New law redirects campaign fund restitution


STATE HOUSE – Candidates who embezzle their campaign funds will no longer be able to pay their restitution to their own campaign accounts under a new law sponsored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairwoman Cynthia A. Coyne and Rep. Leonela Felix.

Their legislation (2021-S 0193, 2021-H 6454), which was passed by the General Assembly July 1 and recently signed into law by the governor, instead directs the restitution to be deposited into the Rhode Island Crime Victim Compensation Program Fund, which assists crime victims with expenses related to putting their lives back together after a violent crime.

“Abusing campaign funds is a crime against all those who put their trust and their own money toward helping a candidate with their election. Allowing the perpetrator to pay his or her own campaign back is restitution only in the technical sense, and doesn’t serve as a deterrent. Sending those funds the Rhode Island Crime Victim Compensation Fund instead is better way to prevent the money from going back into the perpetrator’s control, while also serving to benefit victims. This is a more appropriate and constructive consequence for a serious crime,” said Chairwoman Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence).

Said Representative Felix (D-Dist. 61, Pawtucket), “We need greater transparency and accountability at all levels of our public systems. Our democracy will not work if the public cannot trust elected officials to act ethically and responsibly. This legislation finally closes a loophole that allowed individuals who violated that trust to avoid the real consequences of their crime. Real restitution involves repairing our community, and that is what this important legislation is designed to do. We cannot tolerate elected officials who threaten the public’s trust.”




Ninety-three-percent of coronavirus cases in the U.S. are linked to the Delta variant. That's according to the latest numbers from the CDC which looked at the last two weeks of July. However, the Delta strain accounts for 98-percent of the infections when looking at the region where states like Iowa and Kansas are located.       A new report shows fewer jobs were added in the U.S. than expected. Payroll processing firm ADP says 330-thousand positions were added last month, which is much fewer than the 650-thousand jobs analysts were expecting. The ADP figures come ahead of the jobs report that'll be released by the federal government on Friday.       Attorneys for former President Trump are attempting to block the release of Trump's tax records to a U.S. House committee. A motion was filed with a federal court after the Justice Department gave the go-ahead for the Treasury Department to release the documents. Trump's lawyers claim there isn't a legitimate reason for Congress to access them.       A majority of New Yorkers want Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign. That's according to the results of a Marist survey which shows 59-percent of New Yorkers feel that way. Meantime, the poll results also say 32-percent think the governor should serve out the rest of his term.       There's a new service that will help out folks in trouble. Citizen, an app that notifies users about crimes and emergencies in their area, is rolling out a new service that will call 911 for those who need help. It will set users back about 20-dollars.       Guests at the upcoming Met Gala in New York must show proof they're fully vaccinated against COVID and wear masks. This follows news that all New York Fashion Week shows next month will require COVID shots too. The gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, called "America: A Lexicon of Fashion," will be held on September 13th.