PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos says law enforcement hasn’t contacted her yet about the criminal probe into a signature scandal tied to her campaign, as she tries to move past the issue that’s cast a cloud on her bid for the 1st Congressional District.
“We’re just waiting to see what is going to be the process [and] what the attorney general’s office is going to do,” Matos told Target 12 during an unrelated event Wednesday at the State House.
“We’re just ready to respond to anything that they’re going to ask for,” she added. “More than anybody, I want to make sure that everything is clarified.”
The comments came one day after the R.I. Board of Elections met behind closed doors to further discuss widespread reports of people saying their signatures were forged on nomination papers for Matos, who is one of 12 Democrats running to represent the 1st Congressional District.
The board again opted not to review the signatures in question, arguing they didn’t have enough time before the ballots were printed with Matos’ name. They also expressed confidence that Matos had more than the 500 valid signatures required to qualify for the Sept. 5 primary election.
R.I. Attorney General Peter Neronha and the R.I. State Police have separately launched a criminal investigation into widespread claims of forged signatures across the district, which initial reports suggest appeared most commonly on paperwork submitted by a Matos-hired contractor named Holly McClaren.
Matos said Wednesday she still hasn’t talked with McClaren since the scandal broke last month. McClaren, who put together a team of signature collectors, told Target 12 last month she didn’t forge any signatures.
“I have no reason to speak with them, and right now, the attorney general is the one that is conducting the investigation,” Matos said. “I’m not conducting an investigation.”
McClaren’s attorney on Wednesday told Target 12 she also hadn’t heard yet from law enforcement. Her attorney said last month he’d contacted the attorney general’s office and offered to set up a meeting with prosecutors.
While Matos said she’s cooperating with the criminal probe, she also expressed concern over the ripple effects it has had so far on her campaign on election security in the final weeks before the primary.
“It’s my name and it’s my campaign that has been basically associated with this unfortunate incident,” Matos said. “My biggest concern is that there are people out there that are going to feed into this conspiracy theory about elections.”