Cianci allies paid for poll; may have violated campaign finance law

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A group of allies to former Providence Mayor Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci Jr. contributed nearly $9,000 to a political action committee that polled the mayor’s race earlier this year.

Former Mayor Joseph Paolino, City Councilman John Igliozzi and Artin Coloian, Cianci’s former chief of staff, were among nine individuals who contributed $8,700 to the 7th Ward PAC, according to a report filed with the Rhode Island Board of Elections Thursday.

The group’s only expenditure was an $8,500 payment to Zeplowitz & Associates, a New York-based firm that specializes in polling, according to the filing.

The 7th Ward PAC was formed by Silver Lake power broker Vincent Igliozzi, father of John and former state Senator David Igliozzi. Vincent Igliozzi is chairman of the 7th Ward Democratic Committee, which endorsed Jorge Elorza earlier this year. John Igliozzi represents the 7th Ward on the City Council.

The bulk of the group’s contributions appear to have come before the PAC was officially formed on May 16. Records show eight individuals contributed $1,000 to the PAC on April 7.

Richard Thornton, the director of campaign finance for Board of Elections said the group should “not be collecting money until such time as they registered here.” Thornton said he planned to contact Igliozzi about the discrepancy.

Reached Thursday, Councilman Igliozzi acknowledged that an error was made and said he planned to contact the Board of Elections immediately.

Cianci, who served as mayor for parts of four decades between 1975 and 2002 but resigned twice following felony convictions, announced his plans to run for mayor as an independent in June. He will take on Republican Daniel Harrop and the winner of the Democratic primary between Elorza, City Council President Michael Solomon, Brett Smiley, Reinaldo Catone and Chris Young.

Dan McGowan ( dmcgowan@wpri.com ) covers politics, education and the city of Providence for WPRI.com. Follow him on Twitter: @danmcgowan

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