The guessing game that arises with any government crony move is: Why? What’s the quid pro quo? The case of Governor Gina Raimondo’s hiring of state Representative Donald Lally is arguably more difficult than the usual. To be sure, Lally’s been around state government for at least a quarter century, so he’s certainly picked up leverage during that time, but what’s he got to offer Raimondo, especially now that he’s out of office?
Katherine Gregg may provide a piece of the puzzle with her Providence Journal story today:
House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said he recommended Lally for the job based on “years of working with him in the House. I told her he is a very talented individual with a unique skill set… having served in the legislature for 26 years and that he would be a very valuable asset to whatever role he would fulfill on her staff.”
So, the safe money would bet that Lally’s hiring was a favor to Mattiello, which could be inspired simply by long friendship or by the political cachet of being able to get people well-paying jobs. In a system like Rhode Island’s government, with all of the precedent (for example) that’s been set, people will begin to question a politician’s real ability to get things done if he can’t supply his friends with jobs.
The next question is what chip Mattiello cashed in with the governor.