PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Providence state representative who admitted to voting for another representative at his request last week was given a “letter of admonishment” by House leadership on Thursday, but will not face further punishment.
Rep. Ray Hull was admonished for marking his seatmate, Rep. John Lombardi, present at a floor session last week and also voting for him in favor of three bills related to the remote sellers’ tax, zoning changes and Taiwanese relations.
The admonishment letter was first reported by the Providence Journal.
“The House of Representatives has a long tradition as a distinguished body,” the letter reads.”Your statements to the body were misleading at best.”
“Your lack of respect for the integrity of the House of Representatives and your colleagues is very disappointing,” it continues.
The letter was signed by House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, Majority Leader Joe Shekarchi, Majority Whip John Edwards and Rules Committee Chairman Arthur “Doc” Corvese.
The voting drama played out on the House floor last Wednesday after Mattiello said he was notified by a staffer that Lombardi had been marked present and voted on bills, despite the fact that he wasn’t there.
“Has anybody seen Representative Lombardi today?” he asked the members of the House. “Clerk, I’m going to ask you to review the video with the appropriate folks and look to see how someone that wasn’t here voted.”
Hull stood up and said he voted for Lombardi, who he said was “outside” and asked him to do it. The House rules allow members to vote for another representative only if the member is on the House floor.
Lombardi confirmed to Eyewitness News that he did ask Hull to vote for him until he arrived because he was running late due to a medical emergency related to his insulin pump.
The admonishment letter says security footage was reviewed, which shows Lombardi arriving “wearing sneakers and sweatpants” at 5:42 p.m., 13 minutes after the House session ended.
Lombardi did not receive an admonishment letter, according to House spokesperson Cyd McKenna.
Hull did not immediately comment on the letter, telling Eyewitness News he was still formulating a response. The letter says he can challenge the admonishment by asking that the matter to be sent to the Rules Committee for a hearing.