I’ve been saying that Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo’s abuse of power, like Democrat President Barack Obama’s, relies on a level of audacity. To the extent this newer generation of politicians acknowledges that concerns about their behavior exist, the response is essentially, “Of course we can do this.” As illustration, consider an op-ed by William Hurt, the Chairman of the Board of the Rhode Island College Foundation, which hired Raimondo’s Chief Information Officer to a high-paying job that isn’t technically part of government at all.
From the text, published a couple of weeks ago in the Providence Journal:
It is important for Rhode Islanders to know that the board’s decision was based, fundamentally, on the following points:
-The proposal to create the Office of Innovation at RIC was brought to the foundation’s Board of Directors with the support and endorsement of senior officers of Rhode Island College, including the president and the college advancement staff.
-This new office will enrich the academic and career development experiences for students and provide new research opportunities for both students and faculty through hands-on experiences and other resources that no other college in Rhode Island currently has.
-While the foundation has identified sufficient unrestricted, undesignated and discretionary funds to provide the seed money to get the office started, the foundation expects and the new chief innovation officer is charged with securing funding sufficient to restore the foundation’s initial investment fully, as well as to create a self-sustaining office going forward.
-A considerable amount of due diligence was done to ensure that the new Office of Innovation fell within the parameters of the foundation’s mission and 501(c)3 nonprofit status.
That’s all well and good, but it doesn’t address the basic question of this employee’s role within state government. That’s where the problem arises, and Hurt doesn’t bother to address it. The problem isn’t that the RIC Foundation has hired somebody to develop programs within the college, but that the job is actually to “partner with a multitude of stakeholders,” as Hurt puts it, on behalf of the state, all while trying to raise money for his own office at RIC. The conflicts of interest are so clear, here, the avoidance of ethics rules so obvious, that the only way it can possibly slip through is by the pure force of will and political power of the government insiders who are going along with it.