Two bills meant to discourage the misuse of campaign accounts have cleared an initial hurdle at the General Assembly. Efforts to restore the state Ethics Commission’s oversight of the legislature continue to languish.
Legislative committees have passed a bill requiring candidates to have a separate bank account for their campaign money. Another bill would make public officeholders file an annual bank statement to back up the information in their campaign spending reports.
The State Supreme Court has disbarred former house Speaker Gordon Fox. Fox recently pleaded guilty to several counts of public corruption.
Fox acknowledged that he would lose his license to practice law when he accepted a plea deal for the corruption charges. In March he pleaded guilty to charges of misspent campaign funds, and accepting a bribe for 52-thousand dollars.
In addition to losing his license and house seat, state education officials rescinded his honorary degree from his Alma Mater Rhode Island College.
Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza has filed a petition requesting that the city licensing board declare that all licenses held by the Shark Bar & Grille on Thayer Street near Brown University be declared void.
The mayor’s reasoning comes as no surprise because owners of the Shark paid a $52,000 in bribe in 2008 to former House Speaker Gordon Fox, who at the time was vice-chair of the Providence Board of Licenses. After the bribe was paid, the Shark obtained a liquor license despite opposition from East Side residents and Brown officials.
Common Cause of Rhode Island executive director John Marion joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss the fight for reform after guilty pleas last week by former House speaker Gordon Fox; Governor Gina Raimondo's first budget; and Ken Block's study on the cost of fire services in RI.