By Ted Nesi and Tim White
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Treasurer Gina Raimondo continued to raise campaign cash at a rip-roaring pace during the first three months of 2013, far outpacing the other leading candidates for the state’s top job.
By Ted Nesi and Tim White
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Treasurer Gina Raimondo continued to raise campaign cash at a rip-roaring pace during the first three months of 2013, far outpacing the other leading candidates for the state’s top job.
Warren will be the special guest at a fundraiser on April 29 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the Rotunda Room at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence, according to an invitation sent Monday. Suggested contributions range from $100 for individuals to $1,000 for hosts.
The fundraiser sports an all-female host committee co-chaired by Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts, Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed. Maryellen Butke, Helena Foulkes, Sandra Whitehouse and Myrth York are among the hosts.
Warren and Reed have a bit of a mutual admiration society. Reed successfully pushed to get Warren, a vocal Wall Street critic, appointed to serve with him on the Senate Banking Committee, while Warren has praised his work on financial issues. Reed is up for re-election next year.
Warren defeated Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown just last November, but she’s already Massachusetts’ senior senator now that John Kerry has resigned to serve as President Obama’s secretary of state. Democratic Congressman Ed Markey is the frontrunner in the campaign to succeed Kerry.
(photo: Warren’s office)
Apparently Democratic treasurers stick together.
Former General Treasurer Frank Caprio is helping to raise money for the campaign of his successor, Gina Raimondo, as she prepares for a possible run for governor in 2014, WPRI.com has confirmed.
Asked in an interview Friday whether Caprio is helping her with fundraising, Raimondo replied: “Is he helping me with fundraising?” After pausing, she said: “He’s … yes.”
Caprio, who placed third when he was the Democratic nominee for governor in 2010, declined to comment when reached by phone on Friday. The former treasurer and state lawmaker is no longer a registered Democrat, WPRI.com revealed last fall.
Smiley’s five-year-old firm CFO Compliance LLC is getting a new name – CFO Consulting Group – and adding a new public affairs practice to go along with its work on financial compliance and fundraising for Democrats. The focus will be on developers and other clients who need to work with municipalities.
The new practice’s initial clients are the City of Providence and the Greater Providence Board of Realtors. Smiley said he’s planning to register as a State House lobbyist for Providence but not the Realtors, who already have a registered lobbyist there.
Smiley told WPRI.com his approach will be different from fixtures of State House lobbying such as former Warwick Mayor Joseph Walsh and former House Speaker Bill Murphy, focusing more on public campaigns along the lines of last year’s successful effort to pass a $25 million affordable housing bond.
Gov. Lincoln Chafee frequently says that the clearest sign he’s running for re-election is the fact that he continues to raise money for his campaign war chest. That makes his final campaign-finance report for 2012 another indication that he plans to stay in the race.
Chafee posted his second-best fundraising quarter since taking office, raising $92,287 from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31 and boosting his campaign’s cash on hand to $315,902 at the close of the year, according to a report filed Thursday with the R.I. Board of Elections. The vast majority of Chafee’s donations – $88,402 – came from individuals.
Chafee’s donors for the fourth quarter included $1,000 from former Republican Party Chairman and Lieutenant Governor Bernard Jackvony; $1,000 from Barrington resident Alison Townsend; $1,000 from Providence Police Union lawyer Joe Rodio; and $1,000 from RDW Group partner Phillip Loscoe. (more…)
By Dan McGowan
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – State lawmakers would be prohibited from accepting campaign contributions during the General Assembly session under legislation introduced by State Rep. Spencer Dickinson.
Republican Michael Riley spent nearly $1 million on his failed campaign to defeat Democratic Congressman Jim Langevin, almost as much as the incumbent spent and almost all of it from his own bank account.
Riley spent a total of $969,943 after entering the race in January, while Langevin spent $1.07 million over the two-year cycle, according to reports filed last week. Riley spent more during the final stretch, laying out $176,199 against Langevin’s $105,803.
