PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A former state lawmaker whose hiring by Gov. Gina Raimondo’s administration sparked an ethics investigation has stepped down from his position.
Former Rhode Island Rep. Donald Lally was hired by the governor as a small business liaison last July, just four months after resigning from office.
In his resignation letter Wednesday, Lally thanked Raimondo for the opportunity and said it was time to step down because “the validity of [his] appointment is being questioned and is proving to be a distraction from your economic agenda.”
Raimondo came under sharp criticism in September for hiring Lally. The state Ethics Commission voted later that month to authorize an investigation into his hiring. His case was on the agency’s agenda for Tuesday’s meeting.
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Rhode Island has a “revolving door” law that’s meant to prevent legislators from taking state jobs within a year of leaving office. Raimondo argued that a clause lets former lawmakers avoid those rules if they are placed in a senior policy-making position.
A spokesperson for the governor said Lally was hired for his extensive business experience and understanding of how government works.