|Common Cause calls on Board of Elections to act on secret money complaint|
|Providence, October 28, 2015 – One year ago an out-of-state secret money group dumped almost half a million dollars into the race for governor and today we still don’t know its source because of inaction by the state Board of Elections. On October 28, 2014 the Rhode Island Democratic Party filed a complaint against the Government Integrity Fund for their failure to disclose the source of $435,000 they gave to the Mid-America Fund to run ads seeking to defeat Gina Raimondo. For twelve months the Board of Elections has failed to take any action with respect to the complaint. Today, Common Cause Rhode Island sent the Board a letter urging them to investigate the undisclosed spending and enforce the law.
“After the 2010 Citizens United decision the General Assembly had the foresight, at the urging of Common Cause, to pass legislation that specifically requires groups, regardless of their tax status, to disclose the sources of their spending in our elections,” says John Marion, Common Cause Executive Director. “Yet the law on the books only matters if it is enforced, and in this instance the state’s campaign finance watchdog has fallen asleep.” A 2012 change to state law requires groups to disclose any donor who gives over $1000, even if the group receiving the donation is simply a pass-through organization for the money, so long as it is spent to support or oppose a candidate for office.
The Grove City, Ohio-based Government Integrity Fund, as reported in October 2014, gave $435,000 to the Mid-America Fund, who then combined those monies with $125,000 from the Republican Governors Association (RGA) to run anti-Raimondo ads. While the RGA, as required by law, revealed its donors within 24 hours of making the transfer of funds, the Government Integrity Fund never has. The voters of Rhode Island remain in the dark as to what individuals or corporations ran last minute ads seeking to sway last year’s election.