Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo continues to earn the title of America’s least transparent governor as her administration fails to uphold the public’s trust. A new Providence Journal editorial blasts Rhode Island’s state government under Raimondo after Rhode Island received a “D” for transparency from the U.S. PIRG Education Fund, making it one of the lowest ranked states in America.
During her first year in office, Raimondo claimed that her administration would be the “the most transparent Rhode Island has ever seen.” But after years of scandals involving state social services with no accountability, questionable campaign contributions, and more, Raimondo has failed to follow through on her word.
Raimondo’s lack of openness and accountability with the people of her state after promising transparency represents a failure in leadership that should not be rewarded with a second term.
A new study suggests Rhode Island is failing to make it clear to the public exactly how it is spending taxpayer dollars.
In ranking states for transparency on spending, the U.S. PIRG Education Fund assigns grades of A to F. Those receiving a top grade are lauded for creating ‘user-friendly websites that provide’ the public with ‘accessible and comprehensive information.’ Those receiving an F “fail to meet” even the ‘basic standards of online spending transparency.’
In the nonprofit group’s latest annual report, released last month, Rhode Island landed close to the bottom, earning a grade of D. The state failed to provide a wealth of easily accessible, detailed information through its online ‘Transparency Portal,’ according to ‘Following the Money 2018, How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data.’
The report said most states provide a ‘checkbook-level’ of detail that allows the public to ‘view payments made to individual companies,’ see ‘details on purchased goods or services’ and see ‘benefits obtained in exchange for public subsidies.’ But Rhode Island failed to “provide a useful level of itemization” that would show just what the state is spending on ‘line items for specific departments.’
Rhode Island’s ‘Transparency Portal” prompted one researcher to remark: ‘There is nothing breaking down the operating costs into smaller categories — all there is is a really long list of vendors, and no way to know what they received payments for.’
The state also fared poorly in a new measure of openness that helped reduce its grade from last year’s B-minus to this year’s D — a ‘Real World’ test that sought information on six categories of expenses, such as travel by the governor’s office and contracted legal services obtained by the attorney general’s office. Rhode Island was one of 10 states that failed to provide this information.”