Wednesday October 21, 2020

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Brett Smiley, RI administrative director, has left his policy advisory firms

A GoLocal investigation series published in 2017 found that while Brett Smiley served in top positions for Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza and Governor Gina Raimondo, he was also involved in a complex network of companies involved in policy advice. His companies represented a number of politicians who had to appear before him in his official role in government.

Smiley informs GoLocal that it has withdrawn its stake in the company.

“I returned my property rights to my partner,” said Smiley in an interview. His partner is Edward Galvin. who served as Raimondo’s campaign treasurer and owns a consulting firm that works with political candidates to comply with Rhode Island laws and federal campaign finance.

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Smiley is currently the Administrative Director of Rhode Island State in the Raimondo government and earns $ 155,000.

But everyone expects Smiley to run for Mayor of Providence in 2022. GoLocal reported that in early 2019, during Raimondo’s chief of staff, Smiley met with members of the Providence city council to seek support for his mayoral election.

GoLocal reported in 2017:

In the past five years, Rhode Island state and local government candidates have paid nearly $ 300,000 to a network of Smiley-owned companies. Federal candidates in both Rhode Island and across the country have made hundreds of thousands of additional payments to Smileys companies.

“Smiley’s continued ownership of the company raises questions that have yet to be answered. In the past, we have told GoLocal that Common Cause believes Smiley should seek an opinion from the Rhode Island Ethics Commission regarding his continued ownership of the consultancy, ”said John Marion, director of Rhode Island Common Cause.

Smiley still defends his decision to own a political consultancy and at the same time hold high-ranking mandates in city and state government.

“I’m confident I got it right,” said Smiley.

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Governor Raimondo met with Smiley’s clients while Smiley was Chief of Staff

In 2017, then State Representative Patricia Morgan told GoLocal: “Of course this is a conflict of interest. Because the governor’s chief of staff gathers information and advises the governor on political decisions, he has influence that can either help or harm a local authority. In this case, with taxpayers having PawSox Stadium on the table, there are too many gray areas to come into play. For example, if the stadium is approved, the lease that governs the amount of financial liabilities that will be transferred from the owners of the ball team to the state taxpayers will certainly involve the chief of staff. ”

Consulting firm ownership isn’t the only business that raises questions. Smiley also sold their home to Brown University in 2017 for $ 1.1 million – 30% more than the home’s estimated value of $ 843,600.

Smiley also left another company, Progressive Field Strategies, a Delaware corporation.

He tells GoLocal that he is proud of his record and that it has helped build a successful small business.

EDITOR’S NOTE: A previous version misidentified Edward Galvin.

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