PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – One in four Rhode Island state lawmakers have amended their financial disclosures to the Rhode Island Ethics Commission in the wake of former House Finance Committee Chairman Ray Gallison’s resignation earlier this month.
Eyewitness News has discovered that 29 of the state’s 113 lawmakers have had to amend their yearly financial statements to include additional information as of Friday, as their finances come under new scrutiny following Gallison’s departure amid an investigation.
“I think there’s a sudden awareness that this is a really serious matter, filling out these financial disclosures,” said John Marion, executive director of Common Cause RI. “It’s important to remember that when they sign the bottom of the form, it’s under the pains and penalties of perjury.”
Many of the changes were minor, such as disclosing that they receive income from their service as a legislator. But some were more significant.
State Sen. Jamie Doyle, D-Pawtucket, amended his disclosure on Friday to include a longer list of debts after Eyewitness News uncovered multiple liens on his home and business properties.
Another significant amendment was filed by Rep. Anastasia Williams, D-Providence, who has been in office for nearly 25 years.
In her original statement, when asked if she receives more than $1,000 as income from any source, Williams responded: “N/A.”
On May 9, she amended that answer to acknowledge she works for the city of Providence’s Department of Planning and Development, and told The Providence Journal that writing “N/A” was an accident she overlooked.
But this isn’t the first time Williams has failed to disclose her city employment. She also failed to list it in her 2012 financial statement, again writing “N/A,” and there is no record that she amended it that year to fix the omission.
Williams, 59, did not respond to a phone call or email requesting comment. She recently made headlines when she sued the city, her employer, for failing to award her a $78,000 grant to buy a house.Ted Nesi contributed to this report.