What Are Raimondo Campaign Donors Buying from Out of State?


Shortly after adding the certification of school bus drivers to my running list of tasks at which Rhode Island government is failing, my morning reading brought to my attention multiple articles about Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo’s big fundraising take in the first quarter of this calendar year.  Here’s WPRI’s Ted Nesi:

Raimondo continues to demonstrate a fundraising prowess rarely seen in Rhode Island politics, having raised nearly $3 million since becoming governor and millions more before that when she was general treasurer. The state’s last two-term governor, Republican Don Carcieri, had about $275,000 on hand at the same point during his third year in office.

Want a fun fact?  According to the helpful spreadsheets that one can download from the state’s campaign finance search tool, so far in 2017, only 31% of the $570,110 the governor has raised came from people with addresses within Rhode Island.  That does represent a little bit of a change.  Going back to 2009 (the earliest available for her) brings Raimondo’s in-state percentage up to 51%.  Over those seven-plus years, by the way, the governor of Rhode Island has averaged a $541 donation from people out of state, but only $406 from donors in the state.

For comparison’s sake, Cranston’s Republican Mayor Allan Fung, presumed to be Raimondo’s most likely GOP challenger in 2018, has collected 99% of his $30,109 campaign donations so far in 2017 from people with in-state addresses.  If it seems unfair to compare a governor with a mayor, turn to the fundraising record of former Republican Governor Donald Carcieri.  He raised 89% of all of his campaign money from people in Rhode Island, and Rhode Island donors gave him an average $427 donation, versus $397 from each out-of-state-donor.

So what are Raimondo’s out-of-state donors buying with their money?  I’m sure their motivations are manifold, but I can’t help but notice that Wexford Science & Technology is back in the news, having received approval for $13.5 million in taxpayer incentives to do business in RI.  As I highlighted back in December, the interactions of Wexford, the Brookings Institution, and other private organizations are certainly, let’s say, interesting, as is the overlap with Raimondo’s donor base.

  • BasicCaruso

    “Want a fun fact?”

    That is fun… so what percentage of the donors for RICFP are from out-of-state? How does that break down in percentage of dollars raised in versus out-of-state? What are those out-of-state donors buying with their money?


    The growth of such [nonprofit 501(c)(3)] organizations, which can give wealthy, anonymous donors, often from other states, an opportunity to influence local policy decisions, has sparked a nationwide debate. The question, in essence, becomes: Whose agenda are they promoting when they present their views to policy makers?

    “There is an issue of transparency,” said John Marion, executive director for Common Cause Rhode Island, itself a nonprofit that discloses donors who have contributed $1,000 or more.

    “It’s a fair question to ask: Where does the money come from?” Marion said. “And is it part of a sort of largely ideological agenda to reshape the scope of government?”

  • Mike678

    Some people just can’t stand that views other than those they prefer are allowed. I guess if they could argue their position with facts they’d be more open to differing views.

    • BasicCaruso

      I actually think it’s a valid question to ask, both of the governor and of the RICFP. The major difference being that we know who is influencing Raimondo whereas we’re left to wonder what agenda the RICFP is paid to promote.

      Justin appears to think out-of-state cash influences everyone but himself. What’s that they say about glass houses?

      • Mike678

        Any question is valid. Answers, however….

        BTW, the major difference isn’t as you state. The major difference is Raimando directly influences us through policy implementation. Knowing who gives her money is transparency as we can then understand who she is either beholden to…or supports her current positions. Think tanks and other organizations, like RICFP, advocate for policies through ideas…arguments if you will. Premises, conclusion, facts. People have a choice to listen or not. Not so when Raimando acts….

        Many on the left…and sometimes right…want donor lists to organizations they want to muzzle so that they can use their minions to harass, intimidate and so forth to shut down free speech. Harassment you recently defended in a recent post, no?

        • BasicCaruso

          So if Justin is secretly being paid to deny climate change, that’s of no concern? Pay no attention to the man behind that curtain!

          The secretive funders behind America’s conservative movement directed around $125m (£82m) over three years to groups spreading disinformation about climate science and committed to wrecking Barack Obama’s climate change plan, according to an analysis of tax records.

          The amount is close to half of the anonymous funding disbursed to rightwing groups, underlining the importance of the climate issue to US conservatives…

          “All these corporations that were getting bad press realised they can still fund conservative thinktanks,” Dunlap said. “Exxon or BP can still fund one of these things while doing all these great things on climate change to reduce emissions etc.”

          • Mike678

            Getting beyond my suspicion that you are essentially irrational and unable to think clearly, yes…anyone can espouse any argument they wish. I prefer a scientific position; you have demonstrated you prefer ad hominem and other faulty reasoning. And please, no more guardian links. I won’t even use that paper to clean up after my dog. Try more balanced sources.

            Perhaps the problem is that you lack sufficient facts to back up your position / make a rational, convincing argument and therefore must shut down any speech that disagrees with your preferred narrative? The anti-free speech zealots that want the NYT’s leadership fire Bret Stephens over his article espouse a similar mindset–have you cancelled your subscription yet? Perhaps you’d be happier in a country that shuts down discussion and/or opposing views? Perhaps a move to the progressive paradise of Venezuela is I need the offing?

  • Tom Green

    I don’t believe any amount of money can mask the fact that Raimondo comes across as a cold, calculating witch.
    Witness the vast funding imbalance between Trump & Clinton…you get the idea.