Demands Espada to either refund campaign contributors or donate money to legitimate charities; Wants an end to legal defense fund loophole in campaign finance laws

New York, NY – Bill Samuels, founder of the New Roosevelt Initiative, publicly called on disgraced, now-indicted State Senator Pedro Espada to forgo using his remaining campaign funds to establish a legal defense fund on his own behalf to fight prosecution from the Department of Justice and New York Attorney General. As of his last filing on September 3rd, Espada, who was arraigned on federal corruption charges in Brooklyn on Tuesday, had almost $300,000 left in his campaign committee account.

Samuels, whose NRI independent expenditure was one of the first organizations to endorse Espada’s challenger Gustavo Rivera, led a successful grassroots campaign to oust the incumbent.

“Espada should not be allowed to use his remaining campaign contributions to defend himself against the various state and federal charges he is facing,” Samuels said. “He should either return the money to his contributors or donate the funds to a legitimate charity. It is the right and transparent thing to do.”

“While we don’t know how much campaign cash Espada has on hand since he didn’t file mandatory disclosures following the election, we can safely assume that he’ll be using as much as $290,556.24 to fend off these criminal charges.”  Samuels continued, “This loophole must be closed so that corrupt politicians, such as Espada who is well known for his campaign finance violations, can’t just skirt the law and use their ill-gotten gains to defend themselves.”

Samuels concluded, “I am proud to have played a role in electing insurgent Democratic Senator-elect Gustavo Rivera, who has already emerged as a statewide Latino leader and will surely carry the banner of reform to Albany.”

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