Blogs | Ethan Shorey

Stadium opponent: 'lobbying reminder' = 'political intimidation'

The head of a citizen group opposed to public financing of a Providence stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox is accusing Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea's office of "political intimidation" through a July 7 letter reminding him to register as a lobbyist if he is engaging in lobbying activities.

"Have you ever wondered how political intimidation works?" wrote David Norton on Facebook. "Read the threat that I received from the Rhode Island Secretary of State."

The letter, from Public Information Director Stacy DiCola, states that it's come to officials' attention that Norton may be engaging in conversations with Rhode Island leaders on behalf of Organizing for Pawtucket, a group seeking to keep the PawSox at McCoy Stadium.

Check out our earlier story and video from a rally Norton led.
"Please be aware that, (pursuant to Rhode Island laws), all lobbyists and the organizations they represent must register with the Rhode Department of State," reads the letter. "Furthermore, all lobbying activity must be reported using our LobbyTracker online portal."

I've reached out to Gorbea's office to see if DiCola's letter is one that is typical sent out to leaders of other citizen groups and what the threshold is for activities that don't require registering as a lobbyist. I'll post her answers when I get them.

Here are the secretary of state's rules for registering as a lobbyist.
DiCola's letter states that organizers and their members must register if they are looking to influence legislation "in any manner." Seeking to influence policy decisions or decisions related to the sale or lease of land owned or leased by the state also require registration as a lobbyist, said DiCola.

"If any of the circumstances described above apply to you or anyone in Organizing for Pawtucket, I would encourage you to register through the online portal," she said.


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