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Monday, August 19, 2013

More RISC-y moves

RI Taxpayers picks obscure consultant as new President
By Will Collette

Group formerly know as RISC picks mystery man to rescue it from itself.
[From the RI Taxpayers website]
RI Taxpayers started out as the RI Shoreline Coalition, a group of Shelter Harbor fat cats with allies among Charlestown’s landed gentry. They started out dedicated to fighting against the Narragansett Indian Tribe and for voting rights for non-resident property owners. 

For years, they were headquartered in Charlestown. There’s a lot of overlap between RISC and the CCA Party. Indeed, I sent samples obtained from a reliable source to a blood lab and discovered that the CCA Party and RISC have very similar DNA.

The name changed, but they 
still peddle the same
right-wing crap
Then they decided to go statewide, changing their name to the RI Statewide Coalition. They recruited a bunch of high profile conservatives for their board.

Their shrewdest move boosted the amount of cash they took in from their out-of-state backers after they set up a non-profit “foundation.” That provided an opportunity for these donors to make tax-deductible donations, even though the Foundation did little more than pay for RISC's political work.

The RISC Foundation was hauling in an average of $150,000 a year, almost all of it (87%) from out-of-state fat cats.

Then they tried going really big-time by recruiting conservative PR flak Donna Perry, sister of WPRO shock-jerk John DePetro. She moved the office out of Charlestown and into Warwick. 

More big changes were afoot, making it look like RISC was planning to become a new political party. They recruited so-called “Moderate” Ken Block as President and Tea Party leader Lisa Blais as their lobbyist. They made another name change, this time to “Rhode Island Taxpayers.”

But apparently their reach was longer than their grasp as things started to come apart. Ken Block dropped off to pursue his ambition to make a credible run for Governor. 

Then RISC reported that Donna Perry had resigned “to pursue other interests,” the usual code for getting pushed out.

The group has just announced its “election” of Larry Girouard, President of Business Avionix Company, as the new President. Business Avionix is a business consulting firm with client list topped by Gem Plumbing – a testimonial from Anthony Gemma is near the top of the list.

That's the same Anthony Gemma who ran against David Cicciline for the First Congressional District in 2012. Gemma made the wild and unsubstantiated claim that Cicciline had engaged in voter fraud. He filed a complaint with the Attorney General even though he had no evidence.

On July 30, the Attorney General's office reported that it found no evidence of criminal wrong-doing and closed its files on Gemma's slander. But, hey, I'm sure Gemma has better evidence that Girouard is a good business consultant.   
Hooking up with the Tea Party and Ken Block and
Moderates didn't help RISC

Girouard is going to face a lot of challenges, not the least of which will be to answer the question “who are you?” 

The RISC Foundation, RISC’s once-powerful fund-raising machine, reported a huge revenue drop in their latest report to IRS. They only raised $43,439, compared to $172,900 the year before.  That's a 75% drop!  

However, they spent $165,582 for a deficit of $121,935. They blew their nearly all of their surplus and ended the year with only $35,432 in net assets.

The main RISC organization is not in the same dire circumstances, but their revenues are greatly diminished since they counted on money transfers for the Foundation, as well as for the Foundation to pay most of the bills. The IRS-990 reports are always months behind - the most recent ones were filed on September 30, 2011. I can't wait to see their next ones! 

The next time you hear RISC/RI Taxpayers or whatever they call themselves next complain about state spending and state deficits, remember this is coming from a group that has pretty much over-spent itself to death. Maybe that’s why they needed to bring in this business consultant dude as new Prez.