Riley, an investor and first-time candidate, gave his campaign $855,200 in personal loans, none of which had been paid back as Nov. 26. He also reported $129,151 in donations and finished the campaign with $8,151 on hand.
The deep-pocketed advocacy group, which provided crucial support to Treasurer Gina Raimondo last year in her push to pass the landmark state pension overhaul, received between $100,000 and $500,000 from a Houston billionaire who was a trader for the ill-fated energy company Enron, The Wall Street Journal revealed Tuesday night.
A spokesman for John Arnold, 38, and his wife, Laura, confirmed their donations to the paper. Arnold founded Centaurus Advisors LLC, a Houston-based hedge fund, with $8 million of his own money in 2002. He closed the fund earlier this year. Arnold’s net worth is estimated at $3 billion by Forbes magazine.
Reached late Tuesday night, EngageRI spokesman John Duffy declined to discuss the Arnold’s financial support. “We respect the privacy of our donors and we continue to do so,” he said. The group is organized as a 501(c)4 and is not required to disclose its donors.
Duffy said EngageRI has received almost $1 million since it was created in the summer of 2011, suggesting the Arnolds provided between one-tenth and half the money EngageRI has raised so far. The group has spent about $740,000 lobbying for the pension changes.
A review by WPRI.com shows the Arnolds also donated directly to Raimondo on May 18.
Cicilline spent a total of $2.4 million over the two-year cycle, while Doherty spent $1.4 million, according to final campaign finance reports filed late Thursday. The campaigns spent nearly equal amounts during the final stretch of the campaign: Cicilline spent $423,294, while Doherty spent $378,018, from Oct. 18 to Nov. 26.
Both campaigns spent the bulk of their money on television commercials and other advertising, along with staff payroll, meals and miscellaneous items, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission. Looked at another way, Cicilline spent $22.11 and Doherty spent $16.96 for each vote they received.
Tens of thousands of dollars continue to pour into the campaign coffers of Democratic Congressman David Cicilline and Republican challenger Brendan Doherty as Election Day draws near in Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District.
Cicilline, who was at a significant financial disadvantage to Doherty as of Oct. 17, appears to be getting significantly more last-minute cash than his opponent as individuals and corporate political action committees – some far from Rhode Island – try to swing the race.
Cicilline has received contributions in recent weeks from PACs associated with a number of companies: Textron ($2,000), Citizens Bank ($1,000), Entergy ($1,000), General Dynamics ($2,000), Verizon ($3,000), Honeywell ($2,500) and CDM Smith ($2,000). Doherty got $1,000 from Home Depot.
Cicilline also got PAC money from organized labor: the Service Employees International Union ($5,000), UNITE HERE ($3,000) and the Rhode Island AFL-CIO ($1,000). Doherty received no union money.
Raimondo raised another $234,800 during the three months ended Sept. 30, boosting the size of her campaign war chest to $1.07 million, according to a report filed late Wednesday night. The Democratic treasurer’s campaign account has so much money it earned $1,017 in interest during the last quarter.
Raimondo’s donations during the third quarter included $1,000 from Citizens Financial Group CEO Ellen Alemany; $1,000 from Emma Bloomberg, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s daughter; $500 from former Fleet Financial CEO Terrence Murray; $500 from former CVS Caremark CEO Tom Ryan; $1,000 from former Service Employees International Union president Andy Stern; $1,250 from investor and education reformer Whitney Tilson; and $4,000 from Campbell’s Soup heiress Hope Van Beuren and her relatives.
Providence Mayor Angel Taveras had $267,163 on hand and Gov. Lincoln Chafee had $242,275 as of Sept. 30.
John Robitaille, the GOP nominee for governor in 2010, received a $1,000 donation on Sept. 4 from Foster Friess, the millionaire conservative donor best-known for almost singlehandedly bankrolled a super PAC that kept Republican Rick Santorum’s presidential hopes alive this year. Robitaille had $3,312 on Sept. 30.
