Walsh accusation and Filippi response

The following are press releases from State House District 36 candidates Donna Walsh and Blake Filippi. Walsh has accused Filippi of election fraud by claiming he does not live on Block Island, which is part of District 36. Filippi responds to the charges in the press release below Walsh’s and provides evidence that Block Island is his home.

Donna Walsh’s press release:

(Charlestown, October 27, 2014) — Today, I filed a formal complaint with the RI Board of Elections charging my opponent with misstating his true address on his candidate’s declaration this year and on his voter registration, which he first filed in August 15, 2000.

In a recent mailing, Mr. Filippi claimed to be a “life-long resident” of the 36th House District, which includes all of Block Island and Charlestown and parts of Westerly and South Kingstown. He listed his address on his 2014 candidate’s declaration and on his 2000 voter registration as 912 Champlin Road, New Shoreham.

However, the following official records contradict that claim and instead show his home address to be in 1092 Great Road, Lincoln, RI, far outside the 36th District:

  • On twelve major campaign contributions between 2004 and 2014, Mr. Filippi listed his residence as 1092 Great Road, Lincoln.
  • Two of those donations were made by Mr. Filippi in May and June just before he filed his candidate’s declaration swearing under oath that his home was in Block Island.
  • He made a campaign donation to Fung for Governor listing Lincoln as his home address just five days before filing his sworn statement with the Board of Elections listing his home address as Block Island.
  • Mr. Filippi’s bar license in Rhode Island lists his residence as 1092 Great Road, Lincoln.
  • Mr. Filippi’s bar license in Massachusetts also lists his residence as 1092 Great Road, Lincoln.
  • Mr. Filippi gave 1092 Great Road, Lincoln as his residence when he was stopped for several moving violations in Rhode Island and Arizona in 2000, 2001 and 2003. He registered to vote as a Block Island resident in 2000.
  • Mr. Filippi’s campaign literature lists the number to reach him as the phone number for his residence at 1092 Great Road, Lincoln.

Mr. Filippi cannot claim residence in two places at once. I presented the Board of Elections with almost twenty official documents where Mr. Filippi give Lincoln as his home address, including records of the traffic stops where he presumably had to show the arresting officer his driver’s license.

For all these years, Mr. Filippi has been voting as if he is a Block Island resident and now is running for office as such, even though all the other evidence shows him to be a Lincoln resident.

I have asked the Board of Elections to take action on these charges and to refer the matter for prosecution after they verify the evidence I have presented.

No one is above the law. Voting rights and the right to run for elected office are sacred; to declare residency, you must actually live where you say you live.

Blake Filippi response:

BLOCK ISLAND R.I. — House candidate Blake Filippi released the following letter to constituents in response to Donna Walsh’s accusation that he has fraudulently voted on Block Island and is ineligible to be a candidate for House District 36.

Dear Neighbor,

Donna Walsh just made a big mistake. She has abused the legal process and falsely accused me of lying about my residency in order take away your right to choose your representative. She wants to be the only candidate on the ballot.

Ms. Walsh clearly did not do her homework. I’m here to tell you the truth.

Block Island is my home. My family moved here in 1956 – 12 years before Donna Walsh moved to R.I. from New Jersey. I reside on Champlin Rd. for the majority of the year. I pay taxes here and have voted here since I was 18. It is where I’m licensed to drive and practice law, where my vehicle is registered and I operate my business. It’s where my father is buried, and I will be too, hopefully many years from now.

I’ve been entirely open and truthful that my family raises cattle in Lincoln during the winter and that I use this address for business. Indeed, I even state this in my campaign literature. I have nothing to hide.

But, I don’t think Mrs. Walsh is interested in the truth. Here’s why:

  • Donna Walsh is a political insider who doesn’t want to change the status quo.
  • She did not even reach out and ask me to rebut her claim that I don’t live on Block Island before filing her sham complaint with the Board of Elections. I was owed a phone call.
  • She failed to disclose to the Board of Elections the substantial evidence of my Block Island residency and instead cherry-picked data.
  • She waited until this week to raise this non-issue even though her own “evidence” states that it was obtained as of September 28th – almost an entire month before this October surprise! The statement in her complaint that she “recently discovered” this evidence is a complete falsehood.

Walsh clearly does not take her accusation seriously, and neither should we. Is this really whom we want representing us – someone so frantic to usurp our electoral choice that she abuses the legal process?

Here’s what’s really going on: Mrs. Walsh is in danger of losing this election and has concocted this scheme to distract us from the important issues she has refused to debate me about.

Why did she kill legislation to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the 38 Studios debacle? How does she justify being so silent on the Copar Quarry environmental disaster? How are we going to make R.I. affordable for our retirees? How does she justify voting for budgets and massive deficits that have dramatically increased spending while the rest of us tighten our belts? Why has she attacked the middle-class with increased gas taxes and license and registration fees?

These are the real issues that merit our electoral deliberations – not phantom personal attacks from someone who refuses to defend her votes or speak to the future. The voters of R.I. deserve better.

Thank you for reading this letter and being discriminating in your trust. If you have any questions, please call or email me. I look forward to November 4th and respectfully ask for your vote.

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