Huffpost Politics

Rhode Island Speaker's Office Shut Down Amid Probe

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Rhode Island, Providence, State House, State Capitol. (Photo by Education Images/UIG via Getty Images)
Rhode Island, Providence, State House, State Capitol. (Photo by Education Images/UIG via Getty Images)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Law enforcement officials shut down the office of House Speaker Gordon Fox on Friday as part of an investigation by the U.S. attorney's office, the FBI, IRS and state police.

Authorities entered Fox's Statehouse office carrying an evidence bag and empty cardboard boxes Friday morning. Fox's spokesman, Larry Berman, said state police had asked everyone working in the office to leave, but he didn't know why.

Three state police officers stood outside the closed door to the Democratic House speaker's office on Friday.

Fox's car was in the driveway of his home on Providence's East Side. Two men who answered the door there said he wasn't available to speak to a reporter.

Albin Moser, a lawyer who represented Fox in a recent complaint before the state ethics commission, wouldn't comment on Friday's events or say whether he is still representing Fox.

Jim Martin, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office, wouldn't comment when asked whether the House speaker was being investigated. He said two federal search warrants had been executed, but he wouldn't say whether they were connected to Fox.

Fox has represented Providence for more than two decades in the state's part-time General Assembly, and he became the nation's first openly gay House speaker in 2010. He has a private law practice.

In January, Fox agreed to a settlement with the state ethics commission for failing to disclose he had done more than $40,000 in legal work for a Providence economic development agency. Fox acknowledged breaking a law that requires elected officials to annually report whether they received more than $250 in income from a government agency and agreed to pay a $1,500 civil fine.

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Associated Press writers Michelle R. Smith and David Klepper contributed to this report from Providence.

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