Lynch receiving 47 percent approval

John O'Brien Feb. 17, 2009, 5:00pm


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (Legal Newsline) - Less than half of Rhode Islanders think state Attorney General Patrick Lynch is doing a good job in office, a poll released Tuesday by his alma mater says.

Thirty-nine percent of those polled by Brown University's Taubman Center for Public Policy rated the second-term Democrat's performance as "good," while another 8.7 percent called it "excellent."

The main purpose of the poll was to discover the public's confidence in the $787 billion federal economic stimulus legislation signed Tuesday by President Barack Obama. It also asked those polled to rate the performances of their elected officials.

More than 14 percent described Lynch's performance as "poor," and 26.2 percent as "only fair." Another 12 percent didn't know or didn't answer.

Former state Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse received support from almost 41 percent of those polled about his performance as a U.S. Senator. Nearly 32 percent described his performance as "good" and another 9.8 percent as "excellent," while 15.9 percent said poor.

Obama's approval rating reached more than 61 percent, with 16.5 percent rating him as either "only fair" or "poor."

A settlement reached by Lynch with DuPont benefited Brown and was the subject of criticism by paint companies Lynch sued during his first term.

Lynch had hired plaintiffs firm Motley Rice to sue the companies for manufacturing lead-based paint before it was outlawed in 1978, a suit that proved unsuccessful.

Lynch did, however, secure approximately $12 million from DuPont, which chose to settle the claims against it instead of fighting them.

Attorneys for Sherwin-Williams criticized the charitable donations to which DuPont agreed in the settlement.

One provision of it was an allotment of $1 million to Brown University.

"There is absolutely no basis in the law for an Attorney General to sue in the name of the State and then cut a deal whereby settlement money from the case is diverted to third parties..." attorneys wrote.

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