RI GOP Wars Over Chafee-Fung Mailer Sent in 2010
Monday, July 14, 2014
GoLocal has uncovered a a 2010 direct mail piece featuring Fung and Chafee, "The Team You Can Trust" which was paid for by The Lincoln Group - a political group led by former GOP chairman Mike Levesque, a Fung donor.
"The mailing included a photo of Mayor Fung that was copied from his website and a photo of Lincoln Chafee, staged to look like they posed together for a photo. No one was more surprised than Mayor Fung to see that mailing," said Fung for Governor campaign spokesperson Rob Coupe. "On the same day that he learned of the mailing, Mayor Fung issued a statement condemning the misleading tactic behind the mailing and confirming his support for John Robitaille, whom he had publicly endorsed and continued to support. Mayor Fung's statement can be seen here."
Of the mailer that was sent to residents in two of the state's GOP hotbeds in the days leading up to the election, Robitaille, who lost the race to Chafee by less than 10,000 votes, said of this year's GOP gubernatorial primary between Fung and Ken Block, "I continue to stay neutral during this GOP primary. However for the sake of accuracy Mayor Fung did not support me in 2010. He did endorse me in the final days prior to the election."
Robitaille lost to Chafee in Cranston by 648 votes in 2010.
Consideration in Close Race?
When asked if the Fung camp would return donations from the Lincoln Group's Levesque, Coupe said, "We don't know if Mike Levesque personally was behind this mailing but it was not anything Mayor Fung ever condoned or endorsed."
"We have another example of Fung being less than honest with voters. This mailer was paid for by supporters and contributors to Mayor Fung, but he says he didn't know about it," said Block campaign spokesperson Jeff Britt. "He should give any money back from the Lincoln Group. Remember, it was Mike Levesque and Guy Dufault who were involved in the hit on Carcieri in goumada-gate."
"Ken isn't focused on 2010, on who-supported-who, but on fixing Rhode Island and the Block plan," Britt continued. "Ken's not interested this issue. Allan's made his support for Robitaille a centerpiece of his campaign, however."
Coupe said that following the revelation that the mailer had gone out, which he added was neither authorized nor approved by Mayor Fung, the campaign issued the following message to its Constant Contact list.
"Mayor Allan Fung today expressed his extreme disappointment with the misleading political mailer distributed by the Lincoln Group to Cranston residents. This mailer caused some residents to believe that Mayor Fung had implicitly endorsed Lincoln Chafee for Governor," the statement read.
"I endorsed Republican John Robitaille several weeks ago and he has my continued support," stated Fung in the communication. "I strongly feel that he's the best candidate to lead our state through these difficult fiscal times. It is unfortunate that the Lincoln Group feels a need to resort to misrepresentations for political gain."
Coupe added, "It's also important to note that the mailing took place three days before the election, during the media blackout period to prevent news coverage of the deceptive tactic. I also believe similar mailings went out in Providence and other communities. Whether or not those mailings in other communities were coordinated, the Cranston mailing was neither authorized nor approved by Mayor Fung."
Related Slideshow: PAC Spending in the 2014 Rhode Island Governor’s Race
With Election Day now just months away, GoLocal took a look at PAC spending in the Rhode Island gubernatorial campaigns.
Who is giving to who -- and how much? And what's worth more, the money or the grassroots support?
Below is look at recorded PAC giving by the candidates in their campaign finance reports for the 2013 calendar year, by quarter. Candidate Todd Giroux has an affadavit for an annual filing exemption.
Gina Raimondo - Q1 2013
PAC money received: $7,000
Gina Raimondo - Q2 2013
PAC money received: $4,400
Gina Raimondo - Q3 2013
PAC money received $1,750
Gina Raimondo - Q4 2013
PAC money received: $6,950
Angel Taveras - Q1 2013
PAC money received: $3,600
Angel Taveras - Q2 2013
PAC money received: $6,550
Angel Taveras - Q3 2013
PAC money received: $1,300
Cash balance as of September 30, 2013: $759,150.22
Angel Taveras - Q4 2013
PAC money received: $6,100
Allan Fung -- Q1 2013
PAC money received: $1,550*
Allan Fung - Q2 2013
PAC money received: $1,600
Allan Fung -- Q3 2013
PAC money received: $1,100
Allan Fung -- Q4 2013
PAC money received: $3,800
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