Frank Prosnitz brings several years in journalism, including 10 years as editor of Providence (RI) Business News and 14 years as a reporter and bureau manager at the Providence (RI) Journal, to the What'sUpNewp team. Prosnitz began his journalism career as a sports writer at the Asbury Park (NJ) Press, moving to The News Tribune (Woodbridge, NJ), before joining the Providence Journal. Prosnitz can be heard weekly hosting radio programs on WADK (Newport), WOON (Woonsocket), and WLBQ (Westerly).

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This story was originally published at 13:52 on February 12th, it has been updated (where indicated).

Former state Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed filed her campaign finance report Sunday evening, several hours after WhatsUpNewp reported that her campaign had not met the Jan. 31 deadline to file for the last quarter of 2017. The Board of Elections had listed her report as “past due,” but changed that once it was filed.

Following the posting of the story by WhatsUpNewp yesterday morning, someone identifying themselves as associated with Paiva Weed’s campaign asked WhatsUpNewp to take down the story, or change the headline, but didn’t know why the report had not been filed. The story remained up.

The Board of Elections in its public documents notes the date and time that a report has been filed. In Paiva Weed’s case, it noted the report was filed at 6:44 p.m. on Feb. 11 (Sunday).

This is the first time that Paiva Weed has not filed a campaign finance report on time, according to Board of Elections records dating back to April 2002. She is not among the scores of individuals who owe fines to the board for filing late, or not filing at all.

She left her Senate 13 position last Spring when she took a position as chief executive of the Hospital Association of Rhode Island.

Paiva Weed’s year-end report shows a balance of $55,959, after she expended $4,021 during the last quarter of 2017.  Campaign finance funds can be held for any possible future campaign, donated to charities, return to donors, or donated to other political candidates.

In her report, Paiva Weed contributed to one other political campaign, Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea ($1,000), and to a few charities, including Family Service of Rhode Island, Friends of Ballard Park, LaSalle Academy, Newport County Development Council, Newport Opera House, and St. Pius V School.

Dawn Euer, a progressive Democrat won a spirited primary election and then the special election to win the seat. Mike Smith, the Republican in the race, has dissolved his campaign account, and two other candidates have moved from the district.

David Allard, whose year-end report showed a zero balance, left his job in the state Department of Education to become Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza’s campaign manager. Elorza is running for reelection. {Correction – The original version of this story reported Allard had moved to Cranston, Allard has confirmed with What’sUpNewp that he is still a resident of Newport. We apologize for the mistake.}

Former Newport Councilman John Florez has moved to Texas. He ran up considerable debt in his Senate 13 campaign, loaning himself some $70,000 on top of loans he took when he ran for council. His year-end report shows a deficit in his campaign account of $92,871.

The other two candidates were David Hanos, current school committee chair, whose year-end report showed a balance of slightly more than $3,000. Independent Kim Ripoli, who filed this afternoon, also late, as noted in a previous story by WhatsUpNewp. Ripoli, who was also listed as past due yesterday, was also late in her fall filing, landing her on the delinquent list, owing a $25 fine. She has a campaign fund balance of $232.

A look at the Newport City Council found one council person’s account listed as inactive and another not filed since last October. Kathryn Leonard, who last filed on Oct. 19, 2017, showed a robust account balance then of $24,657. {Update – February 13th: Kate Leonard and the Board of Elections confirmed on February 13th that Leonard’s filing was in fact filed on January 18, 2018.}

Marco Camacho’s account is listed as inactive. Camacho was just seated on the council in January, filling Florez seat. Other council members showed balances of from $3 to $2,700.

All members of the Newport School Committee are current on their filings, with account balances ranging from $5 to $2,033. School Committee person Rebecca Bolan dissolved her campaign finance account last Fall.

Late reports are not uncommon. Some candidates and officeholders, consistently ignore the filing requirement, facing fines and penalties that in some cases accumulate to thousands of dollars. Paiva Weed is not listed among those owing fines, as of January 31. The initial fine is $25.

Board of Election officials have said it is difficult to pursue these cases in court. These are civil, not criminal cases, and officials have said judges have reduced fines considerably, believing the penalties and interest unreasonable.

Meanwhile, there is little incentive to persuade delinquents to pay their fines. Efforts in the legislature to block delinquent filers from running for office have been unsuccessful. David Sholes, a former state Senator and on the board of the Board of Elections, has said the strongest leverage to collect fines is the potential negative publicity in a political campaign, or notoriety from news articles.

There are several interesting statewide races, with incumbents for at least two – governor and U.S. Senate – having a large fundraising edge. Here’s a look at some of those campaigns, and totals for the year ending on Dec. 31, 2017.

  • U.S. Senate. Incumbent Senator Sheldon Whitehouse had a huge fundraising edge over his Republican opponent, former state Supreme Court Justice Robert Flanders. Whitehouse’s campaign account balance was $2.8 million, Flanders was $284,652.
  • Governor. Incumbent Governor Gina Raimondo’s balance was $3.35 million; Republican and Cranston Mayor Alan Fung, $240,572; Republican and state Rep. Patricia Morgan, $117,300; and Independent and former Republican State Representative Joseph Trillo, $126,858. Paul A. Roselli, a Democrat who announced last Fall for governor, has a campaign fund balance of $1,405.
  • Lt Governor. This race – at least the Democratic primary – is among the most interesting and highly competitive races in New England this year, according to the Boston Globe. Challenger Aaron Regunberg, a Providence state Representative and a progressive Democrat, had $275,571 in his campaign account at year’s end, while incumbent Dan McKee, a Democrat and former Cumberland mayor, had $126,622. Paul Pence, the announced Republican candidate, had a zero balance.
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