cause of Rhode Island, joins Bonus Q+A this week to discuss improved technology in the General Assembly; the impact of super PACs in Rhode Island; the outlook for strengthening the state Ethics Commission; and many other issues.

Back in 2007, Gordon Fox said he didn't think his public office had been beneficial to his private law practice. The statement has some unintentional irony in the present, considering how Fox faces a state Ethics Commission investigation for not disclosing legal work done from 2005 to 2009 for the Providence Economic Development Partnership.

The state Ethics Commission on Tuesday decided to investigate a complaint filed against House Speaker Gordon Fox. The question is whether Fox needed to disclose legal work done for the City of Providence.

Jason Gramitt, a staff attorney for the Ethics Commission, calls the step taken by the commission "preliminary. The commission only looks at the complaint and decides whether or not it should authorize an investigation, and so that's all they've done. They didn't offer any opinion as to whether the complaint is a good complaint or a bad complaint."

Common Cause of RI executive director John Marion joins us on Bonus Q+A to discuss the General Assembly, selecting judges in Rhode Island, the evolving world of campaign finance, the 2014 vote on a constitutional convention, and other topics.

State Senator Stephen Archambault (D-Smithfield) joins us to talk about the outlook on same-sex marriage; the effectiveness of the General Assembly; whether the master lever should be abolished; and whether Ethics Commission oversight of lawmakers should be restored, among other issues.

RI House of Representatives
Catherine Welch / RIPR

A good government group has created a web site to protest what it calls the unprecedented wiping out of a legislative vote.

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