June 29, 2006

Bill Harsch to File Ethics Complaint Against Patrick Lynch

Carroll Andrew Morse

The Associated Press (via the Projo's 7-to-7 blog) is reporting on Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch’s acceptance of campaign contributions from a lawyer representing the DuPont Corporation at around the time that the lawyer and Lynch were negotiating Dupont's release from any liability in the Rhode Island lead paint trial

Attorney General Patrick Lynch accepted campaign contributions from the chief negotiator for DuPont Co. at the same time he was in talks with the company to drop it from the state's landmark lawsuit against former lead paint companies, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

Attorney Bernard Nash, who represented DuPont, negotiated the deal reached with the state in June 2005 to drop it from the lawsuit in exchange for DuPont donating about $12.5 million to three charities. Campaign documents filed with the state show that both before and after the settlement was reached, Nash contributed at least $1,500 to Lynch's campaign committee...

The deal with DuPont dismissed the company from the lawsuit in exchange for its donations to the Children's Health Forum, a nonprofit group that works to prevent lead poisoning, Brown University Medical School and the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center in Boston.

Nash first made contact with Lynch's office to work out a deal for DuPont in 2003, according to court documents related to the lead paint case. Depositions from January of Lynch and his chief of staff, Leonard Lopes, show Nash was DuPont's primary contact with the Attorney General's Office as the deal was negotiated. The deal was announced June 30, 2005.

Documents filed by Lynch's campaign with the state Board of Elections show Nash gave Lynch donations totaling at least $1,500.

The first, for $500, was on June 30, 2004. On Dec. 20, 2005, Nash gave Lynch's campaign $1,000, the maximum individual political donation allowed in Rhode Island per calendar year.

The executive director of one of the charities whom DuPont agreed to donate to in return for being dropped from the suit also gave a contribution to the Lynch campaign...
According to campaign records, Lynch also accepted a $250 donation from Olivia Morgan, executive director of the Children's Health Forum, which stands to receive millions of dollars from DuPont's deal with the state. Her donation was recorded Dec. 20, 2005, about six months after the settlement was reached.
According to the AP, Bill Harsch intends today to file an ethics complaint concerning the questionable contributions ...
The campaign of Bill Harsch, Lynch's Republican challenger in this year's elections, planned to file a complaint today with the state Ethics Commission, alleging conflict of interest and influence peddling, Harsch told the AP.

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In any other state in the Union, this would cause a HUGE outcry and force Patrick to drop out of the race. But here in Rhode Island I wonder if it will even be in the front SECTION of the ProJo tomorrow...

Posted by: Greg at June 29, 2006 1:45 PM

I agree with the comment above. I hope our inept press really goes to town on this!

Posted by: Grady Shipley at June 29, 2006 2:05 PM

Conflict of interest, what conflict? I know, this makes me so sick. I suspect Bill might have a few things to say about it at tonight's GOP Convention.

Posted by: Will at June 29, 2006 2:05 PM

Lynch's campaign manager dismissed the allegations this afternoon as a political stunt.

"[Harsch's] allegations of an ethics conflict are so absurd and political that we intend to seek an immediate and summary dismissal of his complaint," Lynch campaign manager Andrew Roos said in a statement. "It is wrong for Bill Harsch, on the day after he’s filed his paperwork declaring himself a political candidate, to misuse and politicize the Ethics Commission."

Well, this was expected.

Posted by: Greg at June 29, 2006 3:17 PM

I'm confident that Spiderman will get off with just a stern warning.

Posted by: jd at June 29, 2006 7:20 PM

"With great power comes great opportunities to pad your campaign coffers."

What a sad, pathetic scum of a human being we have upholding the law in this state.

Posted by: Greg at June 29, 2006 7:23 PM


Another Republican headed to an 80 point loss files a frivolous Ethics complaint on the way. Where have I heard this before?

Instead of wasting the state's time with this foolishness, why don't you explain to your own base why only 50% of the Assembly seats are covered, you don't have a candidate for State Treasurer, and the LG's race on your side has been bungled. Until then, take your beatings like men and women without the continual attempts at besmirching the reputations of others. (Celtics Game, Montalbano, et cetera)

It hasn't worked for you yet. It won't work this time. It won't work in the future because the people of Rhode Island can see through it.

Posted by: Bobby Oliveira at June 29, 2006 8:44 PM

No! The people of Rhode Island have been so beaten down by the taxes and antics of the morons on Smith Hill that they don’t expect anything better.

Read Art III Section 7 of the RI Constitution!

This would seem to indicate that the likes of Montalbano, Alves, and Fox et al, would be censured by the General Assembly.

Instead, Montalbano and Paiva Weed don’t even have the intestinal fortitude to censure Alves for bringing an illegal SLAPP suit in an attempt to deny someone their Constitutional Rights.