Rhode Islanders have donated $1.3 million to 12 presidential candidates during the 2012 election cycle, and 59% of the money – $769,922 – has gone to the Democratic incumbent, according to an analysis of Federal Election Commission filings by the Center for Responsive Politics.
Republican Mitt Romney has raised $447,199 in Rhode Island, taking 34% of the state’s total donations.
The third- and fourth-biggest recipients were Republicans Ron Paul ($38,350) and – somewhat surprisingly – Rick Santorum ($16,589). Jon Huntsman, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry each got less than $10,000 from Rhode Islanders.
The air war continues in Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District.
Democratic Congressman David Cicilline debuted a new television commercial on Tuesday morning called “Outrageous” that pushes back on charges his Republican challenger Brendan Doherty made in the tough “No Surprises” spot that began running last week. Cicilline’s new ad was apparently finished in the last 24 hours: it quotes a Monday Roll Call article saying “Republicans have gone nuclear on Rep. David Cicilline.”
“When it’s time to push that button, we’ve seen campaigns take one of two tactics: a testimonial from a sexual assault victim criticizing the opposition candidate, or, as in this case, both Republican and Democratic candidates have accused each other of harboring sympathies for pedophiles,” Roll Call’s Abby Livingston wrote in an analysis of Doherty’s latest ad.
A Republican source said Cicilline’s campaign is spending $162,000 on TV commercial time from Tuesday through Sunday. Cicilline’s spokeswoman declined to comment on the record. The new ad is a coordinated buy partly paid for by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
In an email to supporters Tuesday, Cicilline campaign manager Eric Hyers blasted the Republican attacks as “vile.” He also said the company raised significantly more in recent days than the $40,000 goal set by Cicilline in an email appeal he sent supporters last week.
Doherty has reserved $202,000 in TV advertising time for the final two weeks of the race, but campaign manager Ian Prior said last week Doherty will increase that if the Republican beats his fundraising goals. Federal filings show the National Right to Life PAC spent $3,544 on a mailer backing Doherty.
A WPRI 12 poll last month showed Cicilline at 44%, followed by Doherty at 38% and independent David Vogel at 6%, with 10% of voters still undecided. Doherty had more than twice as much cash as Cicilline on Sept. 30. The candidates debated live for the first time a week ago on WPRI 12.
Cicilline’s campaign had $240,962 on hand as of Sept. 30, according to a Federal Election Commission report filed Monday night. Doherty’s campaign had more than twice as much cash on hand: $510,219 as of Sept. 30.
Cicilline raised $266,982 from Aug. 23 to Sept. 30 and spent far more – $498,350 – as he successfully fought off a primary challenge from Anthony Gemma and then began his general-election campaign. Doherty raised $213,787 and spent $312,949 over the same period.
Ciciline’s latest group of donors included
San Francisco Mayor Calif. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Pandora Media CEO Joseph Kennedy and Providence Equity Partners’ Paul Salem. Doherty’s donors included Alan Shawn Feinstein, Providence Equity’s Jonathan Nelson and the Koch Industries PAC.
Cicilline has raised just shy of $2 million since this election cycle began, while Doherty has raised $1.25 million, according to their FEC filings; Cicilline has spent $1.8 million and Doherty has spent $797,118.
Cicilline led Doherty by six points in a WPRI 12 poll released earlier this month. The two candidates meet for their first debate at the Providence Performing Arts Center and live on WPRI 12 Tuesday night at 7 p.m.
• Related: DC Republicans attack Cicilline; Dems’ new TV ad hits Doherty (Oct. 11)
A number of influential city residents will host a campaign fundraiser next month for Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, who is considering a run for governor in 2014.
The fundraiser will be the evening of Oct. 4 by Terry Moran, president of the Cranston-based Anheuser-Busch distributor McLaughlin & Moran Inc., and his wife Patricia at their home on Providence’s East Side. Suggested donations to the mayor, a first-term Democrat, are $250, $500 or $1,000.
