Interest money

RI Brown’s gubernatorial contestants and magazine vie for special interest money

from Rhode Island Democratic gubernatorial candidates believe the corrupting influence of special interest money in politics is a big deal.

But they disagree on which political spending in particular is of greatest concern and what candidates should do to make a fairer campaign.

As he did when he ran for governor in 2018, former Secretary of State Matt Brown has vowed not to take money from lobbyists, corporate political action committees and the fossil fuel industry. The influence of powerful monetary interests, he argues, has helped entrench a corrupt political establishment within the State House.

General Treasurer Seth Magaziner, currently the main fundraiser in the governor’s race, argues that outside groups spending money to influence elections independent of official campaigns should be the primary target of campaign reform efforts.

On Wednesday, Magaziner proposed a “People’s Commitment” among the 2022 candidates to reject spending by outside groups.

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The pledge suggested by Magaziner is based on a 2012 agreement between US Senate candidates Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown. Whenever an outside group spent money on their behalf or attacked their opponent, pledge participants were required to donate an equivalent amount to a charity of their opponent’s choice.

In 2014, Gina Raimondo, Angel Taveras and Clay Pell accepted a similar pledge during the governor’s Democratic primary.

“Unlimited black money and disinformation threaten our democracy and as candidates we have the power to do something about it,” Magaziner said in a press release that accompanied his letter to other candidates proposing enlistment.

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But at least initially, Magaziner’s rivals in 2022 weren’t eager to sign.

“We need to take corporate money out of politics and instead we should be talking about a commitment that actually does. Here is what we are proposing: no black money, no corporate PAC money, no corporate lobbyist money and no money for fossil fuels, ”Brown spokesperson Kolby Lee , wrote in response to Magaziner’s letter.

Spokesman for gubernatorial candidate Matt Brown called on opponent Seth Magaziner's request for enlistment

“So let’s call it what it is: an empty, ineffective and unworkable gadget that will do nothing meaningful to take money out of our politics,” he added. “It’s brazen enough for Magaziner to talk about the corrupting influence of money in politics when it takes tens of thousands of dollars in corporate PACs and money from corporate lobbyists.”

Patricia Socarras, spokesperson for Magaziner, said he was ready to take Brown’s ideas into account.

“If Matt Brown is serious about running a clean race, he should accept our invitation to come to the table to negotiate a People’s Commitment Agreement,” Socarras wrote. “We are more than willing to consider his ideas on what should be included and the ideas of our other opponents if they come to the table in good faith to negotiate.”

Luis Daniel Muñoz said candidates should agree not to use their personal wealth in the campaign.

“If my fellow candidates wish to reject black money, let’s start by limiting our personal contributions to $ 100,000, refunding any contributions over that limit, and participating in the state matching fund program,” Muñoz wrote in an e -mail. “Black money and personal trust funds should no longer be used to curb IR. Progress is coming, and it will be fueled by the People-Powered Campaign. “

Magaziner loaned $ 700,000 to his campaign in 2013 and 2014, according to election council campaign fundraising reports.

Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea would be “happy to start negotiations” on a campaign finance deal, she wrote to Magaziner Thursday, but she doesn’t think her People’s Pledge goes far enough.

She wants him to repay the $ 700,000 he loaned to his campaign years ago before the end of this year.

“Personal wealth shouldn’t be the main fuel for political campaigns,” Gorbea wrote. “Transparency in funding and a level playing field for campaign fundraising is the only way voters can see a fairer and more just campaign finance system and a truly representative democracy.”

Even without any personal funding, Magaziner’s current fundraising advantage might make it easier for her to forgo outside help.

State law allows groups to spend unlimited “independent expenses” to help a candidate as long as the posts are not coordinated with the campaign they are benefiting from in any way. Independent spending groups must disclose all donors giving at least $ 1,000 and, for the ads themselves, must list the responsible group and the top five donors.

Magaziner had $ 1.58 million in the bank at the end of September, the highest number of applicants. Governor Dan McKee had $ 800,000 at the end of the third quarter and Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea $ 749,000.

Neither the McKee campaign nor the Gorbea campaign had an immediate response to Magaziner’s proposal.

Joshua Karp, Helena Foulkes campaign spokesperson, said Tuesday that she was “reviewing” Magaziner’s letter.

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