ARLENE VIOLET - Candidates enrich consultants outside R.I.

ARLENE VIOLET - Candidates enrich consultants outside R.I.

Kudos to Golocalprov (Aug. 20) which recently investigated whether Rhode Island candidates for governor put their money where their respective mouths are. Each candidate speaks rhapsodically about creating jobs in the state. Yet, when it comes to where they put their donors dollars, 72 percent of funds expended to get them elected are given to out-of-state political consultants, media buyers and direct mail vendors with less than three weeks away from the primary.

Look, you might think that this is no big deal, but it is rather insulting to your intelligence and to the many fine consultants, et al, who try to earn a living in the state. Here's some of the politicians' rhetoric:

Pell: "...We need to invest in our future again." (TV ad)

Yet, Mr. Pell has spent about 83 percent of his funds on out-of-state companies.

Raimondo: "...Turning our economy around means making things in Rhode Island again." (TV ad)

Ms. Raimondo has spent 76 percent of her contributions on outside vendors.

Block: "...We will put money back in your pocket and together we can fix R.I." (TV Ad)

Mr. Block was talking about rooting out governmental waste and cutting taxes, but it still is cheeky to spend 66 percent from his coffers on outside firms.

Fung: "...I became Mayor of Cranston ... and helped create 1,000 jobs ... I'd do the same as governor." (TV Ad)

Mr. Fung dished out 51 percent to outside companies, plus he flew himself to Ohio to film an ad in a diner in Columbus, Ohio, while taking on camera about creating Rhode Island jobs.

Good grief, folks!

This state is awash with competent campaign personnel who are extremely savvy political consultants and pollsters. Jim Gaffney, Victor Profughi and Tony Pesaturo come to mind. There is no better creator of political ads than Rob LaChance of Tin Can Alley. Media buyers like Ed Valente are experts and secure prime placement for their clients.

What is so disconcerting about the outside spending is the lack of insight and judgment exhibited by the candidates. There is a huge disconnect between what these candidates preach and what they do. The irony is, of course, the outside firms sometimes are oblivious to the nuances of politics in this state, so they can end up doing the candidate more harm than good. As a matter of fact, couldn't one of these out-of-state geniuses caution even one of the candidates to how hiring them to make an ad about building job growth in Rhode Island might cause a backlash? If they are so smart, why couldn't they see this spending as a campaign issue, even if the gubernatorial candidate had no sense?

The bottom line is that all the candidates seem insincere about the promises of job creation when they didn't care two cents about doing so during their campaigns, except for their own insiders who run the operation. One can only imagine what is in store for the job-seekers here, outside of the winning "team." It is also strikingly pathetic that all the campaigns seek non-paid volunteers to get them elected, but pass over them for any real jobs or training.

Reporter Arielle Confino of Golocalprov did a great analysis piece.

Violet is an attorney and former state attorney general.