2019 NEWS & PRESS

Senate Republicans Call for Proper Funding of Veterans Services

The Senate Republican caucus renews their calls to restore sufficient funding to Rhode Island veterans after serious complaints surfaced regarding service cuts at the Rhode Island Veterans Home in Bristol.

“What is happening at the veterans home is unacceptable,” said Senate Minority Leader Dennis L. Algiere, (R-Westerly, Charlestown, South Kingstown). “Veterans at the home who previously received care in the form of physical and occupational therapy at no additional cost will now be required to pay a copay for those services or travel to the Providence V.A. for therapy.”

“We fought very hard to stop this hasty cut from happening during the budget vote in June,” said Senator Jessica de la Cruz, (R-Burrillville, Glocester, North Smithfield), “I proposed a responsible amendment to increase our investment in our veteran population, but it was defeated.”

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DEMOCRATS SHOULD HAND OVER DIRTY DONATIONS

According to recent news reports, Michael Barlow, a Twin River senior vice president of operations, has been indicted for accepting bribes and committing various others crimes through his employment at Twin River. Mr. Barlow is a regular donor to top State House Democrats. Mr. Barlow has donated $1,500 to House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, $1,000 to the R.I. Senate Democrats PAC, $500 to Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, and $1,000 to Governor Gina Raimondo.

Rhode Island Republican Party Chairwoman Sue Cienki commented: "Speaker Mattiello, Governor Raimondo, Senate President Ruggerio and his Senate PAC should immediately hand over Mr. Barlow’s donations to charity. The public deserves to know that donations from an indicted gambling executive will not in any way influence what happens to pending legislation which would impact Twin River.”


FRIAS ON AWARDING MEDICAL MARIJUANA LICENSES BY LOTTERY

In an opinion column, entitled “Making money off marijuana” published this week in the Cranston Herald, Warwick Beacon and Johnston Sunrise, R.I. Republican National Committeeman Steven Frias expresses support for issuing the six new medical marijuana dispensary licenses through a lottery.

Here are some excerpts:

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To City & Town Chairs, Volunteers Needed! (Follow Up)

Hopefully you received our email yesterday regarding the recall vote in Tiverton. Tiverton needs our help and we are hoping individuals from your committees can help.

This is also a great opportunity to have individuals in your committees trained in; phone banking, Advantage (the RNC provided database program for campaigning), mail ballot strategies and field organizing.

If you could please rally your committee to help in this cause it will give us great momentum as we head into 2020. At your earliest convenience, please have volunteers RSVP to Sue Cienki (chair@ri.gop) for our kick-off meeting Tuesday, November 5th from 7PM to 8PM at RI GOP HQ (1800 Post Road, Suite 17-I, Warwick, RI).

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FRIAS: IGT DEAL IS BAD ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

In an opinion column, entitled “Paying Too Much for IGT’s Jobs” published this week in the Cranston Herald, Warwick Beacon and Johnston Sunrise, R.I. Republican National Committeeman Steven Frias argues that the IGT no-bid deal is bad economic development policy because Rhode Island is paying a subsidy of least $14 million annually to pay for about 1,000 IGT jobs which only generate about $8.1 million in direct tax revenues.

Here is an excerpt:

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THERE SHOULD BE CONSEQUENCES FOR SMILEY AND RAIMONDO

Today, we learned that Governor Gina Raimondo’s Chief of Staff Brett Smiley allegedly threatened Marc Cristafulli of Twin River with consequences if they, Rhode Island’s casino vendor, opposed Raimondo’s billion-dollar no-bid deal with IGT. Meanwhile, the Ethics Commission is currently investigating Governor Raimondo for engaging in conduct to benefit her business associate at the Democratic Governors Association, Donald Sweitzer, a lobbyist for and possible shareholder of IGT.

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TOP MATTIELLO AIDE INDICTED ON FELONY AND MISDEMEANOR CHARGES

Today, Jeff Britt, a top Mattiello campaign operative, was indicted for felony and misdemeanor charges by a grand jury in relation to a mailer supporting House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello in the 2016 election in which he defeated Steven Frias by 85 votes.

R.I. Republican Party Chairperson Sue Cienki stated: “We are pleased that the Attorney General investigated this matter and a grand jury issued indictments against Jeff Britt. It’s now clear that the Speaker’s 2016 election victory was assisted by criminal behavior. As this is sadly just the latest scandal to swirl around the Speaker and more sure to come, I think it’s incumbent on him to resign his position as Speaker of the House and State Representative.” Cienki concluded "I applaud the efforts of the Attorney General's office, the Board of Elections and the RI State Police in this matter."


LOOKING INTO MATTIELLO’S DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF

Last week, it was revealed that grand juries were investigating House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello’s campaign and Doctor Pedro, a chiropractor who received $1.88 million largely through the efforts of Frank Montanaro Jr., and Speaker Mattiello. This week a WPRI news report showed that Grant Pilkington, Mattiello’s Deputy Chief of Staff, is a shareholder in American Standard Hemp. In addition, William Farrell, a state house lobbyist, serves as this company’s chief officer while the company’s legal counsel is Matthew Jerzyk, who was involved in the illegal Shawnagate mailer. Previously, Mr. Pilkington was a beneficiary of some of the $72,067 illegally spent by Mattiello from his PAC. Lastly, this past year the Rhode Island House of Representatives enacted legislation through the budget this year which affected the hemp industry.

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GRAND JURY COMMENCES INVESTIGATION INTO MATTIELLO CAMPAIGN

Yesterday, it was reported that Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha has impaneled a grand jury relating to a political mailer in the 2016 campaign between Mattiello and Republican opponent Steve Frias.

“We are pleased that the Attorney General has commenced a grand jury investigation into the illegal activities of House Speaker Mattiello’s campaign in 2016” said RI GOP Chairman Sue Cienki. “We hope the grand jury investigation ends the cover up.”

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HOUSE REPUBLICANS CALL FOR INDEPENDENT STUDY ON IGT CONTRACT EXTENSION AND TWIN RIVER COUNTER PROPOSAL

Today, House Republican Finance Committee members called for an independent study on the proposed IGT 20-year contract extension and the competing proposal from Twin River, Camelot, and Intralot.

“Given that the presentations by the Raimondo Administration and IGT differ in material aspects from that offered by Twin River, it is imperative that we take an informed and strategic approach to secure the best deal for Rhode Island taxpayers,” said Blake A. Filippi, House Republican Leader. “While we have a talented House Finance Committee and fiscal staff, we are not technology contracting experts, and must seek outside expert help to get this right. We must not gamble with our third largest source of state revenue.”

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