patrick lynch

Former AG travels to Brazil to help in club fire probe

February 18th, 2013 at 7:26 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

By Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Former R.I. Attorney General Patrick Lynch has been asked to assist government officials in Brazil as they deal with a deadly nightclub fire that claimed the lives of some 240 people, the Target 12 Investigators have learned.

Read the rest of this story »


Doherty far from alone in taking campaign cash from Ciccone

April 3rd, 2012 at 10:35 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Republican Brendan Doherty is feeling the heat this week for keeping $1,000 from state Sen. Frank Ciccone in the wake of allegations the lawmaker tried to intimidate police officers.

But Doherty is far from the only leading Rhode Island politician who took donations from Ciccone – though he may be the only Republican.

Ciccone has donated at least $25,610 to a host of politicians and political organizations since 2002, including $2,800 to Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis, $2,000 to former Providence City Council President John Lombardi and $1,650 to Congressman David Cicilline during his mayoral days, an analysis of R.I. Board of Elections filings by shows.

The Rhode Island Laborers District Council, an arm of the Laborers International Union, paid Ciccone $120,625 in 2011, according to its most recent federal disclosure filing. The Senate paid him $13,962.

Ciccone, D-Providence, also gave money to many of the state’s current leaders, including Gov. Lincoln Chafee ($500), Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts ($200), Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed ($750), Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio ($350), Providence Mayor Angel Taveras ($300) and U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse ($1,000) during his failed 2002 gubernatorial bid.

Beneficiaries who are out of office included former Treasurer Frank Caprio ($1,600), former Lt. Gov. Charlie Fogarty ($1,350), former Senate Majority Leader Dan Connors ($900), former Attorney General Patrick Lynch ($850), former Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci ($125) and former state Rep. David Segal ($50).

Among the notables who did not get any money from Ciccone were House Speaker Gordon Fox, Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Attorney General Peter Kilmartin. The senator did not return a phone call Monday.

• Related: Senate President Paiva Weed silent on Ciccone’s police report (April 2)

(photo: Rhode Island Senate)

*Other* Patrick Lynch buying Tesla’s snazzy new electric car

March 23rd, 2012 at 2:15 pm by under Nesi's Notes

Patrick Lynch's sweet new ride

Correction: Wrong Patrick Lynch! My mistake. Our AG was, of course “Patrick C. Lynch.” The original post is still below, however, so that I will be suitably shamed and learn my lesson. I blame the Sudafed.

When it comes to the environment, Patrick Lynch is putting his money where his mouth is.

A New York Times DealBook post about Tesla Motors’ new electric sedan offers testimonials from a number of customers who’ve made down payments for its new Model S – including one Patrick A. Lynch, whom The Times describes simply as “a lawyer from Providence, R.I.”

DealBook reports Lynch shelled out $5,000 last month as a down payment for his Model S, which can go from 0 to 60 in 5.6 seconds. The basic sedan sells for a cool $57,000 before tax credits, and the first cars are expected to be delivered to customers in July.

The former attorney general doesn’t mind the wait. “It’ll give me more time to save the money,” he told DealBook.

And why is Lynch opting for a Model S over, say, a Ford Focus? ”At the end of the day, I really believe in what they’re trying to do,” he said.

(photo: Wikipedia)

Patrick Lynch unlikely to challenge Cicilline; Gemma set to run

January 3rd, 2012 at 5:46 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Patrick Lynch is out of office for now, but he may not be out of politics for good.

Rhode Island’s former attorney general has recently been discussing whether to challenge Congressman David Cicilline in this year’s Democratic primary but is unlikely to run at this point, has learned.

Lynch sat down with one consultant to discuss the race last week, and local Democratic Party insiders have been buzzing about his potential candidacy, four people familiar with the matter said Tuesday.

But Lynch is unlikely to pull the trigger and step away from his lucrative new private consulting firm and law practice to mount a campaign against the incumbent, said two of the people, who have direct knowledge of the discussions.


Democratic governors’ chief woos Chafee to join Obama’s party

November 29th, 2011 at 11:31 am by under Nesi's Notes

Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s flirtation with the Democratic Party continues.

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley recently told Chafee he should formally join the party of President Obama, whom Chafee endorsed in 2008. O’Malley floated the idea during a phone conversation they had about the plight of the menhaden, spokeswoman Elisabeth Smith told

O’Malley is chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, an umbrella group for the party’s 20 state executives.

Chafee, who won office in 2010 as an independent, doesn’t have a governors association. Asked if he is seriously considering the idea, the governor told through a spokeswoman: ”I’m happy where I am for now.”


