GOP's petty cash complaint a petty attack on Lynch, campaign staffer says

John O'Brien Jul. 31, 2009, 2:55pm


WARWICK, R.I. (Legal Newsline) - The Rhode Island Republican Party is alleging state Attorney General Patrick Lynch violated campaign laws by misusing money from his petty cash collection.

Wednesday, the GOP filed a complaint with state Board of Elections, alleging that more than $9,000 in petty cash was spent on hotels, meals and taxis, as well as a "trip to Kentucky." It is hoping Lynch, a Democrat, is penalized $310,000 for 31 petty cash expenditures over the state limit of $25.

"We are confident that once a careful and diligent investigation has been conducted, the R.I. Board of elections will find these expenditures done by the Lynch Committee a violation of the two legal requirements and that the Board requires the Lynch Committee to disclose to the public the name and address of the recipients of the improperly disclosed expenditures", said Steve Frias, General Counsel of the RI Republican Party.

A spokesman for Friends of Patrick Lynch, Adam Roach, called the complaint "a blatant and petty effort to smear... Lynch's record of transparency and openness in his campaign finance reporting."

Roach added the complaint is more a request for clarification, and the GOP has overlooked disclosures Lynch's campaign has already made.

"If and when the Board of Elections seeks clarification of our campaign finance records, we will gladly cooperate with those requests," Roach said.

"Until that time, this GOP filing should be seen for the political grandstanding that it is -- a point that is underscored by the fact that the GOP released their ill-informed letter to the Providence Journal for publication before the letter was even received by the Board of Elections of Friends of Patrick Lynch.

"It seems that although the calendar still reads 2009, for some it is already election eve, 2010."

The alleged violations occured in 2008 and the first part of this year.

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