Sen. Conley Who Opposes Public Vote on PawSox, Collects 94% of Campaign Dollars from Insiders
Monday, January 15, 2018
According to a detailed review of Conley’s 2017 campaign finance reports through the third quarter, few constituents donated to his campaign. The review of documents was especially difficult as few of the entries filed with the Board of Election’s Campaign Finance Division had complete information. Names, addresses, or employer information was missing for the vast majority of the campaign donors.
Fourth quarter campaign reports for 2017 are not due to be filled until the end of January of 2018.
The donations are a who’s who of powerful State House power players. Conley collected donations from power lobbyists Bob Goldberg, former Senate Minority Leader (CVS, Amazon, Lifespan); George Caroulo, former House Majority Leader (Lifespan); Andrew Annaldo, former Providence City Councilman (Sims Metal, Toni & Guy Hairdressing); Joe Walsh, former Democratic candidate for Governor (Prime HealthCare, RI Builders Association); Bill Murphy, former Speaker of the House (Twin River, Care New England, Deloitte); and dozens of other lobbyists.
GoLocal was able to track 94 percent of all donation to political insiders -- registered lobbyists, elected and appointed officials, interested parties and PACs. The number may be higher, but Conley's campaign reports are missing significant amounts of data -- home addresses, name of employer, and work address.
Conley Opposes Public Vote on the PawSox Stadium
While Conley enjoys the support of insiders, he does not believe that Rhode Island voters should be allowed to determine the fate of the proposed PawSox stadium proposal.
Conley issued a statement on Saturday that said, “Resorting to referendum because an important public policy matter is difficult or controversial is a betrayal of the fundamental principles of representative democracy. As elected representatives and leaders, it is our responsibility to study and debate complex public policy questions on behalf of our constituents. It is what we are elected to do."
Back in September, Conley said in an interview on RI Public Radio, "The process has to be driven by the merits of the proposal. Is it good for the state of Rhode Island? Will there be a good return on investment? What does it mean to the future of our state? It’s not really not a wet finger to the wind process to test which way the public opinion winds are blowing."
When Conley chaired the Senate Finance hearing on the funding proposal to support the PawSox owners, the evening was widely criticized for stacking the hearing with over four hours of supporters of the project before any opponent could give testimony at about 10 p.m.
Conley refused to respond to questions.
Conley has received multiple donations from key political action committees who are supporting the approximately $40 million in public financing to support the building of a new stadium.
PACs of the building trades have directed made multiple donations to Conley’s campaign fund. In total, Conley collected more than $5,200 from PACs last year.
The majority of Rhode Islanders strongly oppose public financing for the PawSox stadium owners. SEE POLLING RESULTS.
Related Slideshow: GoLocal: Benchmark Poll, October 2017
Next year, in November of 2018, there will be a statewide general election for Governor and many other state offices. How likely is it that you will vote in this election?
Will you definitely be voting, will you probably be voting, are you 50-50...
Definitely be voting: 78%
Probably be voting: 13%
What would you say is the number one problem facing Rhode Island that you would like the Governor to address?
Jobs and economy: 21%
State budget: 9%
Corruption/Public integrity: .8%
Don’t know: .9%
Recently, a proposal has been made to permit the issuance of $81 million in bonds by the State to build a new stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox. If there was an election today on this issue, would you vote to approve or reject issuing $81 million in financing supported moral obligation bonds to build the stadium?
Net: Approve: 28%
Definitely approve: 15%
Probably approve: 14%
Net: Reject: 67%
Probably reject: 19%
Definitely reject: 48%
Don't know: 4%
The next question is about the total income of YOUR HOUSEHOLD for the PAST 12 MONTHS. Please include your income PLUS the income of all members living in your household (including cohabiting partners and armed forces members living at home).
$50,000 or less: 27%
More $50,000 but less than $75,000: 13%
More $75,000 but less than $100,000: 13%
More $100,000 but less than $150,000: 17%
$150,000 or more: 13%
Don't know/refused: 17%
What particular ethnic group or nationality - such as English, French, Italian, Irish, Latino, Jewish, African American, and so forth - do you consider yourself a part of or feel closest to?
Black or African American: 6%
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