Only local Dem who didn’t keep ProCAP chief’s cash: Taveras

November 16th, 2011 at 6:00 am by under Nesi's Notes

Council President Solomon

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The Providence Community Action Program’s embattled leader donated money to Mayor Angel Taveras and City Council President Michael Solomon in recent months even as they examined alleged financial improprieties at his agency.

Taveras, however, didn’t keep the $150 contribution made to his campaign account on June 1 by ProCAP executive director Frank Corbishley. The mayor refunded the money less than three weeks later, on June 18, according to Board of Elections records.

Corbishley donated $150 to Solomon on Sept. 30, the last day for which filings are currently available. Solomon, who oversees ProCAP as chairman of its board of directors, also took a $125 contribution from the taxpayer-funded nonprofit’s longtime executive director in late 2009.

Solomon is just one of seven top Rhode Island Democrats who collected a combined $4,290 in political contributions over the past nine years from ProCAP’s executive director, who is now accused of allowing “staggering mismanagement” of the nonprofit’s finances. Taveras is the only politician who gave Corbishley his money back.


RI’s biggest campaign war chest is Lynch’s, not Raimondo’s

September 21st, 2011 at 10:56 am by under Nesi's Notes

My friend Dan McGowan, newly installed full-time at GoLo, has a story today looking at statewide elected officials’ campaign war chests, which notes the huge advantage Gina Raimondo has over Lincoln Chafee and the other three general officers thanks to her $300,553 stash.

Nobody questions the treasurer’s fundraising acumen. But a second look shows she’s not the politician sitting on Rhode Island’s biggest pile of campaign cash. That honor goes to former Attorney General Patrick Lynch.

The son of Pawtucket had $349,085 in his account as of June 30 – nearly $50,000 more than the treasurer – which is one of the reasons political insiders are buzzing about the possibility he may make another bid for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2014.


Patrick Lynch’s next campaign – against Deepwater

January 3rd, 2011 at 10:32 am by under General Talk

Attorney General Patrick Lynch finishes his second term this week with an uncertain future but one of the biggest political war chests in the state. (He had $417,056 on hand as of Sept. 30.) Lynch’s gubernatorial bid fizzled out last year and although most people assume he will make another run for office eventually, there’s no clear target for him on the current landscape. Still, those things can change quickly.

Meanwhile, it seems that one way Lynch plans to keep his name in the headlines is by positioning himself as the most high-profile opponent of the Deepwater Wind deal with National Grid, as he emphasized in his exit interview with the Projo’s Tracy Breton:

[Lynch successor Peter] Kilmartin has said he will end the state’s current Supreme Court appeal of Deepwater’s offshore-turbine project. But Lynch says he will press it as a private citizen, adopting the brief already filed by his office, and hopes to get former attorneys general Arlene Violet and James E. O’Neil to join with him.

In an e-mail, Violet told me that while she hasn’t spoken to Lynch yet about joining the brief, she shares his concerns. “If he asks me to join him re the brief, I will read it, and, if it expresses the analysis I have seen him verbalize, I would join him as amicus curiae at that point,” she said. (Violet is also a panelist on WPRI 12′s “Newsmakers” program.)

Lynch’s original brief against the Deepwater agreement called it one of the worst decisions in 224 years, and on New Year’s Eve his office issued a press release calling on seven other organizations – TEC-RI, Common Cause, AARP, RISC, Operation Clean Government, Save the Bay, and the League of Women Voters – to join him in challenging the constitutionality of the law that pushed it forward. Lynch described the project as “this $400 million boondoggle.”

Lynch has the field pretty much to himself in opposing the Deepwater agreement. Gov.-elect Lincoln Chafee supports it, as do Kilmartin, Gov. Don Carcieri, House Speaker Gordon Fox and Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed. And unlike the unpopular 38 Studios deal, 56% of Rhode Islanders approved of the Deepwater project in our September WPRI 12 poll.

Still, if opinion turns against the Deepwater project it looks like Lynch could be well-positioned to benefit. With Democrats already scratching their heads about how to run against Chafee in 2014, could Lynch be an anti-establishment candidate for the party in 2014?

Patrick Lynch does last-minute robocall for Caprio

November 1st, 2010 at 4:18 pm by under General Talk

Attorney General Patrick Lynch, who dropped out of the Democratic gubernatorial primary in July to clear the way for Frank Caprio, is coming to his former rival’s aid on the eve of Election Day.