Among those on the host committee are Arnold “Buff” Chace Jr., the prominent developer; Bert Crenca, artistic director of AS220; Angus Davis, founder of Swipely; Stephen Hourahan, senior adviser to Gov. Lincoln Chafee (Taveras’s ally and potential rival in 2014); and Eugene Lee, the Tony Award-winning set designer for Trinity Repertory Company and NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.”
Taveras raised $114,810 during the three months ended June 30, finishing the quarter with $237,000 in his campaign war chest, slightly more than Chafee’s $233,000 but far less than Treasurer Gina Raimondo’s $858,000. The mayor’s chief fundraiser is Brett Smiley.
The deep-pocketed 501(c)4 advocacy group that helped pass last year’s pension overhaul sent out campaign fliers this month in three districts with closely contested Democratic primary races for General Assembly.
Two of the mailers attack incumbent Reps. Spencer Dickinson of South Kingstown and Rene Menard of Lincoln for voting against the law. Dickinson’s opponent is South Kingstown Councilwoman Kathleen Fogarty, who backed the law, and Menard’s is Cumberland Councilwoman Mia Ackerman, a staunch supporter of the changes whose website specifically links her candidacy with Treasurer Gina Raimondo’s policies.
(The two women use almost identical language on their respective campaign sites, telling voters they’ll work for “your interests” rather than “special interests.”)
U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse says activists should take a page from the playbooks of 1980s anti-apartheid campaigners to put pressure on corporations which use their cash to support shadowy political groups.
“I think we can work this a little bit the way we worked the apartheid issue years ago, in which states began to say, ‘Look, we’re just not going to invest our money in countries that invest in South Africa and that support apartheid,’” Whitehouse, D-R.I., said Tuesday on a conference call organized by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.
He continued: “In the same way, state treasurers and pension funds and investor groups across the country could say, ‘We’re just not going to put our money into companies that support this kind of dark-money secret influence. If they need to get their work done this way they’re probably up to no good, and we’re not going to put public money behind them.’”
Rhode Island had a state law requiring divestment from companies that do business in South Africa until 1994, when it was repealed after Nelson Mandela won power. Another law, first enacted in 1987, regulates state investments in companies that operate in Northern Ireland; it remains on the books.
Whitehouse was discussing efforts to beef up campaign finance regulations in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. Last month Republicans filibustered his proposed Disclose Act, which would require groups that spend more than $10,000 on swaying voters to disclose their donors.
Whitehouse suggested enacting the Disclose Act could indirectly help lower Rhode Island’s 10.9% unemployment rate, by reducing political support for lawmakers who oppose financing infrastructure spending with higher taxes on the wealthy. He also called for more IRS and SEC regulation of campaign finance.
(photo: Lingjing Bao/Talk Radio News Service, via Flickr)
The treasurer raised $258,155 during the second quarter while racking up just $19,984 in campaign expenses, according to her latest filing with the R.I. Board of Elections.
Raimondo’s already formidable campaign war chest jumped from $617,922 on April 30 to $857,903 on June 30. The first-term Democrat and former venture capitalist is widely expected to run for governor in 2014, capitalizing on her successful push for the state’s landmark pension overhaul last year.
Raimondo now has far more cash available than Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, a Democrat who had $237,239 on hand as of June 30, and incumbent Gov. Lincoln Chafee, an independent who had $233,108. Unlike her two rivals, the treasurer reported no small-dollar contributions.
Angel Taveras raised $114,810 during the second quarter and spent $32,427 on campaign expenses, according to his latest filing with the R.I. Board of Elections. The first-term Democrat’s fundraising prowess is being closely watched amid speculation about whether he could run for governor in 2014.
The size of Taveras’s campaign war chest jumped from $154,857 on April 30 to $237,239 on June 30, increasing his cash on hand by $82,382 in just three months. He now has slightly more available than Governor Chafee, who ended the quarter with $233,108. Brett Smiley is the mayor’s chief fundraiser.
