INVESTIGATE RAIMONDO’S WHEELING AND DEALING WITH IGT
Governor Gina Raimondo has entered into a no-bid 20 year billion-dollar agreement with IGT without going out to competitive bid. In addition, the R.I. Lottery, which is under Governor Raimondo’s control, agreed that IGT, the current provider of in-person sports betting, be allowed to handle all online sports betting without going through a new competitive bid process. Governor Raimondo and IGT lobbyist Donald Sweitzer are both officers of the Democratic Governors Association and therefore are business associates under the Rhode Island Ethics Code. Sweitzer has lobbied in favor of a new long-term agreement between IGT and the State of Rhode Island. Also, Sweitzer is probably a shareholder of IGT. Governor Gina Raimondo appears to have violated R.I.G.L §§ 36-14-5(d), and 36-14-5(h). Accordingly, Special Counsel for the R.I. Republican Party, Brandon S Bell, has filed a complaint with the R.I. Ethics Commission against Governor Gina Raimondo.
An excerpt from the Memorandum in Support of the Complaint:
"Governor Gina Raimondo appears to have violated R.I.G.L §§ 36-14-5(d), and 36-14-5(h) by negotiating and entering into a tentative agreement with IGT to extend its services until 2043 without going through a competitive bid process. In addition, Raimondo appears to have violated R.I.G.L §§ 36-14-5(d), and 36-14-5(h) by signing legislation which allowed online sports gambling in Rhode Island, and then having the R.I. Lottery allow IGT to provide online sports betting services without going through a new RFP process. Raimondo’s DGA business associate Donald Sweitzer is a lobbyist for IGT and probably a shareholder of IGT. If Sweitzer is a shareholder, Raimondo violated both R.I.G.L §§ 36-14-5(d), and 36-14-5(h). If Sweitzer is only a lobbyist for IGT, Raimondo violated R.I.G.L §§ 36-14-5(d). Raimondo’s DGA business associate relationship with Sweitzer creates significant conflicts of interest for Raimondo under the Rhode Island Ethics Code.
The Ethics Commission should investigate what the Raimondo administration has done for IGT while Raimondo and Sweitzer have been DGA business associates. If it does not, then it will send a message that in Rhode Island, the governor can ethically enter into a billion-dollar no-bid deal with a state vendor while the governor’s business associate is a lobbyist for and probably a shareholder of that state vendor."