Updated March 25 at 12:26pm

Engage RI spent $525K lobbying pension reform


PROVIDENCE - Engage Rhode Island, the business-led group lobbying in support of a broad overhaul of the state’s pension system, spent $524,655 in support of the cause during October, according to reports filed with the secretary of state’s office.

More than $388,000 of the total spent by Engage RI went to public relations firm Duffy & Shanley, with the majority of that money earmarked for “media advertising,” the report said.

Engage RI also spent $31,350 on polling, $64,986 on “grassroots advocacy” and $30,000 on lobbying from Christopher Boyle and Cara Cromwell.

An alliance of businesses and social service organization, Engage RI has led the media campaign in support of the state pension reform bill slated to be voted on by lawmakers Thursday.

Engage RI has not disclosed the identities of its donors.

Engage RI flooded the airwaves with ads in support of pension reform during October while public sector unions and retiree group AARP countered with their own ads questioning the bill.

AARP spent just over $99,000 in October on lobbying, according to its filings with secretary of state. Of AARP’s spending during the period, $53,000 was for television advertising, $25,000 for radio advertising and $750 to advertise on Facebook.

The report does not say whether all of the organization’s spending during the period was pension related.

The Rhode Island Retirement Security Coalition, the main union group opposing the pension bill is not listed with the secretary of state yet.


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