Metro

Elections Roundup: Oct. 15, 2014

By
Metro Editor
Thursday, October 16, 2014

No election law violation for Raimondo

The Board of Elections ruled last Wednesday that the Rhode Island Democratic Party did not violate a state campaign finance law after it spent $90,000 of party funds on a campaign commercial for U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., that featured gubernatorial candidate Gina Raimondo, according to Rhode Island Public Radio.

“Once there is an advocacy for a federal candidate, federal law controls (funding) and it has to be paid out of a federal account,” Joe Shekarchi, of the Rhode Island Democrat Coordinated Campaign, told NBC 10.

State party funds spent on a state candidate cannot exceed $25,000, according to the state campaign finance law.

“If it looks like a duck, it quacks like a duck, it walks like a duck, it’s a duck,” Charles Spies, lawyer for the Rhode Island Republican Party, told RIPR. “This was a Raimondo ad. Everyone knows that, and I think we should hold her to a higher standard than this.”

Study shows bond referendum questions could prove costly

Next month’s ballot features four referendum questions about bonds that could cost almost $400 million, according to a study by the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council that was released Tuesday.

The ballot says the proposals will cost $248 million, but RIPEC’s study estimated that with an interest rate of 4 to 5 percent, interest payments could cost taxpayers up to an additional $150 million over a 20-year period, WPRI reported.

The ballot bond questions ask voters to allow the state to borrow money to fund college building construction projects, mass transit hub renovation projects, various arts and cultural organizations and several environmental projects.

In the same study, RIPEC presented a number of questions for voters to take into account regarding the bonds, but it did not take a position on whether they should approve of the four questions on the ballot.

There are no organized campaigns in opposition to the bond questions. All four questions have “well-funded campaigns,” WPRI reported. Question 4 — which focuses on environmental projects — has garnered the most money in support, weighing in at nearly $272,000 as of last Friday.

Romney to visit Rhode Island, while Obama cancels trip

Former Massachusetts governor and 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney will visit Rhode Island Thursday.

Romney will host a fundraiser for Republican gubernatorial candidate Allan Fung at the Biltmore Hotel in Providence. Romney officially endorsed Fung in September. Tickets to the fundraiser will cost between $250 and $1,000, ABC 6 reported.

President Obama was scheduled to give a lecture at Rhode Island College Thursday, but was forced to cancel his visit in order to stay at the White House to supervise the government’s response to the Ebola epidemic, WPRI reported.

Obama will “remain at the White House to follow up on today’s Cabinet meeting on the government’s Ebola response,” according to a White House press release.