Rhode Island Corrections’ Union President Fined for Excessive Political Donations
The Rhode Island Board of Elections voted in December 2019 to fine correctional officers’ union president Richard Ferruccio for allowing the union’s Political Action Committee (PAC) to exceed the state’s limit on annual campaign contributions for three successive years. Ferruccio agreed to pay the $1,020 penalty after the board voted to approve the fine.
The PAC exceeded the state’s $25,000 cap by $4,075 in 2017, $1,350 in 2018 and $4,775 through the first three quarters of 2019, according to the board’s findings.
Traditionally, the union has a vocal role in proceedings at the State House, particularly on criminal justice reform issues, including its recent opposition to the plan to close the high-security unit at the Adult Correctional Institution while a new unit is built. The PAC is also known to issue political endorsements during election season.
During 2019, the PAC donated $1,000 apiece to Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, Congressman James Langevin, Treasurer Seth Magaziner, House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and Senate President Dominick Ruggerio.
According to Richard Hahn, the PAC’s treasurer, the union has started new policies ensuring that it complies with state law, and he apologized for the past violations.
In other actions, the board fined Christopher Buffery, chairman of a PAC run by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, $350 for going over the state’s cap in 2018; and Raymond Berarducci, a former Providence City Council candidate, agreed to pay a $2,000 fine for accepting a loan from a family member.
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