Delaying the Independent Auditor: A Misinterpreted Deadline and No Signed Confession Facilitate This Cicilline-Friendly Rating

Ah, the good times are so fleeting.
PolitiFact has rated one of the items on the Doherty campaign’s Top 10 List of David Ciciline’s Most Serious Deceptions. (Love the concept, by the way. Bad elected officials need to be called out and their official misdeeds highlighted.)

We decided to look at number four, which focused on the outside audit of Providence finances covering the final fiscal year when Cicilline was mayor. (We’ll be examining another item in Doherty’s “top 10” separately.)
We quote from Doherty’s news release attacking Cicilline: “INTENTIONALLY MISSED DEADLINES: You were also required to provide key information about city finances to an independent outside auditor. The deadlines were clear — yet you missed them by months. You delayed providing that information until after you were elected to Congress.”

[Link to the Top Ten list here.] Why does PolitiFact gives this one a “Mostly False”?

Our mind-reading skills are limited, so we can’t judge whether any delay was prompted by an intent to withhold information until after the Nov. 2, 2010, general election.

Gee, most of use can’t read minds, either. One good way to judge “intent”, however, is to look at the person’s conduct and intent in related conduct. “Related conduct” might be, for example, Cicilline’s stonewalling of the internal auditor. Most people, specifically including PolitiFact, agree that former Mayor Cicilline acted with bad intent when he dragged Providence’s Internal Auditor James Lombardi to the point that Lombardi had to file a FOIA request to get the information he needed. Yet Mayor Cicilline acted with innocent motive when he dragged the independent auditor? That’s extremely difficult to believe in view of the track record.
Further, PolitiFact’s asserts that

even if every deadline had been met, the results of the audit would not have been released before the November election. Such audits are due at the end of the year, nearly two months after the votes are counted, a timetable noted in the very document the Doherty campaign cites.

But that misses the point entirely. This GoLocalProv article correctly cites the far more significant, if unofficial, deadline.

The independent auditor for the city, James Wilkinson, of Braver PC, said the city turned in most of the documents needed for the report in early November—about a month late—and around the time of the election. He said it was the first time the city had been tardy since his firm took it on as a client four years ago.

“Early November”? Funny, Election Day 2010 fell on November 2. Was that about when the Cicilline administration released the information? Or perhaps they released it – almost as uselessly – on November 1?
Sure, the final audit by the independent auditor would not have been completed before the election. But had Mayor Cicilline released the information ON TIME, i.e., a month before the election, the independent auditor would have been in possession of the information to corroborate the internal auditor’s findings before the elections. And information about the true fiscal condition of the City of Providence was the one thing that then-Mayor David Cicilline could not have floating around … at least, not until after he had been successfully promoted away from the whole mess.

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Max D
Max D
9 years ago

If you think this one is bad, wait until you read the next PolitiFarce. How can a loan be considered repaid when they only collected 93 percent of it. Are those PEDP loans interest free? The sad part is the bigger picture is missed completely. A campaign worker that admits to manipulating absentee ballots gets a $100K loan from the city.

9 years ago

Its even worse. According to GoLocal, the loan was paid back by a title company. It wasn’t as if Ramirez sold another property and paid it back.

9 years ago

your congressman

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