- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Former Rhode Island House Speaker Gordon Fox pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges of bribery, wire fraud and filing a false tax return. Here are some of the reactions around the state to news of the charges against him and his plea:

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“This is a sad day for Rhode Island. This situation is unacceptable. These events are deeply troubling, and we owe it to the citizens of Rhode Island to do better. Elected officials must always uphold the highest ethical standards - people deserve honest government.” - Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo.

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“There is no place for public corruption, and I am extremely disappointed to learn about the charges against former Speaker Fox. The matter will be handled appropriately in the courts, and the interest of the public and justice will ultimately be served. While this closes a very sad chapter, the House will continue to move forward and focus on the needs of the state.” - House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello.

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“It’s an incredible privilege to serve the people. It’s a privilege, not a right.” - U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha.

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“It was heartening to see both state and federal law enforcement standing together, taking on the man who was the most powerful politician in the state only a year ago. But it also points to the need for a number of changes. One is, Rhode Island does not routinely audit campaign finance filings. Likely this would have been found earlier if we did that.” - John Marion, executive director of the open government group Common Cause.

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“What really befuddles me is that they haven’t realized we’re not going away. If you are a corrupt public official, just like the attorney general said, the boys in the band are going to get back together and we’re going to come and we’re going to get you, track you down and make sure you’re brought to justice.” - Vincent Lisi, special agent in charge of Boston FBI.

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“Public corruption at any level of government will not be tolerated. I am particularly disappointed that an important city board was used as an avenue for such corruption. I applaud the work of the U.S. attorney, the attorney general and other law enforcement entities in prosecuting this case and bringing it to justice.” - Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza.

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“This points out the fact that audits are a very important part of campaign finance compliances, and give the public assurance that money is raised and spent in compliance with state law.” - Richard Thornton, director of campaign finance for the state board of elections.

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“I have no idea what’s going on. We’ll get to the bottom of it. I’m sure my lawyer is working on it.” - Raymond Hugh, owner of the Providence business prosecutors say paid Fox a bribe, Shark Sushi Bar & Grill.

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