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February 20, 2018

Paiva Weed joins those missing campaign finance reporting deadline (Updated)


Update: According to Board of Election records, Teresa Paiva Weed’s campaign filed its report on Sunday, Feb. 11, after the publication of this article. An update to this story can be found here – Paiva Weed files campaign finance report


Former state Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed has joined the ranks of those failing to file timely campaign finance reports, listed as “past due” on a report that was to be filed by January 31 for the last quarter of 2017.

Paiva Weed is not alone in missing a filing deadline, as the state’s list of delinquent filers continues to grow, as does the amount owed in fines and interest, now nearing $4 million.

Paiva Weed left the Senate Last Spring when she took a position as chief executive of the Hospital Association of Rhode Island. Her last filing was for the period ending September 30, 2017, showing nearly $60,000 remaining in her campaign fund. Her report for the three-month period ending September 30, showed that Paiva Weed made several contributions to charities and a contribution to David Hanos, who was the endorsed Democratic candidate for the Senate 13 seat she had occupied.

This is the first time that Paiva Weed has not filed a campaign finance report, according to Board of Elections records dating back to April 2002.

Hanos lost in a spirited primary election to Dawn Euer, who went on to win against Republican challenger, Mike Smith.

Once leaving office, candidates can either keep their accounts active for use in a probable future campaign, donate funds to charities, return money to donors, or donate to other political campaigns.

Late reports are not uncommon. Some candidates and office holders, consistently ignore the filing requirement, facing fines and penalties that in some cases accumulate to thousands of dollars. Paiva Weed is not listed among those owing fines, as of January 31. The initial fine is $25.

Board of Election officials have said it is difficult to pursue these cases in court. These are civil, not criminal cases, and officials have said judges have reduced fines considerably, believing the penalties and interest unreasonable.

Meanwhile, there is little incentive to persuade delinquents to pay their fines. Efforts in the legislature to block delinquent filers from running for office have been unsuccessful. David Sholes, a former state Senator and on the board of the Board of Elections, has said the strongest leverage to collect fines is the potential negative publicity in a political campaign, or notoriety from news articles.

A review of the Senate 13 candidates from last year also found Independent Kimberly Ripoli listed as past due, also after a late filing in the fall, which landed her on the delinquent list, owing a $25 fine. In that fall report, she showed a campaign fund balance of $232.

Former Councilman John Florez, who has moved to Texas and gave up his council seat, ran up considerable debt in his Senate 13 campaign, loaning himself some $70,000 on top of loans he took when he ran for council. His year-end report shows a deficit in his campaign account of $92,871.

Smith, the Republican, dissolved his campaign account, while David Allard showed a year end balance of zero. Euer had a balance of $3,974 and Hanos a balance of $3,062, both at year end.

A look at the Newport City Council found one council person’s account listed as inactive and another not filed since last October. Kathryn Leonard, who last filed on Oct. 19, 2017 showed a robust account balance then of $24,657. {Update – February 13th: Kate Leonard and the Board of Elections confirmed on February 13th that Leonard’s filing was in fact filed on January 18, 2018.}

Marco Camacho’s account is listed as inactive. Camacho was just seated on the council in January, filling Florez seat. Other council members showed balances of from $3 to $2,700.

There are several interesting statewide races, with incumbents for at least two – governor and U.S. Senate – having a large fundraising edge. Here’s a look at some of those campaigns, and totals for the year ending on Dec. 31, 2017.

  • U.S. Senate. Incumbent Senator Sheldon Whitehouse had a huge fundraising edge over his Republican opponent, former state Supreme Court Justice Robert Flanders. Whitehouse’s campaign account balance was $2.8 million, Flanders was $284,652.
  • Governor. Incumbent Governor Gina Raimondo’s balance was $3.35 million; Republican and Cranston Mayor Alan Fung, $240,572; Republican and state Rep. Patricia Morgan, $117,300; and Independent and former Republican State Representative Joseph Trillo, $126,858.
  • Lt Governor. This race – at least the Democratic primary – is among the most interesting and highly competitive races in New England this year, according to the Boston Globe. Challenger Aaron Regunberg, a Providence state Representative and a progressive Democrat, had $275,571 in his campaign account at year’s end, while incumbent Dan McKee, a Democrat and former Cumberland mayor, had $126,622. Paul Pence, the announced Republican candidate, had a zero balance.
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