Lynch recorded a robocall – an automated phone message – that’s getting distributed this afternoon and was forwarded to me by one of the recipients. As you can see, it’s not easy to critique two other candidates and make the affirmative case for your own man in a 30-second message:

Hello. This is Attorney General Patrick Lynch, and I’m calling to ask you to vote for my friend, Frank Caprio, Democrat for governor, this Tuesday. Frank Caprio has a plan to get our economy moving again, and Rhode Island needs just that. We can’t afford Chafee’s plan to raise taxes on working families and we need to put an end to the failed Republican policies of the last 16 years. We need a Democrat in the governor’s office, and that Democrat is Frank Caprio. Please vote for Frank this Tuesday. Thank you.

Question: Do robocalls actually work?

Update: The same individual has now received a robocall from Frank Caprio himself. Unfortunately, Caprio’s message started playing while my correspondent’s outgoing message was still playing, so part of the message was cut off. But from context clues, it appears Frank Caprio wants people to vote for him tomorrow.

Update #2: My correspondent has now received a third Caprio robocall in the space of a few hours. This time it was Bill Clinton on his behalf. I can say that in this person’s case, the three robocalls has not made him more amenable to voting for the Democrat tomorrow.

That said, I shouldn’t pick on the Caprio campaign too much – they may just have the bad luck of robocalling somebody who emailed a reporter. Is Robitaille robocalling? Chafee? Ken Block? Joe Lusi? Let me know in comments.

Lynch’s unicameral legislature idea – not so crazy?

October 27th, 2010 at 9:53 am by under General Talk

The Nebraska State Capitol

It feels like a million years ago now, but back when he was running against Frank Caprio for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, Attorney General Patrick Lynch suggested replacing Rhode Island’s two-chamber General Assembly with a single chamber by doing away with the Senate. (Nebraska is the only state with a unicameral legislature right now.)

Perhaps unsurprisingly, some of the politicians who currently serve in the chambers Lynch wanted to downsize were not very supportive of his proposal. Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed, who found out about his idea in a campaign press release, told the Projo she was “surprised” by the suggestion. Her House counterpart, Speaker Gordon Fox, suggested that since no state has adopted a unicameral legislature in the last 100 years, “that might tell you something.”

Well, maybe Fox will reconsider his opposition to closing the Senate now that lawmakers in a number of other states like Maine and Pennsylvania are considering the idea, as The Wall Street Journal reported Monday:

In Maine, members of the state’s House of Representatives passed a bill last year that would shrink the legislature to one chamber from two. A Pennsylvania legislator introduced a bill this year to do the same. The speaker of the House in Kentucky also floated the idea. Over the past year, officials in half a dozen other states have discussed attacking the size of government by cutting the size of the legislature. The current election campaigns across the country have further fired the debate. …

The debate over unicameralism is gathering steam because state governments are strapped for cash. The recent recession cracked many budgets, and the continuing sluggish recovery is taxing others. Modern-day proponents of unicameral legislatures tend to be Democrats. But the movement began with Nebraska Sen. George Norris, a Republican, who barnstormed the state to drum up support for his idea in 1934. …

At the height of the Depression, Nebraska decided to save money by getting rid of its second legislative chamber. It worked. When the unicameral legislature debuted in 1937, with each representative called a senator, the body cost half as much to run as the old one. And there is less duplication and overlap. …

[Nebraska] cut its statehouse through a ballot initiative, not a law. And that 1934 ballot included a pair of popular measures—legalized gambling and an end to Prohibition—that likely propelled the full ballot to approval, says Richard Brown, the assistant clerk of Nebraska’s statehouse.

So, contra Fox, it’s only been 73 years since Nebraska went unicameral, not a full century. Maybe Patrick Lynch was ahead of his time.

(image credit: Wikipedia)

Get well soon, Mike Healey

October 13th, 2010 at 1:47 pm by under General Talk

AG Patrick Lynch’s spokesman, Mike Healey, was badly injured last weekend when he fell out of a tree while doing yard work. (Lynch’s office just confirmed the accident.)

Mike is in the hospital but “suffered no spinal or head injuries, and we are grateful that Mike will have a full and complete recovery,” Lynch said in a statement, though he added that “his recovery will take same time.” Full release after the jump.

I’ve worked with Mike many times since coming to Rhode Island, and he’s a top-notch spokesman – quick to respond, helpful in explaining legal issues, and always good-natured (even when he doesn’t like a story). I hope he is back on his feet soon.

By the way, Mike picked quite a week to be out of commission; Lynch and his 49 fellow attorneys general just announced a joint investigation into the mortgage industry’s handling of foreclosures. WPRI’s Susan Hogan will have more on that development this evening.


Deepwater Wind hires Carcieri’s former chief of staff

September 13th, 2010 at 12:44 pm by under General Talk

Jeff Grybowski

Jeff Grybowski, who served in the Carcieri administration from 2003 to 2007 including 10 months as the governor’s chief of staff, has joined Deepwater Wind as its chief administrative officer and senior vice president for strategy and external affairs, the company said today.

