RGA Criticizes Raimondo Over $50 Spend on Facebook Ad

Mar 16, 2017

The Commerce Corporation said it spent $50 to promote this message on Facebook.
Credit Ian Donnis / RIPR

The Republican Governors Association on Thursday criticized Democratic Governor Gina Raimondo for the use of state funds to pay for a Facebook ad promoting the governor's jobs record.

The state Commerce Corporation spent $50 to publicize a recent New York Times story about Raimondo’s approach to economic development.

The Republican Governors Association doesn’t mention the cost of the ad. But the RGA said it’s wrong for the state to spend taxpayer funds on promoting Raimondo.

"With Rhode Island ranked dead last by CNBC’s list of states to do business and her 2018 reelection on the horizon, it’s no surprise Gina Raimondo would want to distort her actual record with puff pieces," the RGA said in a statement. "But utilizing taxpayer funds for PR purposes is not what the people of Rhode Island expect from their governor. Gina Raimondo should be using Rhode Island’s tax dollars to help improve the stagnant economy brought on by her own failed leadership, not on promoting good PR for her reelection efforts."

Commerce's sponsorship of the message was first reported by WPRI.com.

Commerce Corporation spokesman Brian Hodge said the economic-development agency buys ads and sponsors social media posts to try to attract more businesses to Rhode Island.

"Katherine Seelye’s recent New York Times story is objective and substantive validation that businesses should be taking a fresh look at Rhode Island," Hodge said. "It’s a very small investment to make sure that our pro-growth story reaches the widest possible audience so we can pitch Rhode Island as a place to grow."