Taveras received a number of intriguing contributions during the second quarter, including $1,000 from Engage RI PAC, the pension-reform group closely associated with his potential Democratic rival Treasurer Gina Raimondo. He also got $200 from Kerry King, the Republican who ran against Raimondo in 2010.
Other Taveras donors with familiar names were Richard Bready, Dennis DiPrete, Alan Hassenfeld, Patrick Lynch, Clay Rockefeller and Dominick Ruggerio. The mayor’s biggest campaign expenses included $3,752 spent on catering from Venda Ravioli on Federal Hill.
Taveras wasn’t the only city politician who raised a lot of dough during the spring. On the Providence City Council, David Salvatore’s war chest grew by $10,824 and Seth Yurdin’s rose by $6,021, their filings showed.
The governor boosted his campaign war chest to $233,108 during the three months ended June 30, up from $208,566 on April 30, according to his latest filing with the R.I. Board of Elections.
Chafee raised $43,980 during the second quarter and spent $17,699 on campaign expenses. Among those who gave the governor $500 each were Pat Rogers, his former chief of staff; Mike Trainor, his former spokesman; and David Gilden, who was replaced as the EDC’s general counsel in the wake of the 38 Studios debacle.
Gilden’s replacement, attorney Jonathan Savage, also gave Chafee $500. Other contributors included the lobbyists Rick McAuliffe, Gerald Harrington and Robert Goldberg, and prominent businesspeople Arnold Chace, Jim DeRentis, Brad Dimeo, Bill Gilbane, Jeff Grybowski, Timothy Horan, Diane Hurley, Dennis Keefe and Michael Ryan.
Chafee still owed himself $1.61 million from loans he made to his 2010 gubernatorial campaign as of June 30.
Chafee, an independent, has sidestepped questions about whether he will run for a second term in 2014, though during a February appearance on “Newsmakers” he said: “I’m raising money, and that’s really the test of if you’re serious about running.” He added: “And no one likes that, so…”
Cicilline’s allies slammed Doherty’s campaign this week for accepting $10,000 in February from the Citizens United Political Victory Fund, the PAC affiliated with the group behind the famous U.S. Supreme Court case striking down limits on campaign contributions.
Doherty’s campaign responded by offering to return the Citizens United money and the rest of his PAC cash – if Cicilline does so, too. Federal Election Commission records show Cicilline has collected $388,256 from PACs and other non-party groups, four times more than Doherty, who has gotten $92,000.
Cicilline spokeswoman Nicole Kayner didn’t respond directly to the proposal. ”This is more political double-speak from the Doherty campaign,” she told WPRI.com. “This is not about a group supporting one candidate or another. This is about whether or not we are going to allow secret, corporate money into our elections with no disclosure or limits.”
The health care ruling wasn’t the only major decision the U.S. Supreme Court handed down late last month. On June 25, the high court’s five conservative justices struck down a Montana law limiting campaign spending by corporations to the dismay of Citizens United opponents.
By coincidence, the following day Governor Chafee signed into law the new campaign finance disclosure legislation [pdf] championed by Rep. Chris Blazejewski, D-Providence, and backed by Rhode Island’s top three elected officials: Lincoln Chafee, Gordon Fox and M. Teresa Paiva Weed.
What, if anything, does the Montana decision mean for Rhode Island’s new law? In an email, Blazejewski said the law is meant for the post-Citizens United landscape reflected in the justices’ latest ruling:
The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the Montana case makes Rhode Island’s new disclosure law more important than ever. The Supreme Court in the Montana case upheld the central outcome in Citizens United, namely that corporations, unions, and other outside groups – including and especially Super PACs – can spend limitless amounts of money influencing our elections. With the Supreme Court’s clear statement that it will not reconsider this damaging decision, Rhode Island’s new disclosure law responds by providing for enhanced disclosure requirements, as expressly contemplated by the Supreme Court, that seek to shine a light and provide greater transparency on the potentially limitless spending of outside groups in our elections.