The Chair of the Senate Finance Cmte is a VP at UBS Paine Webber yet on 21 June 2002, the Projo reported - “Yesterday's deal will also provide $6.3 million in fees to the lawyers, brokerage houses, rating agencies, financial advisers, printers and the like, who were given roles in the deal.
The underwriters, led by UBS Paine Webber Inc. -- and their own lawyers at Tillinghast Licht Perkins Smith & Cohen, in Providence, and Hiscock & Barclay, in New York -- will split the first $4.75 million, in amounts that were still being calculated last night.”

Please explain that one to me!

If you accept this as “good government” heaven help us all!

Funny how it was reported that several members of the General Assembly witnessed an incident last Friday involving Rep Tim Williamson and a Carcieri staffer but not one of them would come forward. Williamson denies anything happened but how does one explain the broken window?

And you trust these people?

I’m not sure if you condone this or just expect it as part of the "normal" course of business!

Thomas Wilson Dorr, where are you when we need you?

Posted by: Aldo Palazzo at June 29, 2006 10:05 PM


Your pontification on all things ethical would carry more weight if you were seen as ethical and virtuous but since you're not your commentary is quite predictable, quite specious and highly entertaining. Bobby you're like a nazi soldier always in lockstep to defend the Third Reich of Rhode Island. Are there any clean Democrats in Rhode Island? Any at all?
Rhode Island being the heavily Democratic state that it is you'd think the Democrats could find a higher grade of individual to run for office. Bobby even you must admit the Democratic party lineup in Rhode Island is woefully embarrassing on so many levels. Patrick Lynch is the guardian of the corrupt and he's our AG. If that doesn't speak volumes on what a joke this state is nothing does.

Posted by: Tim at June 29, 2006 11:19 PM


We do have a GOP candidate for General Treasurer, Andrew Lyons, who also ran in 2002. I gave his seconding speech tonight, but that's besides the point.

The ethics complaint by Mr. Harsch was not frivilous, baseless, or any of the other big words that Pat's big bro Bill told you to use. There's more coming!


Please don't compare the RI Democrats to the the Nazis ... the Third Reich only lasted for twelve years. We're still living under this one. Plus, they were better organized and much better dressers. ;)

Posted by: Will at June 30, 2006 2:07 AM

Whats that sonny?

Grandpa Bill Harsch is gonna hit you with his cane

Posted by: McDouche at June 30, 2006 6:57 AM

Will is right, this ethics complaint is not frivilous. Just look at the campaign finance reports. Those aren't political documents, statements taken out of context, or "spun" by Harsch's campaign. They are black and white, and are only one stop in the trail to follow the money. Simply, if this doesn't warrant going to the ethics commission, what does?

Lynch has said he'll seek a quick dismissal and resolution to this matter. Hopefully that resolution will be his Matt Brown-like departure from the political scene.

While the Attorney General's office may not be as sexy as the Senate race, it has a profound impact on our daily lives. I think it's time that RI take a hard look at Patrick Lynch and Bill Harsch and decide who they want enforcing the law: Harsch, a proven reformer, or Lynch: a political insider and perverbial fox guarding the henhouse

And Will, I think you're right: there IS more to come.

Who knows, this may even have a negative impact on Sheldon (who was the one that originally prosecuted the lead paint case)

Posted by: johnb at June 30, 2006 6:57 AM

Dear Group,

First of all, my apologies to Mr. Lyons. Based on my dislike for all things Caprio, I am happy that I may be able to stray once on my ballot.

Secondly, Bill Harsch is not a reformer. He is a joke with a repulsive personality and will never break 30. If Patrick Lynch was abducted by space aliens, we could run a Bill Irons/John Celona write-in ticket and beat Mr. Harsch.

Thirdly, watch the Nazi references. You might remember they got me in trouble once.

Lastly, if we're so bad on my side, why can't you beat us with a group of just regular folk? If I were one of you, between the continual failures of leadership, the political mistakes of Don Carcieri, one of the worst conventions ever (espeically compared to 2 years ago), and a total disconnect between some of the folks in charge and the every day Rhode Islander, I would have made it a point to leave someone in a pool of their own blood by now.

How do you hard core true conservative believers deal with this insanity? Nebraska has a Democratic Party. It doesn't win much due to the makeup of the population but it competes and doesn't look like the ren and stimpy show come to life.

Posted by: Bobby Oliveira at June 30, 2006 10:06 AM

"How do you hard core true conservative believers deal with this insanity?"

I cry a lot about how incompetent our political leaders are.

Posted by: Greg at June 30, 2006 10:17 AM

The real beauty of the Harsch filing the ethics complaint - which is by no means frivolous - is the timing!

This ethics complaint could well prove to be a cynanide capsule shoved up Patrick Lynch's behind - e.g., could even lead to disbarment - and with the filing deadline passed the Democrats can't bring in a replacement candidate!

Posted by: Tom W at June 30, 2006 11:44 AM

Bobby O,

I am curious to know why you say Harsch isn't a reformer.

