Producer of Raimondo’s Cranston Ad Has Been Criticized for False Ads Previously

Saturday, September 15, 2018


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Raimondo has paid Putnam Partners more than $700,000

Washington-based Putnam Partners, the producers of Gina Raimondo’s miscue TV ad which criticized Allan Fung for his leadership in Cranston, RI, but actually showed footage of Providence, is tied to a number of other controversies including what HuffPost deemed producing a blatantly false ad.


According to campaign finance reports filed with RI’s Board of Elections, Raimondo’s campaign has paid the firm over $700,000 to produce a number of TV-spots. Raimondo's campaign was forced to re-cut the attack ad on Fung. SEE HERE

The error by Putnam Partners is not the first and some of the firm’s most controversial errors are tied to a campaign which is now emerged in both a state ethics investigation and is facing federal charges about illegal campaign donations. 

Both matters involve the U.S. States Senate candidate and Putnam Partners’ client Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Putnam Partners controversies are tied to false ads, racist ads and now Putnam’s candidate Grimes is under investigation; and in another matter tied to her campaign's finances, her father and another man are facing federal charges in Kentucky tied to illegal contributions to the campaign.

“Kentucky Democratic operatives Dale Emmons and Jerry Lundergan pleaded not guilty in federal court Wednesday to allegations they made illegal corporate campaign contributions to the 2014 U.S. Senate campaign of Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes,” the Lexington Herald-Leader reported on Thursday,

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Grimes' father is facing fed charges and see is under an ethics investigation

“The indictment alleged Lundergan used his company to pick up expenses for the campaign, but didn’t seek reimbursement from the campaign until a grand jury subpoenaed campaign documents. It also alleged Emmons’ consulting company charged Lundergan and his business for his expenses rather than charging the campaign,” reports the paper.

On Friday in a separate matter, not directly tied to the federal charges of her father’s alleged illegal actions on behalf of her campaign, “The Kentucky Personnel Board voted Friday to launch an investigation into allegations that Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes’ office allowed politics to play a role in deciding which employees to hire and whether Grimes had created a hostile work environment for employees of the State Board of Elections.”

Putnam Under Fire for False Ads

According to left-leaning website HuffPost, Putnam Partners produced one of the worst ads of 2014. HuffPost flagged the ad as it simply was not true.

“In this ad, Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes accuses Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell of “pocket[ing] $600,000 from enemies of coal, including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.” If that sounds strange to you, well, that’s because it isn’t true. (view ad here)

Tom Putnam, founder of Putnam Partners said during the 2014 race in a article, "I don't like to think of myself as a weapon in somebody's arsenal." 

Putnam also did work for a range of other clients including President Barack Obama and the draft Joe Biden effort.

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HuffPost deems Putnam's ad one of the worst

Others have called out Raimondo’s firm. A Charles Lenchner took to the website the Action Network to criticize another Putnam Partner’s ad that was alleged to be racist. According to an online petition posted, “PUTNAM PARTNERS: MARK PUTNAM, PHILLIP DE VELLIS, JIM DUFFY

This week [refering to another ad in the 2014 Senate campaign], Kentucky Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes put out a racist ad attacking 'illegal immigrants.' This video is so beyond the pale, that people working in Democratic election campaigns as staff and/or consultants are standing together to declare that this is beyond the pale.
The ad is so racist, such a smear on the Democratic Party and our work as people who make a living helping Democrats get elected, that taking a stand has become necessary. We ask that folks signing this petition name their firm, employer, or most recent/current campaign they have worked for in the comments section.”

Repeated calls and emails to Putnam Partners were not responded to.


Related Slideshow: RI 2018 Primary Night Winners and Losers

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WINNER: Gina Raimondo

Vultures had been circulating over the Governor’s head for the past couple of weeks with claims that the progressive movement in RI was picking up major steam.

Raimondo flexed her superior fundraising advantage and went negative on Matt Brown and punished him. At last count 56.2 percent to Brown’s 34.2 percent and Spencer Dickinson helping Raimondo with 9.6 percent.

At her celebration on Wednesday night, Raimondo gave a big “thank you” to Rhode Islanders for coming out to vote and she added that the people have spoken, and they want her to “Do more. Go faster. Keep going.”

