PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Law enforcement officials raided the office and home of House Speaker Gordon Fox on Friday as part of an investigation by the U.S. attorney's office, FBI, IRS and state police.
Officials would not say who or what was being investigated, but authorities worked for hours inside the Democratic House speaker's Statehouse office while state police troopers stood outside.
Authorities entered the 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.
At around 4 p.m., a dozen authorities exited Fox's office carrying boxes and other items.
Several news outlets reported that Fox returned to his home on the East Side of Providence on Friday afternoon, shortly after FBI agents removed boxes from his house. He did not comment.
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.
A spokeswoman for Democratic Gov. Lincoln Chafee said he wasn't commenting on the investigation.
"He has been briefed on the situation, and he continues to be updated by R.I. State Police Colonel Steven O'Donnell," Faye Zuckerman wrote in an email.
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.
Albin Moser, a lawyer who represented Fox in the recent complaint before the state ethics commission, wouldn't comment on Friday's events or say whether he is still representing Fox.
Jason Grammitt of the state ethics commission said the office wasn't involved in the investigation but wouldn't comment on whether its staff had referred anything from its earlier investigation to federal or state authorities.
Associated Press writers Michelle R. Smith and David Klepper contributed to this report from Providence.