- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 14, 2016

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - A Rhode Island state lawmaker said he made mistakes on ethics forms but insisted he lives in his legislative district after a news investigation questioned his residency.

WPRI-TV (https://bit.ly/1U6R5Gz) reported that Democratic Rep. John Carnevale owns a Johnston home he hadn’t declared on ethics filings.

“I made a mistake on my Ethics Commission filing,” Carnevale said Tuesday. But he insisted his residency is “100 percent” at the Providence home where he’s a registered voter. He also said he’s “absolutely” running for re-election in the fall. He declined further comment.

The station repeatedly visited the Johnston home during a monthslong investigation and found Carnevale and his vehicles there but never found him at the Providence home where he says he lives.

Video showed Carnevale using a T-shirt to conceal his face after spotting a news crew outside the Johnston house. A 2007 mortgage document signed by Carnevale shows he agreed to occupy the Johnston house as his principal residence.

On Monday, Carnevale amended nine years of filings with the Rhode Island Ethics Commission to include the Johnston home as one of his properties. The amended documents - filed just hours before WPRI-TV ran its story - still lists his primary residence as a two-family home in Providence.

He told the TV station there’s “no story here” after a reporter confronted him outside the State House last week. He won’t be sanctioned by the Ethics Commission for the erroneous filings because of a grace period recently instituted in response to improper reporting by several other lawmakers.

Carnevale, elected in 2008, is vice chairman of the House Finance Committee. The retired Providence police sergeant ran for re-election unopposed in 2014 and 2012.

It’s the latest scandal involving the leadership team of Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello. The former chairman of the budget-writing House Finance Committee, Democratic Rep. Ray Gallison, quit in May amid a federal investigation.

Asked about Carnevale on the House floor Tuesday, Mattiello declined to say if he should step down from his seat and said he hadn’t yet spoken to Carnevale about whether the report was true.

“If he doesn’t live in the district, I don’t think he should run” for re-election, Mattiello said.

Rhode Island Republican Party Chairman Brandon Bell filed a complaint Tuesday with the Providence Board of Canvassers challenging Carnevale’s voter registration. Bell also called on Mattiello to strip Carnevale of his leadership role.

“Another member of the House leadership is mired in scandal,” Bell wrote in a statement. “Putting a shirt over your face when you spot a television camera is the conduct of a criminal. Speaker Mattiello, we are embarrassed for you.”

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Information from: WPRI-TV, https://www.wpri.com

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