There’s an “it was the best of times; it was the worst of times” feel to the picture of a long tent leading up to the State House for the momentary comfort of elite party goers. The event was an inaugural ball to celebrate the victory of Gina Raimondo in ensuring that nothing much will change in Rhode Island for the next four years, at least not if it will reduce the status of inside players.
Katherine Gregg lists some of the gratuitous donations:
The largest contribution, $20,000, came from the Laborers International Union of North America.
International Game Technology (IGT) and the corporate owners of the Twin River casinos each gave $15,000 for Saturday’s inaugural events, including the invite-only gala at the Rhode Island State House and a “pre-gala reception” for all the inaugural sponsors and their guests at at Café Nuovo.
The $10,000 donors included Amica, Bank of America, Citizens, CVS, Deepwater Wind, General Dynamics, Electric Boat and Pfizer, according to the governor’s office.
Others giving up to $5,000 each included AAA Northeast, Amgen, AT&T, Centene Corp., Dimeo Construction Co., FedEx, First Bristol Corp., JPMorgan Chase, Locke Lord, Microsoft and Washington Trust.
Gee, what would give corporations and other organizations incentive to give this much money to a politician for a party?
True to the formula for these stories, Gregg interviews John Marion of Common Cause RI, who suggests that the government should impose even more (arguably unconstitutional) restrictions on political donations. But the inaugural donations only illustrate that money will find a way into politics like a rising tide into a structure that’s below sea level. Even public financing won’t stop it.
The only way to end this flow of money is to reduce what’s available to buy.