Rhode Island Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo is facing new controversy for her ties to an investment firm implicated in an alleged violation of pay-to-play rules. Oaktree Capital has reportedly agreed to pay a $100,000 fine as part an agreement with the SEC arising out of a senior employee’s impermissible contribution to Raimondo’s gubernatorial campaign in 2014.
Raimondo’s State Investment Commission invested heavily in an Oaktree fund, committing up to $20 million. According to the SEC’s report on the matter, Oaktree employees “made campaign contributions” to Raimondo while she “had influence over selecting investment advisers for public pension plans.”
With Raimondo’s questionable ties to former Providence Mayor Joe Paolino and to Thornton law firm attorneys and her well-known transparency issues, it’s no surprise that Raimondo would accept and be forced to refund a tainted contribution. As questions continue to pile up around Raimondo’s administration, she continues to show Rhode Islanders that she can’t be trusted to lead.
“The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has fined a California firm $100,000 after one of its executives tried to make a donation to Gov. Gina Raimondo’s campaign in 2014 despite doing business with the state retirement fund.
A senior employee of Oaktree Capital Group LLC sent a donation of $1,000 to Raimondo’s campaign in September 2014, which the SEC said violated its ban on making ‘pay-to-play’ political contributions to officials who oversee state investment funds, according to an order dated Tuesday. The SEC also flagged donations Oaktree employees made in California.
Oaktree did not admit or deny the allegations, but agreed to pay the six-figure civil penalty as part of a settlement. The SEC order was first reported by the website GoLocalProv.
R.I. Board of Elections records show the Oaktree employee, Caleb Kramer, made the donation on Sept. 15, 2014, and Raimondo’s campaign refunded it the next month, on Oct. 24. Oaktree’s website lists Kramer as a managing director and portfolio manager at the firm…
Raimondo’s campaign did deposit a $150 donation in 2012 from another Oaktree employee, Jeffrey Nordhaus. There was no immediate explanation for why that contribution was accepted.
Meeting minutes show the State Investment Commission voted in 2011, when Raimondo was in her first year as general treasurer, to commit up to $20 million to an Oaktree fund over 10 years…
In its order, the SEC described the provision Oaktree allegedly violated as ‘a prophylactic rule designed to address pay-to-play abuses involving campaign contributions made by certain investment advisers or their covered associates to government officials who are in a position to influence the selection of investment advisers to manage government client assets, including public pension fund assets.’”