‘By 2013, Gina Raimondo had raised more than $2 million, a staggering sum for a still-undeclared Gubernatorial candidate in a thimble-size state. Donors from Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs, Bain Capital and JPMorgan Chase showered her with money, with more than $247,000 coming from New York contributors alone. A shadowy 501(c)4 public-advocacy group called, EngageRI was especially created for her run for Treasurer – spending $740,000 promoting Raimondo’s ‘national’ pension reform agenda, of which her husband, Andy Moffit is still a board member.
Immediately upon assuming office in 2011, Raimondo spearheaded a plan to move billions of dollars of pension money into higher-risk, higher-fee alternative investments, resulting in Rhode Island paying higher fees to Wall Street.
At the time, The Providence Journal reported that the move generated roughly $70 million in fees for the financial industry — the same industry that had made major contributions to Raimondo’s political campaigns. Also, according to GoLocalProv, documents from the Treasurer’s office showed that before Raimondo took office, Rhode Island “investment fees were among the lowest of any state pension fund in the country,” but that “under Raimondo, the cost of investment fees nearly tripled.” A union-financed investigation estimated that fees increased almost 700 percent under her brief control.
According to the Journal , some of those fees from the $7.7 billion Rhode Island pension system are paid to Point Judith, a financial firm created by Raimondo that Rhode Island loaned money to under the previous treasurer, Frank Caprio (D) – for her to start. Raimondo’s personal blind trust fund still periodically earns income from its Point Judith holdings. However, Raimondo’s spokesperson told IBTimes that the Treasurer has taken all “recommended steps to assure that potential conflicts of interest would be avoided during her administration.”
No one knew that part of Raimondo’s strategy for saving money involved handing more than $1 billion – 14 percent of the state fund – to hedge funds, including a trio of well-known New York-based funds: Dan Loeb’s Third Point Capital was given $66 million, Ken Garschina’s Mason Capital got $64 million and $70 million went to Paul Singer’s Elliott Management. The funds now stand collectively to be paid tens of millions in management fees every single year by the already overburdened taxpayers of our flat-broke state.