Raimondo-IGT Shows Some Campaign Finance Rules Are Good


Having posted this morning on the problem with overly aggressive campaign finance laws, I should point out the latest evidence pointing in the other direction.  This news about casino-game-company IGT’s big contribution to the Democratic Governor’s Association (DGA) shows that some level of transparency is a good thing, indeed, especially considering that the DGA has been bragging about its record fundraising under Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo’s leadership:

Records show that IGT donated $150,000 to the Democratic Governors Association in the last six months, while Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo was leading the group as chairwoman and former IGT Chairman Donald Sweitzer was serving as treasurer.

The contributions came while the Raimondo administration was negotiating a 20-year, no-bid Lottery contract extension with IGT. Twin River, which has led opposition to the proposed contract extension, donated $100,000 to the Democratic Governors Association on Feb. 28.

The association said Tuesday that it had broken its previous fundraising record during the first six months of the year.

Campaign finance regulations can become a way for political insiders to trip up newcomers.  They also allow activists to create the impression of improper relationships based on the likelihood of people knowing each other in a small state like Rhode Island.

That said, the governor’s bringing in a giant donation for a political organization that she leads while also preparing a long-term, no-bid deal with the donor company looks a lot like a quid pro quo.

  • Joe Smith

    It’s more than just the IGT donation; it’s payback to Sweitzer for being a major contributer/bundler, etc. Recall in 2011 is when Eric Holder’s DOJ ruled in favor of non-sports online betting that was a major windfall for GTECH (now IGT) when Sweitzer was CEO and had been on the DNC policy committee.

    Sweitzer most recently served as Chairman of IGT Global Solutions Corporation, the world’s leading end-to-end gaming company. Previously, Sweitzer worked as political director and finance director at the Democratic National Committee. He also served as an advisor to elected officials including Senators Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) and Howard Metzenbaum (D-OH). Sweitzer lives in Rhode Island

    If you want some irony, when PA was set to award its huge lottery contract a few years ago, IGT filed a complaint the RFP was “biased to one company (Scientific Games)” – and now they want a no-bid situation here.

    I was thinking Gina could have just had the the RFP written in a way to favor IGT, but I’m guessing Sweitzer et al want the certainty and Gina wants to keep favor and positive image at the national level so she is taking the hit locally because, well, she doesn’t care about her local image.

    Waiting for the next WSJ article on this to knock her down..