North Kingstown residents have seen the mailer, and laughed at the misspellings. What’s interesting about the Republican campaign mailer sent out this week to North Kingstown residents is the return address. Who is the Endicott Foundation? And why do they care about the North Kingstown town council?
The Endicott Foundation is registered as a political action committee (PAC) that appears to comply with Rhode Island’s disclosure laws for political donations, so we can answer that. The Foundation’s legal address is not the one on the mailer. According to the Board of Elections, the Foundation headquarters are housed at 1651 Ten Rod Road, a house near or in the prospective Rolling Green development. According to North Kingstown land records, the house belongs to Mark L. Hawkins, the Rolling Green developer. The Foundation has only the one filing on record at the Board of Elections, and appears to have been created on October 26.
Disclosure reports filed with the state Board of Elections say the Foundation raised a total $7,155 in cash. Apparently this was at a fundraiser on October 30, since they report a $428 in-kind donation from Council President McKay’s brother Keith, for food and drink, and all the donations except for those from Hawkins and Carl Wicker have the same date. Of the total raised, $3,475, a bit less than half, came from people or family members of people with a financial interest in either the controversial Rolling Green real estate development, the Tarbox auto dealer construction atop the town aquifer, or the Wickford El development and bond funding proposal.
Town council candidate Doreen Costa, and the brothers of candidate Kerry McKay gave to Endicott (Indeed, Keith McKay appears to have provided the venue for the event.) PAC expenditures on behalf of a political campaign are unlimited only when there is no coordination between the PAC and the candidate.
If the McKay or Costa campaigns participated in the production of this mailer—planning, writing, donating—then the expense of its production and dissemination should appear as a donation on both their finance reports, and the reports of Endicott. It does not, either because they are not aware that it is required, or because they are aware, and the amount raised by Endicott ($7,583, counting the in-kind donations of “food, beverage, venue” from Keith McKay) is well above the amount the law permits them to accept from a PAC. Since the amount that may be donated in a calendar year is only $1,000, per general law 17-25-10.1(a)(1), this is true even if the amount is divided between those two candidates, or between the five candidates endorsed on the mailer. (Where a headline says they favor “Eductaion.”)
The name appears to derive from Camp Endicott, a Seabee camp in Davisville, used during WWII.