In late March, I highlighted a post on RI Future celebrating a march on the Pawtucket home of Democrat state representative David Coughlin, who sponsored legislation to require more cooperation between Rhode Island law enforcement and federal immigration officials. At the time, I made a note to look into the group behind the march, and it proved to be just another one of the many, many groups that pop up in Rhode Island, funded largely through the same stream.
According to Steve Ahlquist’s report, the key organizer appears to have been Fuerza Laboral, whose executive director, Heiny Maldonado is, I believe, the one pictured holding the sign reading, “Your constituents put you there. Your constituents can take you ‘OUT’,” as well as a sign reading, ironically, “Stop fascism now.”
As one typically finds, the group’s list of “institutional partners and funders” leans heavily toward organized labor union groups. Also on the list are a variety of foundations, from the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation (Vermont) to the more-overt Left Tilt Fund (California), which gave the group $10,000 per year for a few years. In 2015, the Fuerza Laboral collected just under $210,000 and spent about 54% on employees.
Investigating the Left’s activities, one discovers a lot of these groups, even in a small state like Rhode Island, covering just about every political issue out there, all of them well funded and with staffs of paid activists. Measure them against the handful of conservative groups that progressives love to present as some sort of hidden force affecting the state for the benefit of outside donors, and it isn’t even close.
This is the context in which Rhode Islanders should consider supposed “good government” reforms that seek to trip up grassroots candidates and small groups with campaign finance regulations that expose their donors. The progressives’ funders have a well-established channel (much of it going right from taxpayers, through labor unions as dues, and back into politics and activism).
Exposing every small local donor of non-Leftist groups and politicians just gives the progressive network more homes on which to march and properties to photograph for intimidation purposes.