With interest in council presidency, Hassett will ‘clear up’ late campaign reports, pay fine

Photo by Dan McGowan/WPRI 12

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Providence City Councilman Terry Hassett said Wednesday he intends to file two past-due campaign finance reports with the R.I. Board of Elections and pay any associated fines as soon as this week.

Hassett, a Democrat who was first elected to represent Ward 12 in 1997, failed to file quarterly campaign spending disclosures that were due on Jan. 31 and May 1, according to Richard Thornton, the board’s director of campaign finance.

Thornton said Wednesday Hassett currently owes the board $240 in fines for the past-due reports. The fines grow at $2 per day, per report.

“Yes, that’s something we will clear up,” Hassett told Eyewitness News in a brief phone interview. “That will be done soon.”

Hassett didn’t provide a reason for why he missed his last two reports, except to suggest that filing disclosures digitally is difficult. He said he hasn’t spent much or received many campaign contributions in recent months. He said he would pay the small fine from his personal bank account.

Board records show the last disclosure Hassett did file was due Oct. 31, 2016, but wasn’t submitted until Jan. 30. Hassett reported just over $3,100 cash on hand at the time.

Providence City Council members have repeatedly come under fire in recent years for failing to file campaign finance reports on time. As of April, former Council President Luis Aponte and former Majority Leader Kevin Jackson owed the board a combined $78,820 in fines for past-due reports.

Aponte, a Democrat from Ward 10, was indicted on four charges related to his alleged misuse of his campaign account – not for a failure to file reports – earlier this month. He has pleaded not guilty, but stepped down as president after the majority of his colleagues on the council voted “no confidence” in his leadership. He remains on the council.

Democrat Jackson represented Ward 3 from 1995 until he was recalled by his constituents on May 2. He was arrested last May on charges that he embezzled from a youth sports organization and used campaign funds for personal expenses. He too has pleaded not guilty.

Hassett also confirmed he is one of many members of the City Council who has an interest in seeking the council presidency now that Aponte has stepped down. Acting President Sabina Matos, Finance Committee Chairman John Igliozzi and Councilors David Salvatore and Nick Narducci are also believed to be potential candidates for the second-highest elected office in the city.

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