EngageRI donates $1,000 each to top six in General Assembly

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Engage Rhode Island, the deep-pocketed group that successfully pushed passage of the new pension law, donated $6,000 to the General Assembly’s top six Democrats late last year through its new political action committee.

EngageRI PAC contributed $1,000 each on Dec. 29 to the campaign war chests of House Speaker Gordon Fox, Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed, House Majority Leader Nick Mattiello, Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio and the two finance committee chairmen, Rep. Helio Melo and Sen. Dan DaPonte, according to campaign finance records reviewed by WPRI.com. The Providence Journal first reported the donations.

“EngageRI PAC gave to General Assembly leadership for their efforts and courage in the pension reform efforts leading to the passage of the Rhode Island Retirement Security Act of 2011,” Jon Duffy, EngageRI’s spokesman, told WPRI.com. The PAC is now “in a very active fundraising mode,” he said.

The six donations used up most of the $7,840 the EngageRI PAC raised in December from a group that included Duffy, Paul Choquette of Gilbane, Ed Cooney of Nortek, John Galvin of Collette Vacations and John Muggeridge of Fidelity Investments. The original 501(c)4 EngageRI has not said where it got its budget of more than $600,000.

EngageRI PAC did not make donations to Treasurer Gina Raimondo, the driving force behind the pension bill who inspired EngageRI, or Gov. Lincoln Chafee, who signed the bill into law. The group has said it will provide support for legislators who voted for the pension overhaul.

• Related: EngageRI forms PAC to fund pols; spent $617K for pension bill (Dec. 16)

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