State Senator Dawson Hodgson (R-North Kingstown) is putting forth legislation today to renew his push to create an independent commission to investigate Rhode Island's investment in 38 Studios, which ultimately left the state on the hook for $100 million after Curt Schilling's game studio went bankrupt in 2012. Hodgson promises to create a bipartisan coalition to bring the bill to a vote early in the 2014 General Assembly session.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Michael Marcello has defended his committee's inquiry into 38 Studios, but outside observers say that a legislative panel can't be expected to probe something that involves members of the General Assembly. House Speaker Gordon Fox, along with former Governor Don Carcieri and other insiders helped pave the way for the deal.
Some believe that Hodgson's motivation to push for a special committee might be related to his own ambitions; he is expected to take a run at a Republican run for attorney general next year.
Hodgson is filing his bill for an independent investigative commission on the first day to pre-file legislation for the 2014 General Assembly session. In a letter to his 112 legislative colleagues, Hodgson writes:
"I know that I am not alone in the belief that the response of our government has been wholly insufficient to the task of delivering answers, accountability, and leadership in the wake of this massive destruction of public resources. Swift enactment of the bill and diligent prosecution of its mandate would vindicate these needs."
"This legislation is patterned upon the select commission created by the General Assembly in 1991 to provide a similar accounting for the RISDIC scandal, and allows wide latitude for exposition of negligence or malfeasance in matters involving transfer of public resources to private hands through various loan guarantee programs."
Hodgson closes his letter to other lawmakers by saying: "Working together, the General Assembly can and must deliver an introspective examination of the 38 Studios affair capable of restoring the public's confidence in our institution to lead this state."
Source: Rhode Island Public Radio