December 13, 2006

Sec. State-Elect Mollis Fined for Election Violations

Marc Comtois

Only in Rhode Island, right? That the incoming Secretary of State, Ralph Mollis--you know, the general officer who is responsible for running clean elections--and one of his flunkies have been fined for violating campaign laws is quite an accomplishment, even in the RI political theater in which caricature has become reality.

The Ethics Commission yesterday fined North Providence Mayor A. Ralph Mollis $3,000 for violating the state ethics code during his successful campaign for secretary of state.

The commission also fined John E. Fleming Jr., Mollis’ longtime chief of staff and campaign chairman, $500. Both settlements, negotiated with the commission staff, stemmed from a mailed solicitation for campaign contributions that went to some North Providence town employees...

The charges against Mollis, who takes office in January, and Fleming stemmed from a campaign fundraising mailing in June that went to 1,468 persons, including 132 municipal employees, according to the settlement documents.

After the commission approved the settlement, Mollis said that “I wanted to put this behind me” and not dispute a complaint before the commission while in office.

Mollis said that the mailing was “obviously in violation” of the ethics rules. He said the fundraising letter was read to him before it was mailed. “I said, ‘Great idea — send it,’ ” Mollis said. “I should have known that list included town employees.”

And these are just the violations of the letter of the law. In case you forgot, it was Mollis's name that appeared so prominently on those fake ballot campaign fliers that were handed out (often within 50 feet of) at polling places on election day. Then there was the RIPTA employee who emailed campaign info for Mollis from a RIPTA computer. Or how about the campaign contributions from a known mobster? Or possibly using political connections to intimidate a local business owner to remove a campaign sign supportive of a Mollis political opponent? I think there's a pattern...

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Well, the good news is that the "Vote Early, Vote Often" sign that Ralph ordered will be ready to hang above his door by January.

So now we have a true political scumbag running the elections in this state? Yeah, no wonder we're the laughing stock of the 49 REAL states.

Posted by: Greg at December 13, 2006 8:50 AM

Mollis is the worst of the worst. The Secretary of State race was a joke in November - we had a shake-em-down, mobster-friendly mayor in Mollis running against Sue Stenhouse, who all but admitted she was a Carcieri puppet and sounded like a complete flake any time Dan Yorke put her in front of a microphone. It's too bad de Ramel lost in the primary to Mollis...

Posted by: Jack at December 13, 2006 10:43 AM

Oh man! What a shock! I'm so glad to be working on my state pension gravy boat so I can take it to Florida and pay no taxes back to you chumps stuck up here.

The raw stupidity of Rhode Islanders to vote for this mobbed up bum is almost beyond comprehension. It would be easier to prove the unified field theory than to ever figure out the Rhody voting morons.

Two more elections and you can pay the bill yourselves! My kids are already gone.

Posted by: Ben at December 13, 2006 11:17 AM

As for who succeeds Mollis as my next mayor...I just wish all members of the Mollis and Lombardi factions would pack up and leave town, or at least have the grace to let somebody give my town a fresh start.
When Patrick Kennedy started doing robocalls for Mollis, he lost my vote forever. When Patches goes, he's got a lot of 'splainin' to do to his brother Bobby about giving aid and comfort to mobsters.

Posted by: Rhody at December 13, 2006 3:06 PM

"When Patches goes, he's got a lot of 'splainin' to do to his brother Bobby about giving aid and comfort to mobsters."

How do you figure? The Kennedy money was made because Joe was a mobster running illegal hooch. The fact that the family went into politics was just logical. It allowed them to legally steal and murder.

Posted by: Greg at December 13, 2006 3:26 PM

Sorry Rhody, can't help this...

dontcha mean Patrick's "UNCLE" Bobby?

Posted by: Marc Comtois at December 13, 2006 4:47 PM

The "flake" could have been as flaky as she wanted; she would have implemented a long overdue voter i.d. requirement and that's all that matters.

As Marc enumerated, Mollis is a walking crime wave. It's good the Ethics Comm did a token something. But when you look at his campaign finance reports, it's page after page, year after year, of contributions by employees of North Providence. Long before the fundraising letter that got him in this spot of trouble, Mollis and his bagman had clearly gotten the word out, a la Buddy C, that if you wanted to be hired by the city, there was only one qualification.

It's amazing. Mollis has so obviously been eager for higher office. But anything to do with ethics or standards or integrity seems to escape him.

Posted by: SusanD at December 13, 2006 10:16 PM

Walking crime wave...I like that one!

Posted by: Jack at December 14, 2006 3:10 AM

Marc, I stand corrected.
Greg, given Bobby's prosecution of mobsters as AG, Patrick's support of Mollis is an embarassment.

Posted by: rhody at December 14, 2006 11:37 AM

"Mollis is a walking crime wave"

Mollis for Governor in 2010!
Don't let the General Assembly run the State! Let the mob run it, like the old days! Like my boss says - these ARE the old days!
That way my wife won't have to plead with me to move to Florida, I'll gladly go!

Posted by: Jake at December 15, 2006 12:12 AM

I bet Mollis tries to run for General Treasurer when Caprio runs for Gov in 2010. If not I bet DeRamel runs against him again for SOS and with more recognition and after more Mollis scandals come to light he knock Molis off. Watch One term Mollis if he even makes it through one!

Posted by: oppie at December 20, 2006 9:38 PM
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