A new Rhode Island political party may face one of the largest fines in a campaign-finance dispute. Steve Peoples writes on ProJo.com, “The state Board of Elections has quietly offered to settle a campaign-finance dispute with the newly established Moderate Party of Rhode Island for what may be the largest fine in the board’s history.”
The report says the state is asking three-month-old party to forfeit a $10,000 donation and its chairman to pay another $10,000 from his own pocket. If they did not agree to the terms, officials threatened to have the attorney general’s office launch civil or criminal investigations into party officials for violating Rhode Island’s finance laws.
The article quotes party chairman Kenneth J. Block, “That was a rotten deal any which way you sliced it. And frankly, a deal designed to be rejected… I’m ready to go to war on this… [the investigation is] 100-percent politically motivated… We are threats to the establishment.”
ProJo.com says the battle comes from these moves, “On Sept. 21, Block donated $10,000 to his organization’s state committee, the annual individual maximum allowed by state law for party building, which covers expenses related to staffing, rent and utilities, but not specific elections. On Sept. 26, Block, a Barrington software engineer, wrote another $10,000 check to the Barrington Moderate Party Town Committee, which had been formed just two days before. And on Sept. 28, the Barrington committee sent $10,000 –– all but $100 in its bank account –– to the state committee.”