He was (sorry fellow conservatives) part of the reform-minded Carter Whitehouse where he developed renewable energy technologies. He took an ineffective PUC and made it work. He put the state's first wind turbine up in Block Island back in the early 80's. He was the first director of the DEM (which is also helped create). He prevented a 6-Flags amusement park from being built on a rural CT town's aquifier. He was involved with the formation of Save the Bay, has worked with OCG, and put together the legislation that created what was then an effective FEMA. How do I know all of this? Visit his website

Oh, and like Ronald Regan, he used to be a democrat...

And as for his personality, I do know Mr. Harsch, and he does not suffer in any way from a "repulsive personality"

Oh, and in the last election, he was the 2nd leading non-Dem vote-getter on the ticket, with close to 40% of the vote.

Posted by: johnb at June 30, 2006 4:25 PM

"How do you hard core true conservative believers deal with this insanity?"

Lots and lots of medication, and constant thoughts of moving to Utah or Alaska ;)

For one thing, the RIGOP is not in a position to pay off its supporters with sweetheart deals, union support, and promises of government largesse to back its candidates.

I am very hopeful that after the coming election, regardless of the outcome, that the RI Republican Party will get more serious about building a true bottom up organization, and at least try to seriously compete with the opposition party, instead of happily settling for the crumbs that the Democrat leadership wish to through our way every once in a while.

Posted by: Will at June 30, 2006 6:46 PM

I just heard that talk radio in Philadelphia has been covering this thing, and even had Lynch on for an interview! So why isn't he saying anything to the press here in Rhode Island? Why aren't ANY of the Dems rushing to his defense!

Is there any doubt that if Lynch were a Republican AG, he would be being dragged up to the general assembly by his ear to face sanctions and to explain the terms and liability of this deal and the contingency fee agreement?

Governor Carcieri, Bob Watson and the rest of the GOP leadership should be demanding answers from Lynch.

This could be bigger than Matt Brown...

Posted by: johnb at July 1, 2006 5:16 PM

I'm no Lynch fan, and it figures that his past corporate lobbying activities might be catching up with him. But I'd take this complaint more seriously if it were coming from somebody other than his opponent in an election.

Posted by: rhody at July 1, 2006 8:20 PM

I'm sorry you feel that way, Rhody...but the AP took it seriously enough. As did just about every major news outlet in the country.

believe me: there's more to this story than meets the eye

Posted by: johnb at July 1, 2006 8:27 PM

Let's hope Harsch can derail the Lynch's-a thuggish, junior-league version of the Kennedy's who would wither away without a state tit to nourish them.

Posted by: Mike at July 2, 2006 9:13 AM

John B, Bill Harsch is an old "has been". All this man does is go negative like a cranky old man. If this Lynch story is all they have Harsch is in rel trouble. No one will vote for this old, old man.

Posted by: Rino Cooke at July 2, 2006 9:25 AM

Psssst. Reach over and wake up Bill Harsch. He's sleeping AGAIN.


Posted by: Vladamir Skunst at July 2, 2006 9:31 AM

Well it looks like the Dems have their talking points in line, and the only thing they can do is label Harsch as old.

nice one, Billy, but Harsch has a heck of alot more respect and ideas than your kid brother patrick does!

take a look at lynch's new website -- with corruption running rampant, Lynch has juvenile crime as the 'centerpiece' of his campaign! meanwhile, gang violence is up since he's been in office and beacon, roger williams, and his old buddy john celona have had to be handled by the feds!

pitiful. but harsch is old and has a ton of experience, so we shouldn't vote for him

Posted by: Armand at July 2, 2006 10:35 AM


Patrick Lynch is making juvenile crime the centerpiece of his campaign? lol
How appropriate given Patrick's maturity level.
Patrick's decision to put a placard outside the AG's office with a quote from Spider-Man made him the laughing stock of law enforcement nationally.
He's yet another classic Rhode Island Democrat, an unimpressive lightweight greatly lacking integrity and ethics.
They all seem to be that way.
What a weak and embarrassing collection we get from the majority party here in Rhode Island.

Posted by: Tim at July 2, 2006 12:34 PM

maybe Lynch's focus on juvenile crime is a proactive attempt at fighting corruption. Maybe he's trying to prevent a new generation of Harwoods, Celonas, Irons, and Urcioulis from growing up and feasting at the public trough.

Oh, and Lynch is also saying that he's been protecting seniors since he's been in office...but it was the Feds (again) who finally cracked down on Giordano not two weeks ago!

Posted by: johnb at July 2, 2006 3:00 PM

maybe Lynch's focus on juvenile crime is a proactive attempt at fighting corruption. Maybe he's trying to prevent a new generation of Harwoods, Celonas, Irons, and Urcioulis from growing up and feasting at the public trough.

Oh, and Lynch is also saying that he's been protecting seniors since he's been in office...but it was the Feds (again) who finally cracked down on Giordano not two weeks ago!

Posted by: johnb at July 2, 2006 3:01 PM

For the record, I actually voted for Harsch the last time, though he ran a disappointingly blah campaign. If he's getting my vote again, he needs to offer me more than simply things about Lynch we already know.

Posted by: Rhody at July 3, 2006 12:21 AM