Board of Elections fines Paolino $2,500 for campaign finance violations

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CRANSTON – The Rhode Island Board of Elections has completed an audit of reports and documentation submitted by Sen. Thomas Paolino, finding that he committed several campaign finance violations over the past year, and implementing fines totaling $2,500.

Paolino, a Republican representing District 17 in Lincoln, North Providence and North Smithfield, was one of three individuals exposed for violations by the board this week following a meeting on Monday, July 25.

An audit also found that Sen. Elaine Morgan, a Republican representing District 34 in Charlestown, Exeter, Hopkinton, Richmond and West Greenwich, committed violations that come with fines totaling $1,200. David Gould, a Providence resident who has run for various state and local offices since 2016, was referred to the Office of Attorney General for possible prosecution for failure to file the required documents over a six year period.

According to documentation published by the board, the audit of Paolino’s submissions was initiated due to a a large unreconciled variance between his campaign bank account balance and his campaign finance report. Richard Thornton, director of campaign finance, looked at reports and supporting documentation for the period from Jan. 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022, according to the document.

The audit lists eight violations found of the state’s campaign finance law including:

-$401 in loan duplicate loan proceeds/contributions/interest reported on finance reports

-$398 reported by not supported by campaign bank account statements

-$356 in proceeds/contributions or interest received and deposited but not reported

– a $521 campaign expenditure reported on the finance report, but not supported on the bank statement

– $354 in campaign expenditures erroneously reported to one vendor, when it was actually paid to five different vendors

– $1,369 in campaign expenditures representing ten transactions not reported on campaign finance reports

– a $10,000 loan repayment not reported

– account certifications not submitted for six campaign finance reports filed in 2021

The complete audit can be found here.

Paolino, who has represented the district since 2016, has reportedly acknowledged the violations and amended the reports.

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