What will federal financial disclosure forms tell us about CD1 candidates?

AT LEFT: Republican Gerry Leonard, is interviewed by Rhode Island Current Reporter Christopher Shea in front of the Colony House in Newport on Sept. 26. Right: Democrat Gabe Amo visits seniors at Franklin Court Assisted Living in Bristol Monday morning. / RHODE ISLAND CURRENT PHOTO

Republican congressional hopeful Gerry Leonard is receiving nearly $150,000 a year between his military pension and disability pay, while Democratic rival Gabe Amo lost his six-figure salary when he quit his White House job in April – and has up to $15,000 in credit card debt.

That’s according to financial statements each candidate filed with the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year.

Federal law requires that members of the U.S. House of Representatives and candidates who raise or spend more than $5,000 on their campaigns share some details of their personal finances by submitting public, written financial disclosures to the House clerk. The 2023 documents — due by May 15 or once they raise or spend $5,000 — include financial statements up to the filing period and cover all of calendar year 2022.

Leonard, 58, was paid $91,400 last year at Warwick-based Bentley Builders LLC, where he’s worked since 2020 as a manager for federal construction projects. However, as of July 7 this year, he only earned $22,800 from the same job before he stopped work to run for Congress.

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Campaign Manager Brandon Bell said he worked under Leonard for the company out of Naval Station Newport.

“He and I only procured and saw through from start to finish projects for the federal government, not the private sector,” Bell said.

The Republican’s disclosure form also lists $101,789.58 in military pension from his 30 years in the U.S. Marine Corps and $45,886.68 in disability pay from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

“Gerry is a disabled veteran,” Bell said. “I think it’s the result of an entire career of combat — that’s 30 years.”

Leonard’s campaign did not respond to repeated requests for comment on the nature of his disability payments.

As of July, Leonard earned more than $1,000 in interest on his Navy Federal money market account, according to the House financial disclosure report. The account is valued between $100,001 to $250,000. He also listed a separate Navy Federal checking account with the same value range, and a $1,001 to $15,000 checking account with USAA.

He also had between $500,001 and $1 million in a retirement account through a plan for federal employees and military members.

Leonard has no liabilities listed in his financial disclosure form.

As of Aug. 16, Leonard’s campaign reported $111,082.62 cash on hand to the Federal Election Commission. Leonard boosted his campaign with a $50,000 personal loan, alongside $40,284.13 from individual donors.

Amo, 35, gave up his primary source of earned income when he left his $110,000- a-year job at the White House to run for Congress.

His campaign declined to discuss or answer any questions about his finances, including the reported $10,000-$15,000 balance on his Bank of America credit card as of his May 23 filing.

Amo reported $37,660 in income this year before he left his position as special assistant to the president and deputy director for the White House’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.

As of May 23, the Pawtucket native had between $1,001 and $15,000 in savings with Bank of America, and $1,001-$15,000 in a separate Bank of America checking account.

That doesn’t include the $15,001-$50,000 in a retirement trust through The Vanguard Group Inc., as well as three separate mutual funds with Vanguard, each of which have between $1,001 and $15,000, and five mutual funds through a retirement plan with Fidelity Investments Inc., ranging from $1,001 to $50,000 in value.

Based on his various retirement accounts and other investments, Amo earned between $417 and $4,200 in interest through May 23 of this year.

Nancy Lavin is a staff writer for the Rhode Island Current.

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