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Coalition Calls on Lawmakers to Take Stance on Probing 38 Studios

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A coalition of five advocacy groups wants Rhode Island lawmakers to declare whether or not they support thorough legislative hearings and an outside...

A coalition of five advocacy groups wants Rhode Island lawmakers to declare whether or not they support thorough legislative hearings and an outside investigation to document what went wrong with 38 Studios.

"It is now beyond apparent that the documents released by the courts will not provide Rhode Islanders with a complete accounting of the 38 Studios debacle," the groups said in a joint statement Tuesday. "Because both sides in this lawsuit were not interested in fully accounting for the disaster, but, rather, were interested in simply winning their case, many leads were not adequately pursued."

The five groups pushing for a deeper review are the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity; Watchdog RI, launched by former GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Block; Rhode Island Taxpayers; Operation Clean Government; and Occupy Providence. The coalition wants the state's 113 lawmakers to respond via email on the following two questions:

  • Do you SUPPORT or NOT SUPPORT publicly open and unfettered legislative Oversight Committee hearings - now - including the granting of all subpoena powers requested by said committees, that will look into potential manipulation of the political and governmental process that led to the 38 Studios affair?
  • Do you SUPPORT or NOT SUPPORT a call to the Governor to appoint an outside, independent investigator - now - with subpoena powers to produce to a report on any potential criminal or ethical wrongdoing with regard to the 38 Studios affair?

After the release last month of nearly 40,000 pages of 38 Studios documents, House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed signaled support for fresh legislative hearings on 38 Studios. The legislative leaders have remained non-committal on whether oversight committees will be equipped with subpoena power.

"Rhode Islanders will not tolerate any further delay in obtaining a full explanation of this scandal," the coalition said in its statement. "We will vigorously pursue getting answers from every legislator to our questions, and will post those results on our website."

Gordon Fox, now in prison on an unrelated corruption charge, was House Speaker when the legislature approved a loan fund later used for 38 Studios.
Gordon Fox, now in prison on an unrelated corruption charge, was House Speaker when the legislature approved a loan fund later used for 38 Studios.