Nellie Gorbea Proposes Lobbyist Oversight Reform

Providence – Amidst new revelations of undisclosed insider dealing in the 38 Studios saga, Democratic candidate for Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea today released a three-point proposal to increase the disclosure and oversight of lobbying activity in Rhode Island.  The plan includes the establishment of a telephone hotline and website for citizens to report suspected undisclosed lobbying activity. 

“Rhode Islanders deserve a government that works for them and not the insiders and well-connected,” stated Gorbea.  “The unregistered lobbying by 38 Studios dealmakers is the latest example of the kind of back-room influence peddling that has caused Rhode Islanders to lose trust in their government.  As Secretary of State, I will increase the disclosure and oversight of lobbying activity to make our government transparent and accountable to the people of Rhode Island.”

Gorbea’s proposal includes the following:

  1. LobbyTracker Citizens Hotline:  As Secretary of State, I will establish a telephone hotline and a website for citizens to report suspected lobbying activity that may not have been disclosed as required by law.  By working together, we can bring an end to the back-room influence peddling that has plagued our state for so long.
  2. Increase Disclosure Requirements for Executive Branch Lobbying:  Currently, Rhode Island law requires that those lobbying the executive branch of government or  public corporations must report their activities only twice per year  (those lobbying the legislative branch must file monthly reports).  As Secretary of State, I will submit legislation to require executive branch lobbyists to report monthly to ensure that all lobbying activity is publicly disclosed.
  3. Create a Lobbying Data Dashboard:  The public has a right to know which topics or bills lobbyists are working to influence. I will create an easy-to-use Lobbying Data Dashboard on the Secretary of State website so that Rhode Islanders can see which issues or pieces of legislation are being lobbied upon most frequently and by whom, ranked in order of frequency and by issue topic.

“As the state’s Chief Information Officer, the Secretary of State must be dedicated to making Rhode Island government transparent and accountable to the public. As a candidate, I have set a standard of transparency and accountability by releasing my tax returns and I have worked over the past 20 years to make sure that government is in the hands of all the people not the insiders.  My proposal to reform lobbying oversight in Rhode Island is part of a lifetime effort to make sure government works for all Rhode Islanders,” she added.

Gorbea has held leadership positions in both the public and private sector in Rhode Island for the past 20 years. Gorbea’s priorities as Secretary of State include: assuring elections are fast, fair and accurate; shining a light on how government works so voters can see who is influencing Rhode Island government; and making sure that businesses have the information they need to start and thrive.

If elected, Gorbea would be the first Hispanic woman elected to statewide office in New England.