Let’s dispense with the minor observation of today’s Political Scene in the Providence Journal:
Rhode Islanders contributed [to Gina Raimondo’s campaign fund] more than any other geographic group — a total of $440,557 between Jan. 1 and June 30 to Raimondo’s anticipated bid for reelection, according to her most recent filings with the state Board of Elections. She banked another $23,025 from Rhode Island-based PACs, such as the RI Laborers PAC and the Hospital Association of Rhode Island.
Isn’t this kind of expected? In fact, isn’t the more-newsworthy point something that Katherine Gregg never mentions: namely, that Raimondo has received roughly 60% of her donations, this year, from people out of state? I can’t help but feel that if Raimondo were a Republican the Providence Journal’s question would be the same as mine: Whom is this woman serving? A big majority of Raimondo’s political income, so to speak, comes from people out of state. How central can the state’s interests actually be to her?
The more-intriguing observation (which may help to answer the first) comes from this:
Also among Raimondo’s first-quarter contributors is Peter G. Peterson, a one-time U.S. Commerce secretary and CEO of prominent companies including Lehman Brothers before founding the private equity firm Blackstone Group, which he grew “into a global leader in alternative investments,″ according to his online biography.
This may be mostly a story about how small the world of investment elites actually is, but as I’ve detailed before, Blackstone purchased the parent company of Wexford — of I-195-subsidy fame — in 2015 and spun off the Wexford component in 2016. It would go beyond the scope of my resources to investigate the amount of profit these transactions created and sort out the timing of Raimondo’s Commerce RI dealings with Wexford, but it’s telling nonetheless.
Regardless of the specifics, one could easily summarize that the governor Rhode Island receives a substantial majority of her political donations from people outside of the state that she governs, and some not-insignificant number of her donors are conspicuously connected to deals that she makes as the governor. These associations sure ought to raise more questions than those posed by a weekly political-interest column.