House Finance Chairman Ray Gallison resigning

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – House Finance Committee Chairman Ray Gallison is resigning his seat as a state representative amid a law enforcement probe, WPRI.com has confirmed.

Multiple State House sources confirmed that Gallison, a Bristol Democrat and powerful member of House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello’s leadership team, will give up his seat on Tuesday.

WPRI.com has separately confirmed that Gallison is currently the focus of a state and federal investigation.

Gallison did not return a phone call requesting comment. Larry Berman, a spokesman for Mattiello, declined to confirm Gallison’s resignation but acknowledged there will be a caucus of House Democrats at 3:45 p.m. on Tuesday followed by a session.

Caucuses are closed-door meetings of lawmakers from one party. Legislative leaders often call them when they need to have a candid discussion about a sensitive matter.

Gallison, a lawyer, has held his Assembly seat since 2000. His resignation comes at a particularly inopportune time for Mattiello, with final talks on the state budget that Gallison’s committee oversees about to kick into high gear.

Gallison took the helm at House Finance following the abrupt March 2014 resignation of then-Speaker Gordon Fox, who is now in federal prison, and the ascension of Mattiello to the House’s top job. He also served as chief marshal of the Bristol Fourth of July celebration last year.

Under state law, there will not be a special election to fill Gallison’s seat because he is resigning after the first Monday in February of an election year. All 113 General Assembly seats will be on the ballot in November.

“Looks like his mic is permanently shut off,” state Rep. Bobby Nardolillo, R-Coventry, wrote on Twitter, referencing a heated exchange between Gallison and Rep. Patricia Morgan during the recent debate over truck tolls. “Karma, it catches up with you.”

Gallison has dealt with negative headlines in the past. Earlier this year, he acknowledged misreporting more than $18,000 in campaign contributions and agreed to pay a small fine. In 2007, he reached a settlement with the R.I. Ethics Commission for failing to report some of his income.

Ted Nesi (tnesi@wpri.com) covers politics and the economy for WPRI.com. He hosts Executive Suite and writes The Saturday Morning Post. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Dan McGowan contributed to this report.

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