Providence NAACP President Gerard Catala charged with violating state campaign finance law

Attorney General Peter F. Neronha and Colonel Darnell S. Weaver announced today former Providence city council candidate Gerard Catala has been charged with violating state campaign finance laws.

On January 26, 2023, Gerard Catala, 44, was arraigned by a Justice of the Peace at the Rhode Island State Police barracks on two charges of failing to file campaign finance reports as required by state law. Mr. Catala will be re-arraigned in Sixth Division District Court on Tuesday, January 31.

As alleged in the charging documents, the defendant was charged with knowingly and willfully failing to file two required finance reports, stemming from his candidacy for the Ward 9 city council seat in the 2022 election.

“As I have stated previously, this Office is committed to stepping in at the request of the Board of Elections when candidates for public office blithely and repeatedly ignore the Rhode Island’s campaign finance laws,” said Rhode Island Attorney General Neronha. “Those laws exist for many reasons, among them to provide transparency into how candidates are financing their campaigns and whether they are doing so legally. Failure to file such reports, after repeated directives from the Board of Elections to file them, can lead only to one place: criminal prosecution. I am grateful to the Board of Elections for their strong partnership with this Office, and to the State Police for their usual excellent investigative work in this case.”

In 2022, the Board of Elections referred this matter to the Office of the Attorney General and the Rhode Island State Police for investigation. As alleged in court documents filed today, the referral from the Board of Election followed repeated failures by Mr. Catala to timely file required campaign finance reports, despite having received numerous communications from the Board of Elections regarding filing requirements.

As alleged in court documents, the defendant failed to file a required campaign finance report for candidates due 28 days before the primary (August 16, 2022) and a second required campaign finance report due seven days before the primary (September 6, 2022). It is alleged that despite numerous communications from the Board of Elections, the defendant failed to file either required report. Prosecution of earlier alleged failures to file required reports are barred by the applicable statute of limitations.

As of today, as alleged in court documents, the defendant has yet to file either of the required reports.



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