Local Rhode Island politicians rack up election fines

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July 26, 2011

PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island: It has been reported by GoLocalProv that a review of the state Board of Elections records shows that twenty local candidates for local and state offices have accumulated more than $800,000 in election related fines. The main reason for the fines for the candidates is that they either did not file their campaign finance reports or they filed it after the due date. Former State Senate candidate Patrick McDonald tops the list of fines owed to the state, John Celona takes the second position. Once the review was completed, most were surprised at how much was owed to the Board. Though the money owed from the fines would not go to the Elections Board but rather would go into the State's general fund.

The filing of these campaign reports is important for public transparency in elections, showing where candidates acquired their funds helps ensure public confidence in election costs. The fact that the board of Elections has not been following up with candidates to file their reports begs the question of why the Board is not doing its job as watchdog. Most local and State races do not have credible opponents so the Board is left with the duty to ensure candidates have legitimate campaign finance sources. Some candidates noted that they were unaware of the late fees or that they needed to file their reports by a certain time or that even if they did not raise money they still needed to file reports. Most candidates who were asked about their fees stated they would rectify the situation as soon as possible.[1]


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