Ralph Mollis may be on his way out for now, but it would appear he doesn’t want to burn too many bridges, just in case. According to the Providence Journal, outgoing Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis has determined that former Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch (who represents a parade of horribles including Caesar’s Palace and Monsanto) did not violate the state lobbying laws in his interactions with current AG Peter Kilmartin by not registering as a lobbyist.
Under Rhode Island law, a person must register as a lobbyist if he or she is being paid to promote, oppose or influence any policymaking decisions or actions by the executive branch. Lawyers are exempt if they are “participating in an administrative or judicial proceeding.”
So if the attorney general is proceeding against your client in a civil, criminal, or administrative matter, you can defend your client in that action. That’s fine. But this is part of Lynch’s rationale to the Secretary of State;
“All of my interactions with the attorney general … have involved federal, state or multi-state legal issues,” Lynch wrote in a 6-page letter to Mollis Dec. 1. “All of my interactions … have been as an attorney representing a client who has an interest in a pending or proposed legal matter.”
Yeah . . . lobbying.
We first covered this story last month when The New York Times took notice. The New York Times has been covering the increasing influence of lobbyists on state attorneys general — “Lobbyists, Bearing Gifts, Pursue Attorneys General.” So this is a new front we have to keep our eyes on.