Commerce RI as Raimondo PAC


How is this even remotely appropriate, from the news page of the Web site for the state’s quasi-public economic development agency, Commerce RI?

Raimondo Poised to Fix Rhode Island

In just eight months as the first female governor of Rhode Island, Governor Gina M. Raimondo passed an economic development and jobs focused budget through the General Assembly in record time, giving the state an unprecedented toolkit to reboot the economy.

Contrary to what Rhode Island insiders may believe, it is not the role of government agencies to promote the particular politicians who happen to be in charge at the time.  It would be questionable enough for elected officials to use their own government offices to promote their activities in a nakedly political way, but when other offices do so, it’s way out of bounds.

For one thing, it implies that interaction with that agency is related to approval of the politician’s agenda.  Suppose a business is considering a move to Rhode Island and initiates contact with Commerce RI.  The executives might justifiably get the impression that fealty to the governor is a must, if they expect help from the quasi-public (let alone fully government agencies).

For another thing, this sort of behavior gives incumbents access to a multi-billion dollar organization’s exception for unregistered and unregulated in-kind contributions for their political races, to the point of electioneering.

I’ve already been tracing the way in which the rule of law is falling apart in Rhode Island and the country, creating arbitrary rules based on who has power rather than who has rights.  If government agencies are becoming unabashed promoters of elected officials (and attackers of their political opponents), we’re crossing into a new type of government altogether.