Puerto Rico’s private sector organizes support group for ’24 elections
A group of associations and private sector leaders announced it has begun the registration process for an independent spending committee to participate in the democratic process, as allowed by the local and federal legal system.
Through advertising, Democracy is Prosperity will support candidates from any party who present proposals and commitments consistent with the guidelines that promote free-market democracy.
Act 222 of 2011 for the oversight of political campaign financing in Puerto Rico empowers the creation of independent expenditure committees (IECs), which have existed since the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United vs. the Federal Election Commission (FEC), a decision that changed the campaign finance landscape by holding that the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits the government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations, labor unions and other groups.
All IEC donations and expenses are published periodically by the Puerto Rico Office of the Electoion Comptroller or the Federal Election Commission.
From spectators to actors
Like various groups, the private sector will no longer be a mere spectator and will seek to participate formally in Puerto Rico’s political process by educating the public about the close relationship between free-market democracy and economic prosperity, the group stated.
The Democracy is Prosperity IEC will be representative of the island’s productive activity and will include individuals, entrepreneurs, professionals, and small, medium and large businesses that create hundreds of thousands of jobs in Puerto Rico.
“Democracy requires that we all participate in the election of our political leaders, which should result in all of us being represented. However, productive sectors have been underrepresented, urging us to educate candidates and voters about the role of free-market democracy in individual and collective economic prosperity,” said attorney Manuel Reyes-Alfonso, president, and spokesperson for the new IEC, who has worked for Puerto Rico’s economic development for several decades.
To achieve this, Democracy is Prosperity will continue to actively integrate companies and individuals committed to pursuing an effective and comprehensive public policy agenda, starting with a new style of government that is competent, frugal, facilitative, dedicated to lowering the cost of living and doing business for everyone, and that stimulates investment and economic development based on the creativity, talent, and entrepreneurship of Puerto Ricans.
“We recognize that there’s much suspicion about the participation of independent expenditure committees in electoral processes, so we’ll also have to educate the public about the difference between this organization and others,” Reyes-Alfonso said.
“Without complicating it too much, if the contributions to the committee are transparent and made public, Puerto Rico will see that this is a broad movement that will also have the support of competitors in the commercial sphere,” he said.
“The committee is prohibited from coordinating its efforts or making direct donations to candidates, their committees or their parties. Finally, it will support candidates from different parties. All of this avoids any possibility of clientelism or favoritism for the advancement of interests,” Reyes added.
The newly formed IEC urges political candidates — new and incumbents — who are committed to the ideals of free-market democracy to be more vocal in the defense of its principles.
“We’re convinced that most citizens want to live in economic prosperity and freedom, so they will support with their vote those candidates who are coherent, consistent and firm in their proposals. Our role will be merely to educate and help citizens identify those who are aligned with these principles,” Reyes concluded.