If there’s anyone fighting to end how political money is raised through the decade-old U.S. Supreme Court decision known as Citizens United, it’s U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel.
At least as far as the advocacy group End Citizens United Action Fund is concerned.
Engel received an “A” rating from the group in its inaugural scorecard, designed to track how lawmakers in Washington are supporting legislation the group says would end the dominance of “big money” in politics, while restoring ethics in D.C.
Engel co-sponsored the For the People Act that was intended to overhaul the election process, including how campaigns are financed. While the bill made it through the House, it’s tied up in the Republican-controlled Senate.
“Ten years ago, the Supreme Court made an awful ruling with their Citizens United decision, and our democracy has been paying the price ever since,” Engel said, in a release. “Let’s be clear: Money is not speech. Our democracy shouldn’t belong to the person — or corporation — with the deepest pockets. We deserve better.”
Citizens United was a lawsuit a conservative group brought against the Federal Election Commission arguing that First Amendment protections extended to corporations. Opponents say the 2010 decision opened the door for large corporations and wealthy individuals, like the Koch brothers, to have deeper influence in elections simply by spending more money than everyone else.
Eliot Engel may need all the campaign dollars he can get, however, as yet another Democrat has decided to challenge him for his longtime congressional seat.
Sammy Ravelo, a 25-year member of the New York Police Department, is jumping into the race, according to News 12 Westchester. Ravelo, who immigrated from the Dominican Republic as a teenager, says he wants more federal education dollars, and reform on both gun issues and immigration.
Ravelo joins a primary field that includes Jamaal Bowman and Andom Ghebreghiorgis, among others.