Mollis Adopts Findings of Hearing Officer In Zaccagnino Matter
Mollis' action brings Hearing Process to a close with “statutory maximum fine permitted in this matter”
Providence, RI – Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis, Thursday, sent a letter to Hearing Officer (Attorney) Louis DeSimone adopting Mr. DeSimone's findings that Mr. Thomas Zaccagnino “did conduct lobbying activities and therefore violated the reporting requirements by failing to report when informed of the fact”.
In Mr. DeSimone's Decision, he stated that the respondent, Mr. Zaccagnino, “shall file all necessary lobbying reports for 2010 commencing in March through the termination of the legislative term within seven (7) days of the date of this decision” and that “failure to provide said reports within the above period shall result in a fine of Two Thousand ($2,000) Dollars payable forthwith”.
Secretary Mollis had previously requested an opinion from Mr. DeSimone on the “Michael Corso Matter” as to what the maximum allowable fine would be. Mr. DeSimone explained that the aforementioned Two Thousand ($2,000) Dollar fine was the statutory maximum fine permitted in this matter in accordance with R.I.G.L. 22-10-11.
“I would like to, once again, thank Mr. DeSimone for his work on this matter as a Hearing Officer”, stated Secretary of State Mollis. “His experience lent a great deal to this unprecedented process”.
Mollis continued, “Mr. DeSimone's conclusion where he writes that ‘the addition of $75,000,000 in the state budget establishes a public interest and concern for full and complete disclosure' speaks volumes in this matter. Our work in attempting to investigate those who may have potentially lobbied and provide the people of Rhode Island with this full and complete disclosure has been our mission since beginning this process earlier this year”.
“These hearings are unprecedented. This is the first time a Secretary of State has conducted a series of hearings on lobbying violations and subsequently adopted findings levying the maximum fine(s) allowable to the violators.”
“With this finding, I further reiterate that our actions were never politically motivated. If we wanted to act politically, we would have had one hearing, asked for the maximum fine, and benefitted politically. Instead, we acted and continue to act in the best interests of the responsibilities of our office and the people of Rhode Island. We look forward to continuing our work over these next few weeks and bring the remainder of our 38 Studios investigation to a close.”
(release from Secretary of State's Office)