There has always been a contingent in the RIGOP that is willing to lose the war in order to win a battle (or maybe a petty skirmish). I assume it’s true of the dems as well, but our side lacks the weight to impose discipline.
— Giovanni Cicione (@GioCicione) February 21, 2018
For my weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, this week, the topics were Senator Kettle’s travails, Raimondo’s special fund raising deal, defining the Moderate Party, and progressive dog whistles.
Senator Kettle has responded to the threat of an unpleasant ejection process by resigning; unfortunately, even districts that haven’t been deprived of representation are still stuck with the rest of the Senate.
To the Rhode Island Senate’s shame, it has filed legislation for what is likely the first-ever expulsion of a state senator, and it was done, as the bill states, based on some now-resolved campaign finance problems, “unwanted media coverage,” and some allegations and criminal charges for which Coventry Republican Senator Nicholas Kettle has not yet gone to trial.
As argued in this space, yesterday, whatever one thinks of Kettle’s moral standing to claim continuing political support, this extreme measure by the Senate goes beyond attacking his rights to attacking the rights of Rhode Island voters. It isn’t up to voters to find a candidate whom the insiders in the State House can accept; it’s up to the legislators to accept whomever the voters send.
The fact that the lead sponsor of the bill is Democrat Senate President Dominick Ruggerio — who was himself arrested in 2012 and brought “unwanted media coverage” to the chamber — puts an exclamation point on the political nature of this move. The involvement of Senate Majority Leader Dennis Algiere does not alleviate this problem, especially after recent revelations that he played a role attempting to broker peace at an initially secret meeting between Ruggerio and Democrat Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello.
Moreover, the fact that the legislation includes detailed documentation of the allegations, as attachments or evidence, suggests that there’s more going on here than a desire to resolve a legislative problem. I’ve never seen external documents appended as part of a bill before, and I’ve read thousands of bills in the past few years.
One needn’t come to the defense of Senator Kettle or his alleged actions to suggest that this is a step too far and moves Rhode Island governance to another level of intrinsic corruption. If Kettle is no longer acceptable to his constituents, then they should remove him. The other politicians in the state Senate shouldn’t take it upon themselves to ensure that a district goes without representation for an entire legislative session. Discomfort with the subject matter of the allegations shouldn’t lead Rhode Islanders to give over their basic rights as voters to a small group of political elites.
If a political party calls for a gubernatorial debate, should they have a horse in the race? Who is the Moderate Party's candidate? https://t.co/ChruUnruaM
— gary sasse (@gssasse) February 20, 2018
— LoughlinRI1 (@LoughlinRI1) February 20, 2018
Do too many instances suggest RI may have an ethically challenged Governor? Gov Gina Raimondo Faces Growing Transparency Questions As Controversy Grows Over Secret Fundraising Agreement – https://t.co/AMbyVElBBF via @the_rga
— gary sasse (@gssasse) February 20, 2018
While facts still need to be provided, Senator Kettle’s claim to political support seems to be darkening, but the days are dark, indeed, if the state Senate truly has a backwards understanding of representative democracy.
.@mikeraia Your personal opinions of any other candidate is inappropriate to air on social media. You work for the governor. Not a hard notion to understand, I believe that you do. Yet, another example of blurred lines. #StateEmployee #Campaign @kathyprojo @GovRaimondo https://t.co/8kBhT9g0Rd
— OSTPA (@OSTPA1) February 19, 2018
1. Election security is so sacrosanct that a foreign country hiring professional Twitter trolls to spew false info is an "act of war."
2. We shouldn't even ask voters for the same ID they need to buy a six pack because there's no evidence of voter fraud.
— Inez Stepman (@InezFeltscher) February 19, 2018
Was this just another way to get around our campaign finance laws? Remember her cancelled trip to Davos using funds from URI Foundation? https://t.co/e7ZSPtDy7q
— Patricia Morgan (@repmorgan) February 19, 2018
I’ve expressed skepticism that the state Ethics Commission will see a violation in Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo’s hiring of a member of the Providence Democratic City Committee and subsequent campaign agreement with that council. In general, the commission has held the view that corruption only exists in the private sector. Maybe a political committee will count as a private sector organization under its taxonomy, but I doubt it.
Abstruse government rules aside, the agreement, which Raimondo released on the Sunday of a three-day weekend, looks really bad, mostly because of this part:
No later than January 31, 2018, the Committee will authorize Patrick Ward (“Ward”) to open the following three accounts (collectively, the “Accounts”)…
The Committee agrees that Ward shall have exclusive and plenary authority to spend, transfer, and otherwise disburse funds from the Accounts for any lawful purpose… and shall be the only signatory on the Accounts…, except that Ward may designate any other persons of his choosing to also exercise these powers. No other person’s approval will be required to authorize the spending, transfer, or disbursement of funds from the Accounts.
