Gorbea requests Investigation into possible Lobby Law Violation

Today, Democratic candidate for Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea’s campaign delivered a letter to Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis requesting an investigation into possible lobbying law violations by lobbyist Ray Rickman for failing to disclose a loan he made to then-House Majority Leader Gordon Fox.

The letter states:

“Dear Secretary Mollis:

I am writing to recommend that you conduct an investigation into possible lobbying law violations by lobbyist Ray Rickman, pursuant to your authority in RI General Laws 22-10-10 (7).

On June 26, the Associated Press and the Providence Journal reported that former Deputy Secretary of State Ray Rickman admitted that he loaned then-House Majority Leader Gordon Fox an undisclosed amount of money in 2009 when Mr. Rickman was a registered lobbyist. The articles state that the loan came to light in disclosure statements that Representative Fox filed last week with the state Ethics Commission. The loan was described as “in excess of $1,000,” and was listed in Representative Fox’s 2013 financial disclosure statement as well as amendments to documents that he submitted in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

An online review of the LobbyTracker website of Mr. Rickman’s 2009, 2011 and 2012 lobbyist reports filed with the Secretary of State’s office fail to show any loan provided to then Majority Leader Gordon Fox.

This is a violation of state lobbying law. RI General Laws 22-10-9(c) requires lobbyists to report “anything of value” provided to elected officials, in excess of $250, including loans.

As a concerned citizen and as a candidate for Secretary of State I am dedicated to making Rhode Island government transparent and accountable to the public. Violations of our state’s lobbying statutes need to be addressed swiftly if we are to restore the faith of Rhode Islanders in our government.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.”

Gorbea’s campaign called on her opponent in the Secretary of State Democratic primary, Guillaume de Ramel, to join her in calling for an investigation into Mr. Rickman’s possible lobbying law violation. In recent days, Gorbea’s campaign has expressed disappointment that her opponent has refused to renounce Mr. Rickman’s endorsement of his campaign. Mr. de Ramel announced Mr. Rickman’s endorsement just last week, at an event hosted by Mr. Rickman for Mr. de Ramel.

Nellie Gorbea is a former Deputy Secretary of State and the first Hispanic woman on Rhode Island’s statewide ballot.