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Whitehouse Criticizes Judicial Nominating Commission; Ducks Question about Providence Police Chief Wiretap (posted December 10, 2000)

Appearing today on WJAR-TV's "10 News Conference," Rhode Island Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse gave his thoughts on running for governor in 2002, the Judicial Nominating Committee, Operation Plunderdome, the Providence Police Department, a wiretap, and racial profiling.

Running for Governor in 2002 -- He indicated that being governor would be a "great opportunity for leadership in Rhode Island." When asked his timetable for a possible announcement, he said he would decide sometime in 2001.

Judicial Nominating Commission -- Whitehouse criticized the Judicial Nominating Commission, which is in charge of screening names for court appointments. He said the commission had not removed politics from the process, but rather had just put politics "under the table" and "not in plain view". He complained that there was no accountability for decisions made by the commission.

Operation Plunderdome -- The Attorney General said his office was continuing its investigation into complaints forwarded to it by the Board of Elections concerning campaign spending by Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci and that it was investigating several Providence police officers.

Providence Police Department -- In regard to the general investigation into the Providence police department, he said that harm had been done to the police department and that this was a matter of concern. Anytime there are allegations that payments were made to get a job or to receive a promotion, it was problematic, he said.

A Possible Wiretap Being Worn by the Providence Police Chief -- In response to a question from reporter Jim Taricani about whether Providence Police Chief Urbano Prignano, Jr. was wearing a wiretap, Whitehouse refused to answer the question.

Racial Profiling -- His office has made good progress in implementing a recently passed racial profiling legislation requiring the state to collect information for purposes of determining whether racial profiling was taking place. Whitehouse indicated that data collection will start around January 1, 2001 and that quarterly reports will be issued to the public.
Copyright 2000Karen Martin Media Services