A California-based investment management firm has been fined $100,000 by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for political contributions made by members of the firm to political figures, including then-General Treasurer Gina Raimondo while she was running for governor in 2014.
“The campaign did not accept this donation,” said current campaign spokeswoman Emily Samsel in a statement, who added, “It was returned Oct. 2014.”
Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. of Los Angeles, California accepted a settlement agreement without admitting to violations of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s “pay-to-play” rule for investment advisors.
Three associates of Oaktree, which had assets under management in 2018 of approximately $110 billion, “made campaign contributions to candidates for elected office in California and Rhode Island… “with influence over selecting investment advisors for public pension plans in those states,” according to the SEC order.
“On September 15, 2014, a covered associate of Respondent made a $1,000 campaign contribution to the Treasurer of Rhode Island, who was also a candidate for Governor of Rhode Island. After the September 15, 2014 contribution was made, it was returned to the covered associate who made the contribution,” according to the order.
Raimondo herself has not offered a comment about the issue, but political opponents seized on it and issued critical statements.
“Raimondo’s relentless pay-to-play fundraisers with Wall Street and industries she’s supposed to regulate have hurt people and hurt Rhode Island,” said Democratic primary opponent Matt Brown in a statement. “It’s outrageous, and part of a broken system of establishment insiders benefiting from office and using the system for personal political gain.”
“Rhode Islanders intuitively know that donors in California, New York, and Chicago have no real altruistic interest in our state,” said Republican Allen Fung in a statement issued by his campaign. “This is pay-to-play Raimondo finally getting caught by the Feds”.
See the SEC Order here: SEC Raimondo