“Retroactive Judgement”: RI-1 Race Makes This Week’s Weekly Standard Magazine
For the most part, a thorough and well-informed article by Ethan Epstein. And the sub-title
Mayoral malpractice comes back to haunt a congressman.
is a perfect description of the current tableau.
However, in one regard,
An internal audit commissioned by the city laid much of the blame at Cicilline’s feet. It found that he had not provided financial information on a timely basis to the independent auditor, the city council, or the internal auditor, and that he had not provided the city council with monthly financial statements or with projections of year-end surpluses or deficits. Even more damning, it found that Cicilline had papered over huge deficits by depleting the city’s reserve funds—this without the approval of the city council.
the article is a little too passive in describing one of David Cicilline’s most egregious actions as mayor. He didn’t just not provide “financial information on a timely basis …” As Mayor, David Cicilline LOCKED OUT the Internal Auditor, James Lombardi, preventing him from accessing accounts, records, information so he could not reveal the true financial condition of the city.
Mr. Lombardi eventually obtained the information by – incredibly – resorting to a FOIA request. But it was very late in the campaign. The Providence Journal chose not to cover the critical development to any significant extent and, remarkably, the paper actually endorsed David Cicilline three days later.
With his action in locking out the Internal Auditor (are we sure that this was not criminal on its face? also, what about perjury or obtaining money under false pretences for any financial statements about Providence that he signed as mayor during the period?), David Cicilline had successfully dragged out disclosure of the bad news just long enough to secure himself the political promotion that he so wanted, representing the people of the First District of Rhode Island in the United States Congress.
Now that this has been exposed, as Ethan Epstein goes on to point out, it is correct that David Cicilline should have very low approval numbers and actually be trailing his Republican opponent, whose character and reputation are pretty much the antithesis of Cicilline’s. It isn’t that people believe, as my friend Phil West wrote, that David Cicilline caused Providence’s financial troubles. It’s that he stated over and over to voters in RI-1 AS HE WAS DELIBERATELY SHUTTING OUT THE INTERNAL AUDITOR that the city was in excellent fiscal condition. It’s that he resorted to subterfuge; that he covered up and repeatedly lied about serious matters for political gain.
That’s completely unacceptable to a lot of us. It appears that a significant number of RI-1 voters are laudably in our ranks.