So, the agreement doesn’t leave the money in the control of the “committee president,” or any other such language that would give the committee as a whole ultimate control. It gives control to somebody to whom the governor recently gave a $71,608, in company with his wife’s job in the administration.
The governor insists that the agreement doesn’t establish any “master and servant” relationship, but it gives the committee as a body no control outside of one of the governor’s employees. Let’s just say that doesn’t look very good or ethical.
“Walk toward the fire. Don't worry about what they call you. All these things are said against you because they want to stop you in your tracks”
— Susan Wynne (@scwynne) February 16, 2018
. @GovRaimondo keeps proposing budgets that not only take money from these programs, but also adds new taxes, fees and tolls every year. Then she spends the money pandering to insiders. #TimeforNewManagement https://t.co/TkGFNRhnjK
— Patricia Morgan (@repmorgan) February 17, 2018
Actually, it says the Russians were organizing anti-Trump protests. But now that it's on record that the Russian objective was to create discord in the US political system, do you want to rethink the wisdom of the Democrats using Russian sources for opposition research?
— Andrew Morse (@CAndrewMorse) February 16, 2018
For Raimondo to win a multi-candidate race she must win Providence. This is a Hillaryesque attempt to circumvent campaign finance protocols.
She is funneling Wall Street money into PDCC's campaign coffers through her now disgraced accomplices in the PDCC.https://t.co/GTHIOFjuOY
— RIRepublicans.us (@RIRepublicans) February 16, 2018
Weaponized ridiculousness of political rhetoric about taxes, abortion, and Donald Trump.
Interesting: Mueller's investigation finds Russians also organized AGAINST Trump as well as for him pic.twitter.com/uQAfiR5Z1J
— Sarah Westwood (@sarahcwestwood) February 16, 2018
An enormously significant point: The Mueller indictment describes the Trump associates who worked w/ Russians as "unwitting." That seems to be a major blow to the collusion narrative. pic.twitter.com/0zwub3g7ZA
— Sarah Westwood (@sarahcwestwood) February 16, 2018
If social conservatives want to return to a society in which President Trump’s alleged infidelity is a disqualification for public office, we have to admit that it currently is not.
Wonder if @GinaRaimondo paid much attention to governing as she does to fund raising the UHIP, DCFY and balancing the budget would have received more attention?
— gary sasse (@gssasse) February 15, 2018
Translation: Republicans in Washington raised taxes on a small group of rich people and Rhode Island Democrats want to cut them. Interesting times we live in. https://t.co/yaKBQVEnaf
— Brian C. Newberry (@BrianCNewberry) February 14, 2018
— Andrew Morse (@CAndrewMorse) February 13, 2018
For my weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, this week, the topic was the clarity we’re getting from Providence Democrats, Rhode Island progressives, and teachers unions.
Comparing PR coming from Governor's office with comparative state performance I am reminded of Lewis Carroll "Imaginationis the only weapon in the war against reality." @projo, @TedNesi https://t.co/kqOHjiRhGU
— gary sasse (@gssasse) February 13, 2018
Over 250 emails sent to lawmakers from constituents yesterday in opposition to H7150. An incredible number for just one day. (100 in the first hour alone!) The progressive agenda can be resisted. BIG THANK YOU to the coalition. #RIProgressiveBadBill
— Lawrence Gillheeney (@LGillheeney) February 13, 2018
The seemingly minor travails of former Providence Democrat Chairman Patrick Ward provide a lesson in Rhode Island politics and the direction that seemingly unrelated trends are taking us.
A few weeks ago, Rhode Islanders were reacting to the rapid-fire news of two Providence Journal reporters’ transition to jobs in government offices on which they’d recently written stories. Shortly thereafter, the announcement came that former Republican state Senator John Pagliarini had taken a job as the Senate parliamentarian, and Rhode Island Public Radio reporter Ian Donnis asked state GOP Chairman Brandon Bell whether this was a matter of concern as well. I never saw Bell’s response, but mine was: of course.
An item in today’s Providence Journal Political Scene fleshes out why I’d say that:
Until recently, [Pagliarini] had kept the door open to a potential GOP run for a range of political offices from mayor to lieutenant governor. Now? “I have no aspirations to run for political office as of today,″ he told Political Scene about a week ago. He has also resigned as the state GOP’s general counsel.
And there you go. As with the reporters, the problem isn’t so much the appearance that the government is buying out the potent soldiers of the opposition, but that the prospect of a $54,259 part-time gig makes clear who has the career prospects on offer for anybody who might consider the possibility of raising the sorts of objections that might offend the powerful.
— GoLocalProv (@GoLocalProv) February 11, 2018