Ian Donnis

Political Reporter

Ian Donnis has been the political reporter for Rhode Island Public Radio since 2009. The Washington Post has called him one of Rhode Island’s best political reporters. Besides reporting, Ian tweets at @IanDon, hosts RIPR’s weekly Political Roundtable, and contributes to the station’s On Politics blog.

He was for many years a regular panelist on WPRI/WNAC-TV’s Newsmakers, is an occasional guest on RI-PBS' A Lively Experiment, and has been a political debate panelist for each of Rhode Island's three commercial television stations.

Ian previously worked for the Providence Phoenix, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, and The Associated Press. His reporting has been recognized by the AP, the New England Press Association, the Rhode Island Press Association, and Rhode Island for Community & Justice.

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UPDATE: Whitehouse strikes back.

Shortly after the end of Hinckley’s news conference this afternoon, Whitehouse released a statement criticizing the GOP:

Today, for a second day in a row, Senate Republicans blocked debate on the DISCLOSE Act, a bill to end secret spending in elections by corporations and other groups.  The vote failed to overcome a filibuster by a vote of 53 in favor to 45 against.  60 votes were required.  Following the vote, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) released the following statement:

R.I.P. Elaine Hanlon

Jul 16, 2012

Elaine Hanlon of Providence, a dedicated veteran investigator for the Rhode Island Public Defender’s office, died at Rhode Island Hospital last week after suffering an apparent heart attack at a July Fourth picnic. She was 54.

Universally known as `Laney,’ Hanlon was known for compassion towards her impoverished clients and her tenacity in helping them obtain justice in the Rhode Island legal system.

Narragansett Chief Sachem Matthew Thomas can only watch in frustration as 1) Massachusetts moves ahead with plans for expanded gambling in nearby Taunton; and Rhode Island’s slot parlors spend heavily in hopes of adding table games at Twin River and Newport Grand.

Democratic congressional candidate Anthony Gemma says his campaign account collected $242,000 during the quarter that ended June 30, from contributions and a personal loan of unspecified size.

“I am grateful to all who considered my candidacy and made the decision to support it financially,” said Mr. Gemma.  “I shall continue to demonstrate, through deed and word, that their confidence in me was well placed.”

Former Congressman Patrick Kennedy is calling out Anthony Gemma for comments made by Gemma during an appearance on WPRO’s Buddy Cianci show earlier this week:

Republican Barry Hinckley continues to lag far behind the fundraising pace set by Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, but Hinckley says he’ll have enough money to get his message out on the way to the November election.

A few months ago, a young campaign operative made an earnest argument to me: Rhode Island would be better served by a full-time General Assembly. Observers of Smith Hill might have reason to be skeptical that longer hours and better pay would improve the legislature. Yet my friend Arlene Violet is now adding her voice to those calling for a full-time General Assembly:

Governor Lincoln Chafee says he’s vindicated by testimony offered yesterday during a meeting in Wilmington, Delaware, on the bankruptcy of Curt Schilling’s failed video game company, 38 Studios.

Twin River has spent $578,741 since the start of March to encourage voters to support the expansion of gambling in Rhode Island during a statewide vote this November, state campaign finance records show. The comparable figure for Newport Grand is more modest: $21,400.

Providence Journal reporter Richard Salit will take over the role formerly played by his esteemed colleague, the late Peter Lord, at the Metcalf Institute for Marine & Environmental Reporting.

Sunshine Menezes, the Metcalf’ Institute’s executive director, says this in a news release:

Congressman David Cicilline’s campaign says it raised more than $300,000 during the second quarter, leaving it with a war chest of more than $825,000 as the First District race starts to heat up in earnest.

Republican Brendan Doherty’s team said last week it expected a haul of about $200,000 during Q2. The campaign’s cash on hand was put at more than $660,000.

Despite repeated and sustained requests for interviews from a bevy of Rhode Island news organizations, Curt Schilling and his wife Shonda continue to utilize Facebook to fire back at reports emanating from the Ocean State.

In a scathing news release, Narragansett Chief Sachem Matthew Thomas outlines a litany of grievances involving Rhode Island’s likely expansion of state-sponsored gambling and calls for a meeting with Governor Lincoln Chafee, House Speaker Gordon Fox, and Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed “to address this disgraceful situation.”

In a victory for the Rhode Island media, the state Supreme Court has upheld a lower court’s dismissal of a defamation case filed by Providence restaurateur Robert I. “Bob” Burke against the Providence Journal, ProJo Statehouse chief Katherine Gregg, WPRO talk-show host Dan Yorke and Citadel Broadcasting, the former owner of WPRO.

Attorney General Peter Kilmartin, a former Pawtucket police officer, and state police Colonel Steven O’Donnell are offering this reaction to the conviction today of North Providence Police Chief John Whiting:


“This office takes seriously its responsibility of bringing all those who break the law to justice.