March 1, 2018

Rep. Michael Morin at (401) 265-0910


Rep. Morin introduces campaign finance reform legislation; bill would increase reporting requirements


STATE HOUSE — Rep. Michael Morin (D-Dist. 49, Woonsocket) has introduced legislation that would tighten the requirements of public officials for campaign contribution and expenditure reporting.

The legislation (2018-H 7722) would also provide for forfeiture of campaign contributions upon a conviction or plea of nolo contendere to specified felony crimes relating to public office.

“Any candidate who is convicted of a felony involving bribes, embezzlement, extortion or theft of public funds or campaign money should have to relinquish their right to campaign funds,” said Representative Morin, who introduced the legislation at the behest of the governor’s office. “This legislation will give judges the power to do just that.”

Under the proposal, judges would be empowered to order that the money be used to pay campaign debts, pay back contributors or revert to the general fund.

“It is imperative that we revisit the topic of campaign finance reform regularly,” said Representative Morin. “It’s the single most important ethical issue when it comes to public office.”

The bill also contains a provision declaring that candidates would be disqualified from serving in public office if they have any unpaid fines, fees, penalties or overdue campaign reports. It would also create a restricted receipt account for all fines, penalties, and  judgements collected by the Board of Elections that would be used to support the board’s auditing, compliance, and enforcement activities.

The legislation, which is cosponsored by Representatives Mary Duffy Messier (D-Dist. 62, Pawtucket), Stephen M. Casey (D-Dist. 50, Woonsocket), Robert D. Phillips (D-Dist. 51, Woonsocket, Cumberland) and Joseph J. Solomon Jr. (D-Dist. 22, Warwick), has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.






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