- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 10, 2017

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - A former lawmaker agreed to a $5,000 fine on Tuesday and acknowledged he broke Rhode Island’s so-called revolving door law by taking a job in the Raimondo administration a few months after he left his elected position.

Former Rep. Donald Lally agreed to the settlement with the Rhode Island Ethics Commission.

The Democrat from Narragansett stepped down in April 2015 from the House seat he held for more than 25 years. Four months later he took a job as small business liaison in the office of Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo.

Lally acknowledged in Tuesday’s agreement that taking the new job broke the “revolving door” provision in the state ethics code that prohibits legislators from accepting state employment within one year of leaving office.

He was criticized at the time by the state Republican Party and the good government group Common Cause, which said it was a problem for members of the General Assembly to use their office as an advantage in seeking state jobs.

Lally resigned the post in Raimondo’s office in April 2016.

Lally, a lawyer, told WPRO-AM on Tuesday that he thought he could have done a great job in the position and that it was a mistake not to ask for an advisory opinion.

“It didn’t occur to me,” Lally said.

Neither Lally nor the governor’s office sought the commission’s advice before Lally was hired by the governor, said commission staff attorney Jason Gramitt.

“We wouldn’t be here today if he had sought an advisory opinion from the ethics commission,” Gramitt said. “It would have said ‘Don’t do it.’”

The commission prosecutor recommended that Lally pay a $10,000 fine, but the commission agreed to lower the fine to $5,000, Gramitt said.

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