Raimondo spent over $60 per vote in the primary.

She will run on the performance of the economy and look for Independent Joe Trillo to take votes away from  Cranston Mayor Allan Fung.

The Governor’s race has begun. Raimondo still has a reported $2.4 million cash-on-hand.

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WINNERS: Women Candidates

Across the state, women candidates won nearly every competitive local or statewide race.

From town councils to the governor's office, women candidates cleaned up.

The only high profile exception was in Senate District 30 in Warwick where challenger Mark McKenney took out progressive, Bernie Sanders-supporter and sitting State Senator Jeanine Calkin. McKenney won 54-46.

And, Patricia Morgan was defeated in the GOP gubernatorial primary.

Otherwise, women retained seats or seats went from male to female. The Providence City Council increases from five women members to eight with likely November wins by Helen Anthony (Ward 2), Kat Kerwin (Ward 12), and Rachel Miller (Ward 13).

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LOSER: Speaker of the House Nick Mattiello

Many of the Speaker’s targeted races turned into losses.

He pulled out all the stops to take out Smith Hill State Representative Moira Walsh and had his entire senior staff working primary day out of Patrick’s Pub on Smith Street trying to defeat Walsh.

The upstart reformer would have no part of it and at the last count beat Earnheart 55 to 45 percent.

In addition, Mattiello was on the losing side of Marcia Ranglin-Vassell, Walsh and more.

His win was Dan McKiernan in Providence in District 7 who won a narrow victory over Belen Flores 53.6 to 46.6 percent.

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WINNER: Allan Fung

Fung had the more difficult matchup than Raimondo.  He had to turn back House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan and he did with a comfortable margin.

Fung beat Morgan 56.4 percent to 40.1 percent. Former CEO of the defunct Benrus, Gio Feroce garnered just 3.5 percent.

Fung gets the Raimondo rematch that he wanted, but faces a number of new obstacles.

Fung needs the Republican Governor’s Association to support his campaign and make good on their $1.5 plus million commitment.

To beat Raimondo and not to get Bob Healey-ed again, he needs to convince the voters of Joe Trillo that a vote for Trillo is a vote for Raimondo.

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WINNER: Progressives Locally

Candidates who are strong on progressive Democratic ideals rang up win after win with few losses in the State House or in City Halls.

In Providence, progressive Sam Bell won-a-three way race and cobbled both long-time Senator Paul Jabour and Nick Autiello to capture Senate District 5.

Progressive Rebecca Kislak won House District 4.

And, in the City Council races, Helen Anthony won Ward 2 on the East Side and Rachel Miller won Ward 13 in a four-way race over Cyd McKenna, Leslie Papp, and Ray Beraducci.

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LOSERS: Progressives Statewide

Aaron Regunberg was tapped early as a candidate to watch nationally. CNN wrote in 2017 that the RI Lt. Governor’s race was one of nine Democratic primaries around the country to watch. The race did not disappoint in excitement, but in the end incumbent Dan McKee won re-election 51 to 49 percent.

Matt Brown rose from the proverbial political dead in RI and ran to the left of Gina Raimondo and pounded her on her faux pas — UHIP, and more.

But, in the end, for Brown the lack of money, Spencer Dickinson, and an in ability to convince Democrats that his vision is better for RI proved to be the downfall.

And, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse beat back progressive, peace candidate Pat Fontes.

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LOSER: Giovanni Feroce

Giovanni Feroce trumpeted his experience and vision as the differentiation in the Republican gubernatorial campaign.

But, the CEO of the recently failed Benrus was soundly rejected by GOP voters.

Feroce won just 3.5 percent of the primary vote — just 1,137 votes statewide.

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Maybe no one had a better ad than Kobi Dennis, the Democratic candidate for Mayor of Providence. Dennis raised almost no campaign funds, but did offer up best ad — which featured him being tutored by a 9-year-old about the budget of the City of Providence.


Dennis won 24 percent of the vote in a three-way loss to sitting Mayor Jorge Elorza.

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LOSER: No Debates

The no debaters both won their primaries. It may be the new vogue strategy, but it is bad for voters and Democracy.

Will the two 'no debaters' — Gina Raimondo (D) and Allan Fung (R)  — debate?


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