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Ethics commission considers election-season blackout

The Rhode Island Ethics Commission is considering an election-season blackout on ethics complaints.

The commission voted unanimously Tuesday to begin the process of establishing the moratorium.

The move comes as a proposal working its way through the General Assembly would enshrine a similar moratorium in the state's Constitution.

Democratic leaders have called for a November ballot initiative asking voters to approve a constitutional amendment giving the commission power to investigate and punish lawmakers for conflicts of interest.

But the same lawmakers who advocate giving the commission more oversight don't want it to accept frivolous, politically motivated complaints in the months before elections.

Common Cause Rhode Island says lawmakers' concerns are valid, but it asked the commission to create its own rules rather than having it in the Constitution.



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