Raimondo signs federal ethics agreement, details her finances

Politics - Government

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Gov. Gina Raimondo has signed a federal ethics agreement and provided details on her family’s finances as she seeks to win confirmation to President Biden’s cabinet as the new U.S. commerce secretary.

The governor signed the ethics letter on Tuesday, according to a copy posted by the U.S. Office of Government Ethics on its website. Other cabinet nominees have filed similar letters with the office this month.

“The purpose of this letter is to describe the steps that I will take to avoid any actual or apparent conflict of interest in the event that I am confirmed for the position of the Secretary of Commerce,” Raimondo wrote, echoing the language used by other Biden appointees.

Biden named Raimondo as his pick for commerce secretary earlier this month, and she is scheduled to appear before the Senate Commerce Committee for a confirmation hearing on Tuesday.

Unsurprisingly, Raimondo attests in the ethics letter that she will resign as governor if she is confirmed to the cabinet by the Senate. Lt. Gov. Dan McKee will succeed her at that point, and he has said he expects the transition could take place by roughly mid-February.

Raimondo said she has already resigned from her position on the board of Yale University, her alma mater, and from a nonprofit group called Truth Initiative that opposes “smoking, vaping and nicotine,” according to its website.

In her financial disclosure, Raimondo listed multiple investment and retirement accounts in addition to her $150,245 salary as governor. The accounts under her name were valued at between $1.09 million and $2.53 million, according to an analysis by 12 News. (Nominees are required to report the figures in ranges, rather than exact dollar amounts.)

She reported a continued interest in a fund at her former venture-capital firm, Point Judith Capital, but said it was valued at $1,000 or less, though she estimated it generated between $2,501 to $5,000 in interest income last year. (A footnote in the disclosure said the interest amount is an estimate pending a final K-1 IRS tax form.)

Raimondo’s husband, Andy Moffit, reported earning a salary from his current employer, the tech firm PathAI, as well as his former employer McKinsey & Co. and Harvard University; he was not required to disclose how much he was paid. Moffit reported his own IRA and McKinsey retirement plans, as well as over $1 million in a Special Situations Fund.

The couple has set up two family trusts, according to Raimondo’s financial disclosure, invested mostly in a variety of Fidelity and Vanguard funds. Each trust is worth between $640,000 and $1.67 million. They also have between $100,000 and $250,000 in cash in a bank account, and over $250,000 in each of their 529 college savings plans accounts for their two children.

Raimondo said under current law she is eligible for a state pension of $1,288 a month when she turns 67 years old, in 2038.

It remains unclear how quickly the Senate will move to a final vote on Raimondo’s nomination.

“I think there’ll be great pressure to get all the president’s nominees completed,” U.S. Sen. Jack Reed told 12 News on Wednesday. “I think Senator [Mitch] McConnell, the Republican leader, understands that it is a presumption that a new president in order to begin an administration, you know, there’s a certain deference to getting these confirmations done.”

However, Reed warned that the Senate is facing unusual certainty about its work in the coming weeks due to the looming impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, which could limit the time available to vote on nominations like Raimondo’s.

“Her hearing’s next week; I suspect she’s going to do a superb job,” said Reed, who is expected to introduce Raimondo before the Commerce Committee. “And I think also that they will try to move rapidly. But around here, rapidly — particularly in this context — might not be a day or two. It might be longer.”

Ted Nesi (tnesi@wpri.com) is a Target 12 investigative reporter and 12 News politics/business editor. He co-hosts Newsmakers and writes Nesi’s Notes on Saturdays. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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