2020 News & Press
According to recent news reports, former Vice President Joe Biden omitted Speaker Nicholas Mattiello from his list of endorsements by Rhode Island public officials. Furthermore, Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon, and a U.S. Senatorial candidate, returned a campaign donation from her colleague Speaker Mattiello. These public rejections of Speaker Mattiello’s support came after (1) Jeff Britt, Mattiello’s campaign consultant, was indicated for money laundering; and (2) Mattiello became the potential target of a grand jury investigation for an illegal audit of the Convention Center Authority.
R.I. Republican Party Chairman Sue Cienki commented: “While Democrats at the national level reject Speaker Mattiello’s support, Rhode Island House Democrats still continue to support Mattiello as Speaker. Some House Democrats may support the Mattiello because he has essentially bought them. Speaker Mattiello and his PAC has donated a total of $195,150 to the campaigns of current House Democrats, of which $185,400 has been donated since Mattiello became Speaker. These totals do not include Mattiello’s donations to former House Democrats like Ray Gallison, John Carnevale, Cale Keable and Lisa Tomasso. Some House Democrats are so dependent on Mattiello to finance their campaigns that their campaign accounts would be in the red but for the donations they received from Mattiello and his PAC.”
Barbara Holmes, Chair of the Rhode Island Republican Conservative Caucus, today threw her organization's support firmly behind the work of the #NoTCITax Coalition. The Coalition is a caucus of non-profits and think tanks in 12 US States and the District of Columbia which have organized to oppose a regional interstate compact known as the Transportation and Climate Initiative. "This TCI sham has been eagerly embraced by Governor Raimondo." Holmes said in a prepared statement. "In doing so our Governor has usurped the taxing authority of the Legislature and ignored the economic plight of Rhode Islanders." She concluded.
TCI is an interstate agreement which commits state governments to creating a joint fund to support 'Green Energy' projects in the region. The money is slated to come from administrative fees levied on wholesalers of petroleum motor fuels. As this additional overhead is passed along to consumers it will have the effect of a per gallon increase at the gas pump of between 5 and 17 cents. TCI proponents claim the projects funded in this way will result in a lower carbon footprint for the northeast sector of the US.
Recent news reports indicate that a state grand jury has issued subpoenas to the Convention Center Authority in relation to the illegal audit ordered by House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello. As a result, over the last three months, federal and state grand juries have issued subpoenas related to: (1) Jeff Britt’s money laundering activities in support of the Matteillo campaign; (2) taxpayer funds provided to Dr. Victor Pedro by Mattiello; and (3) an illegal audit ordered by Mattiello, allegedly in retaliation for the Convention Center’s treatment of his friend Jim Demers.
Earlier today, House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello withdrew his request for an audit of the Rhode Island Convention Center. The announcement came on the heels of a suit filed by House Republican Leader Blake Filippi alleging Speaker Mattiello of an abuse of power by ordering an illegal audit of the Rhode Island Convention Center after a friend of Mattiello was suspended by the Center.
Rhode Island Republican Party Chairman Sue Cienki commented “I applaud Leader Filippi’s efforts in this matter. It takes courage and conviction to hold the powerful accountable for their misdeeds, and he showed both of these qualities today.” Cienki concluded “Rhode Islanders are tired of the corruption and cronyism that have plagued our state for decades. Today showed that strong leadership and a will to do what’s right can combat these elements and give hope to our community for the future.”
According to a recent WPRI news report, a performance audit of the Convention Center Authority was ordered by Frank Montanaro Jr, the executive director of the Joint Committee on Legislative Services (JCLS), soon after James Demers, a friend, constituent and donor of House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, was put on administrative leave at his job at the Convention Center Authority. A performance audit of a quasi-public agency has not been performed by the Auditor General in about a decade. The JCLS has not met for many years and other members of the JCLS appear not to have been consulted on the audit.