New: RI Democratic Gubernatorial Candidates Sign People’s Pledge
Monday, April 28, 2014
Clay Pell, General Treasurer Gina Raimondo, and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras have signed a Rhode Island People's Pledge that goes into effect immediately and lasts through the Democratic gubernatorial primary election on September 9th, 2014.
"This represents a watershed moment in Rhode Island politics," said John Marion, executive director of Common Cause Rhode Island, "and we are proud to have facilitated this historic agreement and want to thank the campaigns of the three major Democratic candidates for working together to get this agreement done." The Rhode Island People's Pledge is modeled after an agreement used in the 2012 Scott Brown-Elizabeth Warren U.S. Senate contest in Massachusetts. Research by Common Cause Massachusetts shows the People's Pledge successfully reduced outside spending in the race and resulted in fewer negative advertisements than similar elections.
Marion continued, "As the U.S. Supreme Court continues to dismantle our campaign finance system,candidates need to take it upon themselves to fight the negative, undisclosed SuperPAC spending unleashed by Citizens United, and the People's Pledge is our best hope." Under the People's Pledge whenever an outside group spends to support or oppose a candidate in the primary by purchasing TV, radio or internet advertisements the candidate that benefits pays a fine equal to the amount of the purchase to a charity."
Candidates on Record
While the Pledge has been signed, the Democratic candidates have weighed on what it means to their campaigns -- and their opponents.
In a statement e-mailed to supporters, Raimono wrote, "I joined other candidates in the Democratic primary in signing a People's Pledge to keep some outside money out of this election. This is an important first step to ensuring that our elections aren’t hijacked by outside spending. But the truth is I'm disappointed my opponents didn't sign the stronger pledge I offered -- one that would have allowed outside groups and powerful special interests to spend a grand total of $0. With the pledge we signed, they can still spend unlimited amounts of money."
"Our grassroots strength has taken on added importance in light of this weakened pledge. The other candidates cherry-picked a few specific areas where they didn't want spending -- mainly television, radio and Internet ads. But they intentionally left enormous loopholes -- and as this election approaches, your mailboxes can still fill up with millions of dollars of nasty mail pieces and your phone lines can be overrun with robo-calls spreading misleading attacks -- all of which my pledge would have eliminated," Raimondo continued.
The Taveras camp to issued a statement saying that "following the lead of Mayor Taveras, all three major Democratic candidates have signed the pledge. The agreement will prohibit Super PACs and other independent expenditures financing on behalf of or against candidates most notably via television, radio and print advertising."
“With a pro-Raimondo Super PAC waiting in the wings, we hope to keep the group’s hedge fund backers from trying to buy this race for Governor,” said Taveras communications director Dawn Bergantino. “This election is about the voters of Rhode Island, not Wall Street donors flexing their political muscles.”
Pell also offered his views on the pledge -- and money in the campaign.
“From the very beginning of this campaign, I’ve made clear my commitment to transparency and my dedication to changing the politics-as-usual culture in Rhode Island. That’s why I pledged not to accept contributions from PACs or state lobbyists, and why I took the unprecedented step of releasing five years of my tax returns to the Providence Journal. And it’s why I’m proud to be a part of this historic agreement to limit unaccountable and frequently negative outside spending.” said Pell
Related Slideshow: Rhode Island’s Most and Least Popular Politicians
The statewide poll conducted by the Taubman Center for Public Policy at Brown University in October 2013 is the latest public opinion survey by the Ivy League institution.
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