Sometimes a politician answers a question in such a way as to put her political activities (and those of other politicians) in a different light. Such was the case when reporter Tim White asked Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo on WPRI’s Newsmakers program about her continued fundraising, despite being term limited as governor:
I’ll have a legislative agenda that I’d like to get passed. All the legislators are on the ballot next year, and I may decide to support or oppose legislators that I think are doing the right thing or holding Rhode Island back. So, you know, there are plenty of reasons to need a campaign account just to govern.
According to WPRI’s Ted Nesi, Raimondo raised $66,000 in the third quarter of the year, giving her $726,000 to expend as she “governs.”
Put this way, doesn’t something seem… well… off about this arrangement? The governor of the state is collecting money from private interests in order to bully other elected officials into doing what she wants, as if the governor is also the director of an insider PAC. A few thousand dollars is a pretty substantial campaign in local legislative races, so a governor with three quarters of a million dollars in the bank and nothing else to spend it on could be a worrying wildcard.
To be sure, we should be skeptical of efforts to restrict political activity through regulation. The powerful will always find ways around the regulations, at least to a greater extent than the powerless can.
That said, it’s worth being aware that this is going on and maintaining a general sense of aversion to it. What the governor of the state is saying is that she’s going to use money given to her by special interests across the country to reach into your local legislative races to influence who represents you in the General Assembly.
Something doesn’t seem right about that.