Letter: Isn’t this a conflict of interest?

Posted 1/14/21

Contributions and expenses of candidates, political parties and registered lobbyists are required to be reported by state law. However, the public does not typically research this kind of public …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Not a subscriber?


Start a Subscription

Sign up to start a subscription today! Click here to see your options.

Purchase a day pass

Purchase 24 hours of website access for $2. Click here to continue

Day pass subscribers

Are you a day pass subscriber who needs to log in? Click here to continue.


Letter: Isn’t this a conflict of interest?

Posted

Contributions and expenses of candidates, political parties and registered lobbyists are required to be reported by state law. However, the public does not typically research this kind of public information, so we want to make some of this information public, because we find it repugnant that Bristol Democratic Town Committee Chairman Erich Haslehurst has been charging local state Democrat candidates for “political consulting services.”

As the chairperson of the Town Committee, he appoints the sub-committee chairperson for Fundraising AND the Nominating Chairperson, as well as the members of those committees. De facto he can put the local Democrat party to work raising money for Democrat candidates, endorse them and then charge them money for “political consulting.” 

That cannot be, you say? How is it possible that the chair of a political party who is also a registered lobbyist gets away with this, you ask? Chairman Haslehurst may be following the letter of the law, and we are not lawyers, but in our view, it creates the impression of ethical misbehavior. And perception is often reality.

Chairman Haslehurst has collected tens of thousands of dollars for “political consulting services” from senators and representatives since his rise to local Democrat chair.

As previous Chairmen of the Bristol Democrat Town Committee for almost three decades, never once did we charge any local or state Democrat candidate for “political consulting services.” It is part of the job.

Further, as a registered lobbyist, he walks a slippery slope. He can use his position to sway the votes and views of committee members, who are elected officials, in favor of his client’s positions. Committee members should be mindful of this potential for conflict and strive for transparency, so the public has full faith in the committee members’ positions on all issues. 

We encourage the Phoenix to research this issue and let the public know the details and facts.

Anthony Rego
Kenneth A. Marshall
John E. Faria

Bristol

The three authors were successive chairmen of the Bristol Democratic Town Committee prior to 2019.

2021 by East Bay Newspapers

Barrington · Bristol · East Providence · Little Compton · Portsmouth · Tiverton · Warren · Westport
Meet our staff
Scott Pickering

Scott Pickering has been on the East Bay Newspapers team for more than two decades, since starting as a reporter for the Sakonnet Times. He's been editor of most of the papers, was Managing Editor of all the papers for many years, and became General Manager in 2012. Today he can be found posting to EastBayRI.com, steering news coverage, writing editorials, talking to readers, working with the sales team, collaborating on design, or helping do whatever it takes to get the papers out the door. Reach him at spickering@eastbaynewspapers.com.