Gubernatorial candidates, Common Cause file campaign finance complaints against Fung

photo by Steve Klamkin WPRO News

CRANSTON, R.I. (AP) — Democratic Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo, Republican gubernatorial candidate Patricia Morgan, and a watchdog group have filed a complaint against Cranston Mayor Allan Fung.

In announcements Monday, the three said they filed the complaints with the Rhode Island board of Elections in connection to campaign finance illegalities, citing a recent investigation by WPRI-TV.

“It appears with his years-long deal-making, Mayor Fung has accepted illegal contributions potentially totaling tens of thousands of dollars,” said Morgan. “Such an arrangement has given the Mayor an enormous financial advantage over his political opponents, including Ken Block in the 2014 Republican gubernatorial primary, his 2016 mayoral opponent and those competing in this year’s race.  Mayor Fung’s past and present campaign finance activities must be fully and impartially investigated.”

“The Fung campaign appears to have violated numerous state laws by accepting corporate and excessive in-kind contributions, and failing to disclose in-kind contributions received and obligations owed on its campaign finance reports,” the Raimondo campaign said in its complaint.

“Our campaign finance laws must be vigorously enforced,” said John Marion, Common Cause’s executive director. “Voters must have faith that candidates for office are not receiving special deals, and that powerful developers are not currying favor with elected officials.”

The station’s in-depth look at Fung, who is also a Republican candidate for Governor, found he did not pay his city’s largest developer no rent for his 2016 campaign headquarters. Fung used a Carpionato Group office from 2014 to 2016, and paid far less rent than his rivals in 2014. When asked about the complaints, the Fung campaign is calling it a non-issue. “This is nothing but a desperate attempt at grabbing headlines from candidates who feel threatened with recent poll numbers. This is about $2500 in rent that the campaign has paid; nothing more and nothing less. We will have no further comment on this non-issue of a matter. Mayor Fung’s sole focus is addressing the actual crisis Rhode Islanders are facing daily.”

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