The new law – which includes a requirement that the final four seconds of independent groups’ political TV ads list its major donors – takes effect immediately, with the first disclosures due by Aug. 1.
• Related: Q&A: How RI’s new Super PAC disclosure rules would work (Feb. 16)
(photo: Ted Nesi/WPRI)
Congressman David Cicilline is shelling out plenty of cash as he fights to keep his U.S. House seat.
Cicilline’s campaign has spent $831,932 over the last 18 months, using more than half the nearly $1.6 million in contributions he’s collected over the same period, according to a report he filed Sunday night with the Federal Election Commission.
Brendan Doherty, Cicilline’s Republican challenger and the frontrunner in the 1st District race, has spent $312,303 on his campaign, or about a third of the $931,448 in donations he’s collected since entering the race in May 2011, according to his FEC filing.
During the second quarter Cicilline spent $164,486, paying $15,076 to local campaign-finance expert Brett Smiley’s company; $13,500 to Rolla Group, a D.C. Democratic fundraising firm; $11,303 to Washington’s Feldman Group for polling; and $8,500 to “Lively Experiment” host Dyana Koelsch for communications help.
Gemma made a personal loan of $150,000 to his Democratic congressional campaign on June 30, he disclosed Sunday night in a Federal Election Commission filing. He also donated $42,263 to it and collected $50,373 from others during the second quarter, finishing with $164,343 on hand.
The new $150,000 loan is on top of $193,039 Gemma still owes himself from his 2010 campaign, when he came in second to David Cicilline in the Democratic primary. He now owes himself $343,039 for his two campaigns, the filing shows.
Cicilline finished the three months ended June 30 with $836,325 on hand after raising $299,423, his filing showed. Republican Brendan Doherty – who, unlike Cicilline, doesn’t have a primary challenger – ended the period with $669,350 on hand after raising $215,255, according to his filing.
Cicilline’s two challengers now have a combined $833,693 on hand, only about $3,000 less than the incumbent Democrat, who continues to face a tough battle for reelection. Since the start of last year Cicilline has raised nearly $1.6 million, while Doherty has raised $931,448 since he started in May 2011.
Congressman Cicilline is having the tastiest fundraiser ever tonight in Washington, Politico reports:
FRESH LOBSTER, CASH FOR CICILLINE: Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) will be feted with “lobster flown in fresh” among other New England delicacies at a fundraiser tonight at the D.C. home of Gary Jankowski and Michael Schaeffer. And Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) is expected. Minimum contribution is $250, with “sponsor” level participation going for $2,500.
The invitation [pdf] describes the event as a “Taste of Rhode Island Reception” and says guests will be served “lobster flown in fresh this morning, Rhode Island-style calamari, and traditional New England clam chowder.” Host Jankowski is apparently a Realtor in D.C. who went to Boston College.
Cicilline’s campaign sent supporters an email blast earlier Wednesday that said the congressman is still $7,450 short of his fundraising goal for the second quarter, which ends at midnight Saturday.
• Related: Chart: The campaign finances of Cicilline, Doherty and Gemma (May 2)
The second half of Ed Fitzpatrick’s Sunday Projo column was full of insights into a last-minute effort by State House insiders to kill or water down two high-profile transparency bills: Rep. Christopher Blazejewski’s campaign finance disclosure bill and Rep. Michael Marcello’s badly needed public records reform.
In both cases, the roadblock is Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed’s chamber. First, on Blazejewski’s disclosure bill (which she co-spsonored):
The legislation is backed by groups such as Common Cause Rhode Island and the League of Women Voters, and it has produced an unlikely combination of opponents. John M. Marion, Common Cause’s executive director, said the Rhode Island Affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union joined Rhode Island Right to Life in fighting the bill, and legislators had told him the Catholic Church and organized labor lobbied against it.
