Board of Elections refers case against Rep. Williams to AG’s office

Review of campaign finances reveals 'reason to believe' state law was violated

Rep. Anastasia Williams, D-Providence.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The R.I. Board of Elections voted Wednesday night to refer a case involving possible campaign-finance violations by state Rep. Anastasia Williams to the attorney general’s office for further investigation.

Retired R.I. District Court Judge Stephen Erickson, a member of the board, confirmed the vote to Eyewitness News after the meeting.

Erickson declined to offer specifics about the allegations against Williams since the matter was discussed in closed executive session, but said the board determined there is “reason to believe” she violated state law on campaign finance.

“We are aware of the referral and awaiting receipt of documentation,” Amy Kempe, a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office, said after the board’s vote.

Williams, a Providence Democrat first elected in 1992, declined to comment. Last September she won a hard-fought primary race against challenger Michael Gazdacko by just 91 votes.

Under the Board of Elections’ standard procedure, an initial review of potential irregularities in a campaign account is conducted by Richard Thornton, its director of campaign finance. He presents his findings to the board, which then decides whether the information is serious enough to flag for the attorney general.

The review of Williams’ campaign money had not been previously disclosed.

Ted Nesi (tnesi@wpri.com) covers politics and the economy for WPRI.com. He writes Nesi’s Notes on Saturdays and hosts Executive Suite. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook