Campaign Taste: Patrick Lynch Goes out in Style
Nothing will ever match the depth of Patrick Lynch’s monumentally selfish and depraved disdain for justice. But he’s sure giving it the ol’ college try in a different realm; namely, the use, abuse and disrespect of campaign contributions during the last months of his tenure as AG.
During the final three months of 2010, former state Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch spent $58,000 of his campaign war chest, including thousands of dollars on trips to Las Vegas, Chicago, Dallas and Fort Lauderdale, as well as thousands more at high-end restaurants in the state, according to a campaign-finance report filed with the state this week. …
Lynch’s final campaign expenses from 2010 also include tabs at some high-end restaurants in Providence: Café Noir ($407); Capriccio ($788); Providence Oyster Bar ($643); Mills Tavern ($500); and The Capital Grille ($788), as well as some chain restaurants such as Johnny Rockets ($211) and T.G.I. Friday’s in Seekonk ($451).
Other big ticket items include liquor ($5,589) …
Campaign funds are to be expended in furtherance of a candidate’s run for public office. Can Rhode Island’s former chief law enforcement officer please advise what statewide office he has been running for – AND SPENDING CAMPAIGN DOLLARS ON – since last July when he bowed out of the governor’s race?
We’ll set aside for a moment the larger matter of whether, during these months, the AG even found time to conduct the people’s business in between vacations (“It’s Tuesday? Off to the airport.”) and remain focused on the “campaign” expenditures. There is a palpable question that arises from all of this free-wheeling spending with no discernable legal goal: are RI campaign laws simply a flimsy cover for someone to collect a bunch of money tax free in order to live high on the hog?
I am 72 years old and on a fixed income. I donated $10 to Mr. Lynch’s campaign for Governor. This is how he spent my money? Any lawyers want to take me in a class action lawsuit to get my money back?
“Any lawyers want to take me in a class action lawsuit to get my money back?”
In principle, yes. In practice, anyone who gave money to Lynch deserved to lose it to booze and shrimp cocktails.
Dan, even if it was taken under false pretenses? Maybe someone who knows a lot about the system would be pessimistic, but a poor old lady making a small campaign donation should have known that he’d spend it on shrimp and strippers?
I’d love to see a lawyer step up and take this on. Maybe it’s political suicide, but it sure would be fun to watch.
With the way Lynch rolled over, quit and just handed Caprio the Dem nomination for governor, he must’ve smoked the entire inventory of the compassion center his brother wants to run if he thinks he can get elected to anything again.
Try the veal, Patrick. Then become a lobbyist like the rest of the political failures.
The real crime here is that there is probably no law against what he did.
Think there’s anyone with the political nerve to submit legislation that would limit how “left-over” campaign funds may be used? Not going to hold my breath…
I was mostly being facetious, Patrick. Obviously it’s wrong to spend political campaign money on extravagant personal meals, entertainment, and booze. Or at least it would be in most states, but in RI it’s just the accepted norm for these types. I’d like to see a suit brought just to bring light to the issue, but we all know that nothing would ever come out of it. “Oh sure, we discussed the campaign at Johnny Rockets,” etc.
Dan, I know the “we discussed the campaign” is the easy out, but how can he say that about money spent after July 15, the day he said he would not run for Governor? What campaign? He couldn’t run for AG again, he said he wasn’t running for Governor. Ok, let’s put the cutoff at the day he had to file for office. How does anyone justify spending anything after that day? What’s the campaign?
I know judges do have to follow the law, but things do have to pass the smell test too. This doesn’t even come close to passing any smell tests.
I assume his argument would be that he was “winding up” the campaign machine at that point by dealing with the fallout of his withdrawal from the governor’s race, settling all unpaid bills and expenses from the campaign, seeing off staff and supporters, and planning next steps going forward.
I’m not saying it’s a *good* argument, but he’d skate. The state judiciary, especially in corrupt, insular little Rhode Island, doesn’t want to start second guessing how every politician chooses to spend their campaign funds.
It’s very much against the law. Sue Menard got hit with a hefty fine for doing something similar.
“Think there’s anyone with the political nerve to submit legislation that would limit how “left-over” campaign funds may be used?”
Hi, George. There is, indeed, a law on the books that specifies the acceptable way to dispose of “left-over” campaign funds. These include donation to charity, contribution to other campaigns, etc, etc.
The list does not include “Eat, drink and be merry even though you are not running for office”.
Why was Patrick Lynch not available to comment on this story? ‘Cause when he got wind of what Phil Marcelo was calling about, he went, “Uh oh” and figured he’d better dummy up.
This whole thing is screaming for a complaint to be filed with the campaign finance division of the BOE. As Patrick points out, Lynch was termed out of running again for AG and had withdrawn from the gov’s race. So what was the campaign upon which these campaign funds were being expended?
“he must’ve smoked the entire inventory of the compassion center his brother wants to run if he thinks he can get elected to anything again.”
He must be planning to run again, Bella! Why else would he name both of his new ventures (e.g., the Patrick Lynch Law Firm and the Patrick Lynch Group) after himself if not to get name recognition for his next campaign???