New York, N.Y. (November 14, 2019) – Today leading community organizations sent a letter to New York City Councilmember Ritchie Torres, who is running for Congress, calling on him to return $11,200 he received from hedge fund manager Dan Loeb. In 2017, after Loeb posted racist remarks aimed at Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Torres pledged to refuse contributions from Loeb due to his “racially charged hostilities.” But now he has accepted $11,200 from Loeb and his wife.
Hon. Ritchie Torres
Torres for Congress
77-02 19th Road
East Elmhurst, NY 11370
Dear Council Member Torres:
The organizations signed on to this letter are committed to social justice. A critical component to achieving this goal is ending the power of corporations and their wealthy owners from influencing our elections and democracy. We are also committed to being principled and consistent in our positions. You have stood alongside our members and leaders in support of critical social justice issues in the past. We valued your support in those fights for justice. We write to you now in hopes that you can join us in our shared vision of a city, state and country free of the influence of the wealthy and powerful.
We urge you to stop putting the personal needs of billionaires over the common good of all New Yorkers by returning campaign contributions from billionaire hedge fund manager Dan Loeb, denouncing his racist remarks.
In 2017, you pledged to not accept donations from billionaire hedge fund manager Dan Loeb after he posted racist remarks directed at Democratic Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.
At the time, you were running for City Council Speaker and rightfully expressed outrage.
You were unequivocal in denouncing any candidate who would take Loeb’s campaign contributions saying, “What kind of message does it send to people if we accept money from people who would direct racially charged hostilities toward elected officials? Money in politics should reflect the people we represent, and our values as public servants.”
We implore you to show that same commitment, consistency, and integrity and return the $11,200 in donations from Loeb and his wife to your congressional campaign.
Dan Loeb has often used his money to support Republican candidates, a party that has done great harm to our communities. He has also repeatedly made racist attacks on elected officials, teachers and unions. Loeb and his wife maxing out to your campaign for Congress does not change these facts.
We need a government that puts the needs of everyday New Yorkers first, and we need a democracy that prioritizes public needs and the common good. This means rejecting racism, privatization, austerity and right-wing rhetoric everywhere — especially from billionaires.
We urge you to immediately return the $11,200 you received from Dan Loeb and all other money from Loeb-related PACs and Super PACs. We implore you to reassert your position from 2017 by denouncing Loeb’s racism and standing up for the people you seek to represent and for the values of democracy and justice.
Alliance for Quality Education
Citizen Action of New York
Make the Road Action
New York Communities for Change
Strong Economy for All Coalition