Mattiello’s GOP backer responds to complaint over mailer

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Shawna Lawton, the Republican rival-turned-supporter of Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, has formally responded to a GOP complaint over her mailer endorsing him.

In a three-page filing with the R.I. Board of Elections, Lawton declined to rebut almost any of the allegations leveled by Republican Party Chairman Brandon Bell, who based his case in part on leaked messages where Lawton claimed Mattiello adviser Jeff Britt “promised” help on her anti-vaccine activism at a meeting last month.

The one exception related to Britt: Lawton claimed in the filing that she “was unaware of Jeff Britt’s financial relationship with Nicholas Mattiello.” Mattiello’s decision to hire Britt was first reported back in April.

Lawton has refused to reveal who donated the money that paid for her mailer endorsing Mattiello. She has hired John M. Cicilline, the brother of Democratic Congressman David Cicilline, as her attorney in the current controversy.

The Board of Elections has not taken any action on the GOP complaint yet.

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