Erik Wallin’s Anti-Corruption Plan, Part 2
During yesterday’s campaign event where Rhode Island Attorney General candidate Erik Wallin unveiled his anti-corruption legislative package, I had the opportunity to ask the candidate about the importance of the law versus the surrounding political culture when it comes to fighting public corruption…
Erik Wallin: “It is important for the people to understand, and part of the process is educating the people, about the costs of public corruption to them…“Here is part 2 of the list of specific proposals being offered by Mr. Wallin to deal with the problem of corruption in Rhode Island…
- EW: “We will also suspend from public office any individual who is in fact under indictment for charges of public corruption…”
45-4-19. Suspension from office during indictment and loss of office by conviction — (a) any “Public official” or “public employee” as defined in 36-14-2(4), 36-14-2(9), 36-14-2(10) except for those general officers and general assembly members elected pursuant to Articles VII, VII and IX of the Rhode Island Constitution, may, during any period such official or employee is under indictment for misconduct in such office or employment or for misconduct in any elective or appointive public office, trust or employment at any time held by him, be suspended by the appointing authority, whether or not such appointment was subject to approval in any manner.
(Extra: I asked Mr. Wallin about the specific application of his proposal to the councilmen in North Providence. His answer was that “under my legislation…they would have been automatically suspended from their elected positions…“)
- EW: “I will establish on day one of my administration a public corruption task force within the office of Attorney General…“
42-9-2.1 — Public Corruption Task Force — (a) There shall be established within the department of attorney general a division of public corruption known as the Public Corruption Task Force the purpose of which shall be to investigate and prosecute all state and local employees and elected officials as defined in 36-14-2(4), 36-14-2(9), 36-14-2(10), 36-14-2(14), and 36-14-2(1) in conjunction with the Office of Investigations as defined in 42-9-8.1, and/or any federal, state, or municipal law enforcement agency of matters determined by the attorney general to potentially be a violation of 11-7.1 (public corruption) and 11-7 (bribery).
(b) Composition — the Public Corruption Task Force shall be comprised of, but not limited to, the following:
(1) three (3) prosecutors each with greater than seven (7) years prosecutorial experience;
(2) one (1) forensic auditor;
(3) any other department of attorney general employee determined to be necessary for the purpose of the Public Corruption Task Force, including, but not limited to, the Office of Investigations as defined in 42-9-8.1.
- EW: Cites the situation in Central Falls and current Attorney General Patrick Lynch as an example of the need for a new special prosecutor law in RI…
…and lays out a new process for the appointment of a special prosecutor, when the AGs office is conflicted.
42-9.2-3. Appointment of a Special Prosecutor. — If an occasion arises with respect to the conduct or alleged conduct of any person that would call for an investigation and/or prosecution by the Attorney General, and the Attorney General believes that he or she, or anyone in the Attorney General’s department, has an actual or perceived conflict of interest because of an actual or perceived relationship, past or present, with such person, or with any person or entity associated with such person, the Attorney General may recuse himself by written notice to the Panel as defined in 42-9.2-4. Contemporaneous with the Attorney General’s written notification to the Panel, the Attorney General shall by written notice direct the Panel as defined in 42-9.2-4 to appoint a Special Prosecutor to act in the place and stead of the Attorney General in the investigation and/or prosecution of such person.