But it’s worth remembering that the legislation was announced at a State House news conference involving the state’s three most powerful officials: Governor Chafee, House Speaker Gordon D. Fox and Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed. “The Senate president has been a strong supporter of this bill from the beginning, and I’m hopeful the Senate will act to pass it in the next couple of days,” Blazejewski said.
More troublingly, Governor Chafee – who came to office pledging to focus on Rhode Island’s “ABCs” (“assets, budget and corruption”) – is now joining those who want to keep Rhode Islanders in the dark about the actions taken in their names. Chafee is opposing not only Marcello’s public records bill, but even two weak Senate alternatives:
The House’s Marcello said he and the Senate’s Sheehan met Friday afternoon to try to craft a compromise that would be presented to the House and Senate in the next few days. The compromise would, for example, explicitly state that employment contracts for government employees must be disclosed, but it would not require disclosure of e-mails and other correspondence to and from elected officials in their official capacity.
In another 11th-hour development, Governor Chafee’s office contends that the legislation is too vague in establishing a balancing test to determine whether disclosing a record would be a “clearly unwarranted” invasion of privacy, Marcello said. But he said the bill’s balancing test mirrors the federal Freedom of Information Act, which has been precisely defined by years of federal case law.
Chafee’s commitment to open government is looking increasingly rhetorical – sighing that he wishes he could make the EDC’s 38 Studios meetings open but was told not to by its lawyer. Public records reform is becoming another example of such passivity. Furthermore, it’s been clear for many months that the public records bills were going to get serious attention this session – if none of these three meet the governor’s standards, where is his alternative bill? Or is he tacitly saying he’s actually fine with Rhode Island’s lousy public records law at present? Moreover, when has Chafee put real political capital behind policies to address the third leg of his “ABCs”?
The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on Marcello’s public records bill this afternoon, with a floor vote to follow Tuesday. But the Senate hasn’t scheduled any committee or floor votes on public records as of this writing. The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to take up Blazejewski’s bill and Sheehan’s weaker public records bill on Monday. (Even Marcello’s bill, by the way, is losing some of its teeth – emails are no longer included, for example.)
In fairness, the Senate Judiciary Committee already has other important business on its plate for Monday – such as awarding court magistrate gigs to former state Sen. Chuck Levesque (who less than three months ago came to the rescue of Paiva Weed’s deputy Dominick Ruggerio when he was arrested for DUI) and John Flynn (legal counsel to Speaker Fox and former steward of West Warwick’s pension fund).
• Related: RI Senate fast-tracks public records bill you’ve never heard of (June 10)
(photo: Brown University)
U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., an architect of the McCain-Feingold law, has been talking with Whitehouse among others for a couple of months about Whitehouse’s proposed DISCLOSE Act that would require more information from political donors, The Hill reports:
“I’ve been having discussions with Sen. [Sheldon] Whitehouse [D-R.I.] and a couple others on the issue,” McCain told The Hill. …
Whitehouse said he is excited about the prospect of having McCain as an ally.
“He has a really remarkable record of courage and dedication in this area, so it’s a question of working to make sure the technical issues he wants to address and the technical issues that we want to address make a match and we can find something to agree on,” Whitehouse said. “We are beginning those discussions, but they’ve come to no conclusion yet, other than they are going forward amicably.” …
McCain’s support would boost [the legislation's] prospects immediately.
Meanwhile, Politico reports on the junior senator’s efforts to push stalled cybersecurity legislation:
With no sign of a solution to a partisan Senate impasse on two competing cybersecurity bills from Joe Lieberman and John McCain, it seems the best chance for Senate passage of a cyber bill this year lies with other senators who are now trying to steer the debate. Sens. Lindsey Graham and Sheldon Whitehouse are working together to find a compromise between the two bills. And Whitehouse, along with Sens. Jon Kyl, Barbara Mikulski and Roy Blunt, plans to hold a classified briefing for senators to discuss the similarities and differences ….
