US Attorney Robert Clark Corrente predictably demurred when asked during a taping this week of WPRI/WNAC-TV's Newsmakers about the widening national controversy involving the White House and eight of his fellow federal prosecutors. Not for Nothing, but Corrente, who confirmed his candidacy as a possible replacement for US District Court Judge Ernest Torres, knows how to choose his words carefully.
Governor Carcieri looks less than politically nimble with his abrupt backtracking on the furlough issue. While hitting state workers with a one (or 1.75) percent pay cut may play well with part of the public, the General Assembly seems unlikely to go along, so it may come to nothing other than an empty symbolic stance.
As we head into budget season, One Rhode Island has announced plans to hold a news conference this Thursday, February 22, at 11 am, at the Federal Hill House, 9 Courtland St., Providence, to outline its 2007 legislative priorities. "Coalition urges expansions, not cuts, to vital work support programs," is one of the subheadlines on a news release.?xml:namespace>
Marriage Equality RI and MERI's new blog are reporting that the wintry mix won't affect plans for today's 4:30 pm Valentine's Day rally at the State House.
Unfortunately, for same-sex couples seeking full marriage rights, legislation in support of this seems unlikely to make it far in the General Assembly this year, mostly because of the socially conservative inclination of the legislature.
Not for Nothing, but second terms commonly prove more problematic for chief executives than the first time around the block.
I might have overstated things a bit when I wrote in December about the post-election outlook facing Governor Carcieri. Yet despite the governor's continued upbeat tone, it doesn't bode well when his ideological supporters on the fourth floor of Fountain Street sternly take him to task today, with a stinging double-hit.
Giovanni Cicione, who emerged in December as a contender to succeed Patricia Morgan as chair of the Rhode Island Republican Party, has passed a key hurdle by winning the backing of Governor Donald L. Carcieri.
Cicione, a 36-year-old Barrington lawyer and GOP activist, told me this morning that he met with the governor about two weeks ago "and he's expressed his support for me running for the chairmanship."
Although Governor Carcieri publicly projects a sense of optimism, the state -- to at least some extent -- has gotten bogged down in budget problems and the ongoing federal probe of State House influence-peddling. Despite all this, the governor struck a characteristically upbeat tone during a taping today of WPRI-WNAC's Newsmakers
In a short piece to be published in this week's Phoenix, Brian C. Jones takes a look at the budget math of how Governor Carcieri has proposed taking about $15 million in state child-care subsidies from thousands of low-income families -- about the same amount of state revenue eliminated with last year's upper bracket tax cut:
Proponents of publicly financing Rhode Island elections are slated to hold a 3 pm rally in the State House rotunda tomorrow to highlight the introduction of related legislation. This will be the third year in which Clean Elections legislation has been introduced, so we'll see if it gets any further than in the past.
As Phil West, then the director of Common Cause of Rhode Island, told me when I wrote about this issue a few years back:
While it's possible that federal prosecutors are trying to shake the trees with last week's revelation that seven Rhode Island politicians and an equal number of corporate entities are under scrutiny, the investigation of State House influence-peddling has clearly moved into a higher gear. The ProJo's Mike Stanton had a good recap yesterday.
The bill has come due for about a decade in which state spending has grown at more than twice the rate of inflation. While Governor Carcieri and the General Assembly have their work cut out in trying to make sense of Rhode Island's structural deficit, it's curious that the governor did not budget any more money for drug treatment.
UPDATE: The ProJo is reporting that Celona got 2 1/2 years.
Deadline commitments are keeping me from the sentencing this morning in US District Court of former state Senator John Celona of North Providence, a central figure in the ongoing probe of State House influence-peddling. While US Attorney Robert Clark Corrente described the status of this investigation as "extremely active" in January 2006, further developments -- including the recent indictment of two men linked with drugstore giant CVS -- have happened quite slowly.