PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Lt. Gov. Dan McKee’s political problems worsened on Friday as he revealed that a 2017 overseas trip paid for by a foreign government was not the only outside-funded travel he has failed to disclose to the R.I. Ethics Commission.
McKee is already facing an Ethics Commission investigation after Target 12 revealed he did not include a 2017 trip to Asia on his annual ethics form despite a requirement to disclose official travel funded by outside entities. He amended the form to acknowledge the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Boston, an arm of the Taiwan government, paid $3,500 for his travel, hotel and food on that trip.
Target 12 learned of the unreported trip earlier this month when McKee, a second-term Democrat, was preparing to depart on another trip to Asia, this one funded by the Taiwanese government and a Chinese business.
The lieutenant governor, who returned to Rhode Island from the 10-day trip earlier this week, revealed the additional undisclosed trips during an interview Friday morning with WPRO’s Tara Granahan.
“We found two other trips that were like this that needed to be recorded,” McKee told Granahan. “One had to do with the National Lieutenant Governors Association in 2017, another one where I represented the state in Philadelphia for one day at the opening of the Revolutionary museums.”
“I look at amendments as being correctable errors, and we’ve done that,” McKee said.
The Ethics Commission voted earlier this week to open a formal investigation into McKee’s failure to report the 2017 trip in response to a complaint filed by Brandon Bell, the former R.I. Republican Party chairman who is now the GOP’s acting general counsel.
“We’ll work with the Ethics Commission and make sure we comply with them and cooperate them,” McKee said Friday, adding that he will “accept the verdict that they gave us.”
McKee spokesperson Andrea Palagi referred questions to McKee’s attorney, Michael Kelly, who did not respond to a request for comment.