After a week in which the Wall Street Journal reported on a six-figure contribution to EngageRI by a Houston billionaire, state Treasurer Gina Raimondo is now supporting disclosure about contributors to the pension overhaul advocacy group.
ProJo political columnist Ed Fitzpatrick had the details in his Sunday column yesterday:
Last year, on Channel 12’s “Newsmakers,” Raimondo noted that EngageRI had disclosed its board members and was not required to disclose its donors, and when asked about potential conflicts, she said, “I have no doubt that people funding it have a self-interest in pension reform because everybody does.”
But when asked on Friday whether EngageRI should voluntarily disclose its donors, Raimondo said, “They should. I wish they had. Because I am a believer in transparency.”
Well, why isn’t the group naming its donors then? “I don’t control EngageRI,” Raimondo replied. “I’m supportive of what they do.” But, she said, “It’s a separate organization.”
While it’s separate, Raimondo encouraged the group’s formation and has made introductions for fundraising purposes. So has she called for EngageRI to identify its donors? “I have called on them to do it, and they are not listening,” she said. “They said, ‘We are following the law.’ ”
EngageRI spokesman Jon Duffy told Fitzpatrick that the group doesn't plan to identify its donors: “ 'EngageRI respects the privacy of its contributors.' He said, 'Frankly, the privacy is what allows us to fundraise.' ”