Recently, WPRI and the Providence Journal reported how Brett Smiley, Governor Gina Raimondo’s Director of Administration, had taken thousands of dollars in contributions from individuals who are employed by state vendors. This has occurred despite Smiley promising to the Ethics Commission that he would not solicit or accept any campaign contributions from state vendors. So far, Smiley has returned $5,000 in contributions from individuals who are employed by the following state vendors: Shechtman Halperin Savage, Peregrine Group, J.R. Vinagro Corp, Washington Trust, and AAA Northeast. Smiley has not returned contributions from individuals associated with the Rosciti Construction company, or Accenture LLP.
R.I. Republican Party Chairwoman Sue Cienki commented: “It is slimy behavior to specifically promise the Ethics Commission that you won’t accept donations from state vendors, and then turn around and take them. For violating his commitment to the Ethics Commission Smiley should immediately resign from his position as Director of Administration. He has shown he can not be trusted to ethically perform his job as Director of Administration while running for mayor. Lt. Governor McKee and the Senate leadership should join us in asking for his resignation. Normally, we would just ask Governor Raimondo to fire Smiley, but it’s clear to most that she doesn’t care about doing the job she was elected to do anymore.”
Cienki concluded: “It is a violation of the Ethics Code for a public official to solicit contributions from vendors if that official exercises supervisory responsibilities or control over the vendor. We hope the media will investigate Smiley’s fundraising activities to determine if Smiley or a surrogate solicited contributions from state vendors. In the meantime, if Mr. Smiley does not resign immediately, the R.I. Republican Party will prepare a complaint requesting that the Ethics Commission investigate Smiley’s fundraising activities with state vendors. Let’s hope the Ethics Commission is at least willing to investigate a politician who lied to them.”