Democrat governor Gina Raimondo has received increased criticism this week for her lack of accountability, raising even more questions for America’s least transparent governor. The Providence Journal published a scathing new editorial blasting Raimondo’s refusal to release details of a joint fundraising agreement she made with the Providence Democratic City Committee, calling on her to “immediately” provide the public with a copy of the deal.
Raimondo’s agreement with the Providence Democratic City Committee has ignited a firestorm of criticism this week due to the fact that the committee had been chaired by an employee of her administration. Not only is Raimondo now facing an ethics complaint, but also a possible response by the state legislature that would force her to unveil her secret agreement. And with the state’s largest paper now calling on her to release a copy of the deal, it’s clear that this issue isn’t going away for Raimondo.
The Providence Journal writes:
“Gina Raimondo was elected governor on a message of shaking up the establishment and doing what needed to be done to fix Rhode Island.
She very quickly, and needlessly, stained that brand in early 2015 by sliding a freshly-resigned Democratic state lawmaker named Donald Lally Jr. into an $87,057-a-year state job, in obvious violation of Rhode Island’s revolving-door law, aimed at preventing people from using public positions to get other state jobs.
After the public caught wind of it and howled, Mr. Lally resigned and eventually was fined $5,000 in a settlement with ethics officials. Ms. Raimondo was left with the after-effects of looking like a politician who plays the same old State House game.
Now, the governor is dealing with another self-inflicted wound.
Republicans have filed an ethics complaint over her curious attempt to take control of the Providence Democratic City Committee.
Here’s the chain of events, as reported by Journal Political Writer Katherine Gregg:
In February 2017, Patrick Ward was elected chairman of the Democratic City Committee.
In June 2017, Mr. Ward received a $71,608-a-year job in the Raimondo administration as chief of program development for the Department of Human Services.
About seven months later, the Democratic City Committee that he chaired signed an ‘agreement of mutual support’ with Ms. Raimondo’s reelection campaign.
Under the deal that was signed, according to Kevin Olasanoye, the executive director of the state Democratic Party, Ms. Raimondo’s campaign will encourage donors who have maxed out with their legal contributions to her — $1,000 — to give another $10,000 to the Providence Democratic City Committee for “party building…”
We do not know exactly what the deal says, however, because the governor and the Providence Democratic City Committee refuse to release it to the public.
Mr. Ward has since resigned his committee chairmanship, but not for this stunt. He got into hot water for posting a meme on social media that some found disparaging to Italian-Americans.
The Republicans argue that ethics laws bar the governor from making outside financial deals with anyone who works under her supervision…
We don’t know exactly what Governor Raimondo had in mind in striking a secretive deal with the Providence Democratic City Committee. It would be in the public interest if she released a copy of the deal immediately. Concealment is not her friend.”