Statement of Common Cause Rhode Island on charges against former Representative Raymond Gallison
It has happened again. With today’s plea agreement with former State Representative Raymond Gallison, Rhode Island has seen its third lawmaker arrested or charged in as many weeks. Common Cause Rhode Island is grateful that state and federal law enforcement have taken political corruption seriously. While important steps have been taken in recent years, including restoring the jurisdiction of the state’s Ethics Commission over lawmakers, more needs to be done to restore public trust in our legislature. That’s why Common Cause is calling on the state Board of Elections and state Ethics Commission to take immediate action.
Common Cause sent a letter today to the Board of Elections requesting an audit of campaign accounts of all members of the General Assembly. To restore the public’s faith that our lawmakers are not using their campaign accounts as personal piggybanks, the Board of Elections needs to issue a report reconciling the public filings of all legislators with their most recent bank statements.
Common Cause also sent a letter to the Rhode Island Ethics Commission requesting an audit of the financial disclosure statements of all members of the General Assembly. To restore the public’s faith that members of the Assembly are not using their public office to benefit themselves, or businesses or non-profits with whom they are connected, the Ethics Commission needs to issue a public report verifying the accuracy of the most recent financial disclosure filings.
“Rhode Island can no longer afford to wait for law enforcement to step in and clean up the mess after the public trust has been betrayed,” says John Marion, Common Cause Rhode Island executive director. “The people of Rhode Island deserve to know that legislators are obeying the law before it rises to a criminal offense.”