Meanwhile, Whitehouse is looking like a lock for reelection in November – this week 538′s Nate Silver put the odds of him winning a second term at 99%. (That’s not a typo.) But Republican Barry Hinckley is still gamely trying to make a race out of it, sending press releases like this one today: “Senate Democrats Refuse To Offer a Budget Resolution For Third Straight Year.”
It looks safe to say Gina Raimondo will keep her crown as Rhode Island’s best-funded politician.
The treasurer received $101,965 worth of political contributions during the first three months of this year, according to a filing with the R.I. Board of Elections. That’s a big bump from the fourth quarter of 2011, when Raimondo raised a relatively modest $35,130.
Raimondo’s campaign war chest totaled $617,922 as of March 31, up from $528,095 on hand as of Dec. 31. Among those who donated to her was Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, N.J., a rising star in the Democratic Party who roomed with Raimondo’s husband at Yale Law School. Booker gave Raimondo $1,000 on March 8.
Raimondo recently hired Jackie Baginski as her new fundraiser. Barring a monster quarter by one of her fellow state politicians, she’ll still have a big lead in the money race. Raimondo’s closest competitor is former Attorney General Patrick Lynch, who had $335,711 on hand as of March 31.
Another Democrat who raised plenty of cash from January through March was House Speaker Gordon Fox. He received $96,280 worth of contributions, boosting his war chest to $231,593 as of March 31. Fox held his major fundraiser of the year on Jan. 26 at the Providence Marriott Downtown.
Among the familiar faces who gave money to Fox were Ernie Almonte, Frank Anzeveno, Larry Berman, George Caruolo, Patrick T. Conley, Joseph DeAngelis, Mark Dingley,Charlie Fogarty, Doug Gablinske, Christopher Gasbarro, Bob Goldberg, Alan Hassenfeld, Diane Hurley, Dennis Keefe, Ned Levine, Bill Lynch, A. Ralph Mollis, Francis X. McMahon, Bill Murphy, M. Teresa Paiva Weed, Dominick Ruggerio, Joe Shekarchi, Neil Steinberg, John Taylor, Joseph Walsh, John Hazen White, Tim Williamson and Gayle Wolf.
Fox also received $800 from the National Rifle Association’s Political Victory Fund political action committee.
This post has been updated and expanded.
Engage Rhode Island, the deep-pocketed group that successfully pushed passage of the new pension law, raised $12,650 for its new political action committee and made no contributions during the first three months of this year.
EngageRI PAC had $14,069 on hand as of March 31, according to a report filed with the R.I. Board of Elections. The group donated $6,000 to the General Assembly’s top six Democrats last year and organizers have said it will provide support for legislators who voted for the pension overhaul.
EngageRI PAC’s first-quarter donors included Bernard Buonanno Jr., a senior partner at Riparian Partners, which was purchased last year by Oppenheimer & Co.; Ted Long, a lawyer and former top aide to U.S. Sen. Jack Reed; Terrence Murray, the former chairman of FleetBoston bank; and a number of others who supported Engage RI’s original 501(c)4.
• Related: EngageRI donates $1,000 each to top six in General Assembly (Feb. 1)
An earlier version of this post incorrectly said the EngageRI PAC donor is Bernard Buonanno III, a managing director at private-equity firm Nautic Partners; his father, Bernard Buonanno Jr., is the donor.
Whitehouse will donate to charity the $2,000 his campaign received last year from Shervin Neman, a Los Angeles hedge-fund manager, a spokesman told WPRI.com on Wednesday night.
The Securities and Exchange Commission accuses Neman of taking more than $7.5 million from investors as part of “an ongoing Ponzi scheme that targeted members of the Persian-Jewish community in Los Angeles.”
Neman contributed the $2,000 to Whitehouse on May 9, 2011, the same month he gave $35,800 to the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee. An Obama spokesman told Politico that money will be refunded and held in escrow to compensate victims of Neman’s alleged fraud.
(photo: Whitehouse campaign)