Amy Rice, on the Attack
State District 72 representative Amy Rice (D, Portsmouth, Middletown, Newport), with nothing apparently newsworthy to say on issues relevant to Rhode Island, has really been on the attack against her opponent, Republican Dan Reilly. First, on GoLocalProv:
Reilly’s Democratic opponent, incumbent Amy Rice, accuses him of violating the law. “By filing his papers and having his job he was having his cake and eating it too,” Rice told GoLocalProv. Rice is the co-vice chair of the House Judiciary Committee and is also the Deputy Majority Leader.
The executive director of the state Democratic Party also took Reilly to task. “After an initial glance at RI General Law § 36-4-51, it would appear that Mr. Reilly needs to conduct some due diligence before moving forward with his campaign, if, in fact, his position with the DEM is classified as defined by state law,” said Stephanie DeSilva.
Reilly is a low-level seasonal park ranger for the Department of Environmental Management, and has now returned to school, as I understand. One must have an extremely broad interpretation of the intent of this law to think that its intent was to prevent political corruption by seasonal college-age employees. Of course, this being Rhode Island, the list of exemptions to this law suggests that corruption may not be its target. Notably, the list allows “members of the state board of elections” and “election officials and employees” to be candidates, as well.
Another Rice attack has to do with that favorite of corrupt insiders: errors in campaign finance filings:
In letters last week to Richard E. Thornton, state director of campaign finance, the Portsmouth Democrat wrote that Republican opponent Daniel P. Reilly rented a billboard, and mailed out two campaign flyers for which no accounting appears on his campaign expense statements.
In a second [letter], she said she also recalled that he ran a television ad that year and there is no accounting for that either. …
Mr. Reilly said that he did not list the expenditures because they were paid with money that “I lent to my campaign from my personal finances.” He added that he has not yet repaid himself those loans except for a minor amount.
In general, campaign finance laws are a great example of the error behind expecting government to pass laws policing entry into government. The targets of such technicality attacks are typically outsiders who err in filing paperwork, while incumbents flout the law. As Reilly says, “Rice’s record shows she consistently violates state law by failing to file finance reports by the required date.” The regulations become little more than barriers to entry, making it more difficult to challenge entrenched politicians.