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Campaign Finance website – a valuable tool for the public as elections approach – Jeff Gross

by Jeff Gross, contributing writer

2022 is another year of Elections both at the Federal and State levels. People throughout Rhode Island will be asked to make donations to various politicians and Political Action Committees (PACs). Since getting involved in State House affairs back in 1987 this writer has found the RI Campaign Finance website to be a valuable tool. 

This website did not exist when this writer was asked by the president of a local sporting group to take over their PAC and become the PAC chairman. The prior chairman badly botched the record keeping and the group was facing a hefty financial penalty that could bankrupt them. After meeting with the Director of Campaign Finance, the documents were brought up to date and after giving my word that this transgression would not occur under my watch, the significant fine was reduced to a nominal one. The PAC operated smoothly for some time even though it was taxing to drive to Branch Ave. to hand deliver the required notarized documents. A difference of opinion with the sporting group ended my Chairmanship position of the PAC. I immediately contacted the Campaign Finance Director and removed myself as Chairman. Within 6 months of my departure the PAC was in violation of documentation laws. These violations were detected on the newly launched Campaign Finance Website.

This website gives anyone information up to the latest filing quarter of any politician or PAC. With the election cycle ramping up, here is a Rhode Island Campaign finance training:  For those of you who want to know how your money is being used by any RI politician or any RI Political Action Committee (PAC) here is an easy step by step way to do it and you can track all RI politicians and PACs.

The cost of a typical Rhode Island election campaign was ~ 5K for 2020 if a politician has 10K or more in their coffers right now—you do the math!  Once you have used the site a couple of times it will become second nature on how to obtain the information.

To get started:

1) Click on this link or google it or copy and paste in your address bar.

https://elections.ri.gov/finance/

2) Click on public info (left side middle)

3) Click search Candidate, PAC or Party filed reports.

4) Enter candidates last name or PAC name or a few letters to search for whomever or whatever you are looking for.

5) Name choices will appear. Click your choice and look at whatever quarterly report of each year you would like. All financial contributions and expenditures must be reported by law. Some reports are 4-5 pages. It is amazing how much money people receive.

6) If you have any questions, please feel to contact me.

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Jeffrey “Jeff” Gross spent 21 years as an Analytical Chemist at the USCG R&D Center in Groton, Connecticut, Woods Hole Laboratories, and Helix Technologies. Changing careers is a “great learning experience for everyone”, Jeff says, and I’m an avid outdoorsman and conservationist, a student of the sciences, and the world. The US holds too many wonders not to take a chance and explore them”.

Jeff is the Model Train and Railroad entrepreneur. Proud Golden Retriever owner. Ultra strong Second Amendment Advocate and Constitutionalist. “Determined seeker of the truth”. 

Jeff is a RIFGPA Legislative and Legal Officer, Freshwater Chairman, NRA Liaison.

His subjects include Outdoors, Second Amendment, Model Railroading, and Whimsical.

He can be reached at: trainsbythe144@aol.com

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