EDITORIAL: Raimondo’s Perverse Fundraising - Tobacco, Guns and Opioids

Tuesday, July 24, 2018


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Governor Gina Raimondo

Governor Gina Raimondo has accepted campaign donations from the lead NRA lobbyist in Rhode Island, opioid-pushing drug company executives, and a tobacco CEO who lied to Congress. The tobacco lobbyist was scheduled to host a NYC fundraiser.

Yes, literally. 

Raimondo, a Democrat who is Rhode Island’s first female Governor, is setting a new standard — a perverse standard as to whom she will take money from.

It raises the question, is there simply no standard for Raimondo? Is there nothing Gina Raimondo believes in — not as a politician — but as a human, a mom, a citizen of Rhode Island?

Governor Raimondo’s campaign says each time, “Campaign donations have no impact on Governor Raimondo's decision making,” to every question about every nefarious donation.

In totality, the donations from gun lobbyists, opioid drug company executives that the state is presently suing, and from tobacco company executives that lied to Congress totals tens of thousands of dollars.

Raimondo’s creepy campaign donations total more than most of the gubernatorial candidates have raised in total.

Here is a recap:

In February, a GoLocal investigation unveiled that Raimondo has accepted and refused to return campaign donations from the NRA’s registered lobbyist despite her claims of taking on the gun industry.

In June, GoLocal was first to report that a Raimondo fundraiser in New York City was being hosted by one of the infamous tobacco CEOs that testified before Congress that there was no link between smoking and cancer.

Last week, GoLocal investigated that a top executive of the most notorious company — the company who invented oxycontin — has donated repeatedly to Governor Gina Raimondo and she is not returning any of the donations.

"The Sackler dynasty’s ruthless marketing of painkillers has generated billions of dollars—and millions of addicts," wrote Patrick Radden Keefe in a New Yorker investigation. 

Each time, Raimondo’s response is hallow. Rhode Island’s gun laws are not the strongest. In combatting smoking under Raimondo’s administration, Rhode Island has sunk to a grade of "F" from the American Lung Association. According to the national health organization, "Thumbs down for Rhode Island for spending little state money on tobacco prevention and cessation programs despite smoking costing the state close to $640 million in healthcare costs each year."

And, Rhode Island’s effort to combat opioids is suspect despite her claims. Fellow Democrat RI Lt. Governor Dan McKee said he will donate to non-profits the opioid tainted donations from the Sacklers immediately after the story published -- and now Democratic primary opponent Aaron Regunberg is holding McKee's feet to the fire, saying he better do so in the coming weeks or it's just a political ploy.  

Governor Raimondo might build a constituency of more than 40 percent of Rhode Island voters by putting Rhode Islander’s values ahead of her own political fundraising.


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