America’s least transparent governor Gina Raimondo continues to face questions over her secret agreement with the Providence Democratic City Committee. Raimondo was forced to release a copy of a two-page document outlining the deal following two weeks of criticism, an ethics complaint, and threats of legislative action after she resisted calls for transparency. The controversy has dominated coverage in Rhode Island, as Raimondo’s penchant for unaccountability continues to raise concerns among voters. Here are some highlights of recent coverage:
The Providence Journal reported on Sunday that Raimondo was forced to release the agreement after being “mired in controversy” for resisting calls to disclose it to the public:
“Mired in controversy over an undisclosed fundraising deal with the Providence Democratic City Committee, Gov. Gina Raimondo’s team on Sunday released the agreement that had set the stage for each of her maxed-out supporters to give $21,000 more to the city Democrats to be spent in consultation with her.
Raimondo had been unwilling — up until this point — to make public the agreement she struck with a city political committee chaired, at the time, by state employee Patrick Ward. Her spokesman David Ortiz said that she would not do so because that would disclose ‘internal party-building’ strategy to the opposition.”
After Raimondo finally released the agreement to the public, WPRI-TV noted that they had been requesting the agreement “since the beginning of the month,” while noting that the agreement gave absolute spending power to Patrick Ward, one of Raimondo’s employees:
WJAR-TV political analyst Wendy Schiller said Ward went “above and beyond” simply expressing his first amendment rights by facilitating the agreement while working directly for Raimondo and claimed the agreement “suggested impropriety or something that was unethical:”
In an editorial that urged Raimondo to come clean about the agreement, The Providence Journal called the controversy “another self-inflicted wound” for Raimondo after previous ethical questions with her administration:
“Now, the governor is dealing with another self-inflicted wound.
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.”