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Senate Judiciary passes bill to allow campaign cash to be used for child care

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What is most essential in any campaign is time,” said Liz Gledhill, executive director of the Rhode Island Democratic Women’s Caucus. “The time to canvas, the time to network, the time to campaign. Childcare expenditures are expenditures of time. Making them allowable is tilting an already unbalanced play board toward fairness and equity for all candidates.


The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday heard testimony on and passed Senate Bill 2273, which would “permit campaign funds to be used to pay all child care expenses that are incurred as a direct result of campaign activity.”

The bill was introduced by Senator Gayle Goldin (Democrat, District 3, Providence) and State Treasurer Seth Magaziner testified in support. (Picture above)

This commonsense bill was met with some some concern from Rhode Island House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello (Democrat, District 15, Cranston), who said at a Boston Globe event:

Don’t forget, men and women could start doing that. When you start opening up the scope of what people can use campaign money on it could be a slippery slope and subject to abuse. We’ve already had too many elected officials get in trouble with misappropriating campaign funds. So I’m leery to do that for that reason alone, but we’ll look at it.

Mattiello, of course, has spent over $340,000 on meals and cigars with his campaign cash. So that slippery slope is already a cliff he’s happily fallen over.


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Testifying on the Senate Bill, Liz Geldhill, executive director of the Rhode Island Democratic Women’s Caucus referenced the Speaker’s comments, saying, “When supporters make a donation to a candidate’s campaign, not only are they giving them a vote of confidence on election day, but with that donation also comes trust, the security of knowing that that the money raised will be spent consistent in a way with their beliefs and their campaign. Requirements of a winning campaign have never included cigars, wine or expensive dinners on the hill, yet those are allowable expenses.

“What is most essential in any campaign is time. The time to canvas, the time to network, the time to campaign. Childcare expenditures are expenditures of time. Making them allowable is tilting an already unbalanced play board toward fairness and equity for all candidates.”

The bill still needs to pass the full Senate and the House before landing on the Governor’s desk for a signature.

Here’s video of the Senate Committee taking up the bill:


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Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for nearly a decade. atomicsteve@gmail.com