Raimondo and Corporate Cronyism


Leave aside the paperwork of campaign finance.  This, from GoLocalProv, seems like an important, telling detail:

A GoLocal investigation has found that Governor Gina Raimondo’s gubernatorial campaign in 2014 failed to properly report at least one campaign gift from California developer Lance Robbins.

Raimondo held a major campaign event at Robbins’ property —  her gubernatorial campaign kick-off event — and did not report the in-kind donation. When first asked, her campaign claimed that the amount of the gift did not require reporting.

Robbins’s organization, Urban Smart Growth, has recently been awarded $3.6 million from the quasi-public Commerce Corp., an organization that has long been a political arm for Raimondo, with questionable due diligence.

Rhode Islanders should take the lesson to heart.  With Raimondo’s brand of progressive, government-driven economic development, not only do politicians and bureaucrats get to play Monopoly with other people’s money, but they manage to flip the public’s perspective.  Raimondo has been promoting the fact that she’s using her contacts to bring companies to Rhode Island for special deals.

A prerequisite for selling that as a positive action, rather than a possible indication of corruption, is making Rhode Islanders feel as if they don’t have anything to offer without the lure.  Of course the governor has to use government to pay her friends and associates off, in this view, because her friends and associates have more to offer Rhode Island than the state has to offer them.

The first step of this turnabout was progressives’ making the state a less attractive place to live and do business, owing to regulations, taxes, and other factors, like abysmal public education.  But that still doesn’t mean Rhode Islanders don’t have value or rights to self determination, for that matter.  If this process sounds familiar, it may be because labor unions and progressives have accomplished something similar with workers, making government involvement a necessity because, we’re led to believe, employees have no inherent value that they bring to the negotiating table.  It benefits those offering worker-strengthening services when workers see themselves as weak.

In Raimondo’s case, the strategy may not be deliberate, but it’s certainly predictable and convenient for the powerful.  If companies were battling each other to establish in Rhode Island, rather than to escape, government wouldn’t have an excuse to hand out millions of dollars to political friends.  As a simple matter of incentives, which economic condition better serves the Gina Raimondos?