End Citizens United endorses Councilmember Ritchie Torres for Bronx congressional race

Bronx councilmember Ritchie Torres is proposing a bill that would create an office of Puerto Rico-New York City Affairs outside of City Hall on Jan. 22, 2020. (Photo by Alejandra O'Connell-Domenech)

End Citizens United PAC has endorsed City Councilman Ritchie Torres in the race to represent the south Bronx in Congress. 

The group was created in 2015 with the sole purpose of reversing a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Citizens United vs. Federal Elections Commissions, that paved the way for Super PACs and allowed for unlimited corporate donations to political candidates. 

“For me Citizens United is the seminal scandal of 21 Century politics,” said Torres.”I reject the logic of Citizens United that corporations are people and that corporate money is speech.” 

Tiffany Muller, president of End Citizens United, called Torres “the clear progressive choice,” in the race to replace Congressman Jose Serrano. “As a candidate for city council, Ritchie saw first-hand how public financing removes the power of Big Money from elections and empowers small-dollar donors,” Muller said. End Citizens United is the most recent left-leaning group to back Torres, who has also been endorsed by  the Hotel Trades Council, Laborers LiUNA, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, their political arm the BOLD PAC and two LGBT political groups The Victory Fund and The Equality PAC. 

According to Torres’s staff, the council member has raised $ 259,777 in campaign funds between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, bringing the the total amount he has raised to $1,137,862, none of it raised by corporate PAC money.  According to the most recent FEC numbers from September of last year, Torres has out raised the congressional race’s 10 other candidates which include former City Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Assemblymember Michael Blake, Councilmembers Rubén Díaz Sr. and Ydanis Rodgriguez, Samelys López, Johnathan Ortiz and David Phillip Franks.

The majority the $ 878,048 in campaign contributions came from residents that live outside of the New York’s 15th congressional district and $110,000 came from individuals with connections to real estate including the Hudson Meridian Group founder and chief executive William Cote, THE CITY reported, whose real estate company is behind the most expensive housing complex in the Bronx. 

“By what logic is it OK  to accept contributions from those in finance and in tech but not from real estate? ” said Torres when asked about those campaign donors connected to the industry. “The line drawing is arbitrary…what is most important is that you accept contributions from individuals rather than corporations.” 

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