Former Rhode Island attorney general Arlene Violet cites a legislative connection between two grand jury probes that became public knowledge last week.

A state probe is examining questions related to House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello’s 2016 re-election campaign. And federal investigators subpoenaed state records related to Dr. Victor Pedro, a Cranston chiropractor whose practice has received close to $2 million in previous state funding.

Violet said the legislature is the common link in these two matters.

“Certainly, there is a General Assembly connection here. I know Mr. Mattiello tried to back off by saying, ‘hey, that’s the executive branch giving out that money,’ [to Pedro's practice] but we all know that Governor Raimondo cut the funds and it was the legislature that put it back in.”

Mattiello cut $1 million in funding for Dr. Pedro in the current state budget after a controversy, but the speaker has said he continues to believe in the doctor’s alternative therapy.

Meanwhile, Violet described the examination related to the speaker's 2016 campaign as an effort to tie up loose strings.

The state Board of Elections previously gave a warning to Mattiello and one of his opponents from that year, Shawna Lawton. That was after the speaker's campaign aides helped coordinate a supposedly independent mailer endorsing Mattiello and sent by Lawton.

Violet said she believes a grand jury is reviewing the issue to send a message about flouting campaign finance laws.

“It’s really a nip in the bud kind of investigation," she said. "It’s not so much the money as it is the behavior. And when something becomes somewhat notorious, you want to show that you are enforcing the provision.”

Mattiello’s campaign has described the issue of the campaign mailer from 2016 as old business, and it has said he’s focused on current issues.