Ethics Commission Finds Probable Cause In Revolving Door Case Against Lally

May 24, 2016

Don Lally

The state Ethics Commission on Tuesday found probable cause that Don Lally violated the revolving door provisions of the code of ethics when he accepted a state job less than four months after resigning as a state representative in March 2015.

Commission spokesman Jason Gramitt called the finding a preliminary step, since Lally -- barring a settlement -- will face a hearing with the Ethics Commission.

Lally served as a state rep from Narragansett from the time when he first won election in 1989 until his resignation in March 2015. At the time, he said he wanted to spend more time with his family and to focus on his law practice. He resigned last month from his state job.

Then, in July 2015, the administration of Governor Gina Raimondo hired Lally as a small business liaison to the state Department of Business Regulation. While administration officials held that Lally's newly created $87,000 a year job was not subject to the revolving door law, critics maintained that he needed to be out of state government for a year before accepting such a position. State GOP chairman Brandon Bell then filed a revolving door complaint with the Ethics Commission.

According to a newly released investigative report by the commission, Lally "was under consideration for state employment in January 2015, two months prior to his resignation from legislative office." Lally told the commission he submitted a resume in or about December 2014 in hopes of landing a cabinet post in the new Raimondo administration. He met with the governor -- who took office in January 2015 -- but was not offered a position.

Asked by the commission why he did not seek guidance before taking on the small business liaison post, according to the report, "the Respondent replied that he did not because it was his understanding that the position offered to him fell under the statutory exemption."