House speaker’s campaign aide charged with money laundering

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello (D-Cranston) 

By WPRO News and the Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – Rhode Island’s attorney general says a campaign aide to the House speaker has been indicted on a charge of money laundering.

Democratic Attorney General Peter Neronha said Friday that Jeff Britt is charged with a felony count of money laundering and misdemeanor charge of making a prohibited campaign contribution.

Britt’s attorney, Robert Corrente, didn’t immediately respond to phone and email messages seeking comment.

During Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello’s 2016 re-election campaign, a mailer said a Republican opponent, Shawna Lawton, endorsed Mattiello instead of her party’s nominee.

The state Republican Party filed a complaint, alleging Lawton didn’t properly disclose who funded it and claiming Lawton and Mattiello illegally coordinated through Britt, then a Mattiello campaign aide.

The elections board dismissed contempt proceedings against Britt last year but referred the case to the attorney general.

“Simply ignoring the Board’s attempts to gain information without legally justifiable grounds will be a strong indication to this office and to me that the full investigative weight of this office should be utilized,” said Neronha in a hastily called news conference on Friday morning.

Spokeswoman for Mattiello’s campaign released a brief statement saying, “The proceedings do not involve the speaker”.