Deepwater, of course, is the hedge fund-backed wind power company picked by Carcieri in September 2008 to develop two offshore wind farms with the state’s enthusiastic (but non-financial) support. Bill Lynch, now a candidate for Congress, criticized Grybowski’s involvement with Deepwater back in 2008 when he was head of the R.I. Democratic Party. It will be interesting to see if he or his brother, Attorney General Patrick Lynch – another Deepwater critic – will sound off on Grybowski’s hiring.

Deepwater also announced that it is now officially a Rhode Island company, with its Providence office serving as its corporate headquarters; before, the HQ had been in Hoboken, N.J., near the New York City base of the company’s chief financial backer, D. E. Shaw. The Hoboken office remains open. No sign of the press release on Deepwater’s website yet.

On a related note, all this news comes the same day Carcieri co-wrote an op-ed in Politico calling on Congress to approve a federal Renewable Electricity Standard.

Update: No mention of Grybowski’s hiring in a Carcieri press release issued moments ago praising Deepwater’s decision to make Providence its corporate home. “This decision by Deepwater Wind to relocate its corporate headquarters to Rhode Island is further proof of the company’s commitment to help us develop the nation’s first offshore wind farm and create good paying jobs for Rhode Islanders,” the governor said. (Carcieri also put Grybowski on the Judicial Nominating Commission last year.)

Update #2: Checked in with a Deepwater spokeswoman to double-check on what the corporate headquarters relocation really means. The company’s senior management team will indeed by based here in Providence, while the Hoboken office will be “a development office only,” she said.

(image credit: Hinckley Allen Snyder LLP)

Obama sides against RI in climate change lawsuit

August 27th, 2010 at 10:38 am by under General Talk

Back in 2004, Rhode Island – along with seven other states, New York City and three land trusts – filed a lawsuit aimed at forcing the nation’s five biggest power companies to curb their greenhouse gas emissions. This past March, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that the suit could move forward, setting up a fight between the two sides in the U.S. Supreme Court.

On Thursday, the Obama administration sided with the power companies (which include the Tennessee Valley Authority, a federal agency), and asked the Supreme Court to overturn the 2nd Circuit’s ruling. The White House’s top lawyer argued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is taking steps that make the suit unnecessary.

But environmentalists were angered by other parts of the administration’s brief, as The Washington Post reports:

Moreover, environmental groups said, the government’s brief went beyond that, employing arguments that threatened to undercut a basis for legal action that have been used for a century, since Georgia sued over damage a Tennessee copper smelter was inflicting on Georgia’s forests.

“We’re very angry and very disappointed that they would take this tack,” said David Doniger, policy director of the climate center at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

An administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, replied that the EPA has been taking “a series of regulatory actions indicating that it’s moving forward on greenhouse gases and really making it inappropriate for the courts to step in and take on this issue.”

AG: Deepwater Wind actions worst in 224 years

August 23rd, 2010 at 4:21 pm by under General Talk

Attorney General Patrick Lynch joined an environmental organization and two businesses on Monday in asking the Rhode Island Supreme Court to throw out the R.I. Public Utilities Commission’s Aug. 11 decision to sign off on a deal between National Grid and Deepwater Wind.

And in his statement asking the court to take up the case, Lynch draws an eye-popping historical parallel:

Not since the events surrounding the case of Trevett v. Weedon [sic] (1786) – in which the Justices of this Court’s predecessor were summoned to the floor of the General Assembly to face firing for non-implementation of an enactment that abridged specific trials and stripped the court of jurisdiction – has the judicial function been so threatened in this state. …

So too, the current affair – featuring an attempt at retroactive legislative dictation of the result of a case-specific fact question that had been adjudicated – will have an impact far beyond the parties. This case provides an opportunity for the Court to illuminate Rhode Island’s ongoing exploration of the separation-of-powers.

Now that’s what I call a rip-roaring writ of certiorari.

Update: So, what happens next? First, the Supreme Court has to decide whether to take the case. If it does, the two sides will have to file their opposing briefs and then argue the case before the justices. Considering that Deepwater wants to get going on building the wind farm, they may ask for an expedited review, which would likely see the case decided before the end of the year. But that’s just an informed guess.

Updated #2: Turns out the AG’s office was writing a little too hastily – the correct name of that post-Revolutionary War case they referred to was Trevett v. Weeden, not Weedon. But Wikipedia reports (and other sources confirm) that Weeden was one of the cases that set the stage for Marbury v. Madison, the famous 1803 U.S. Supreme Court case that established the principle of judicial review.