On Monday a complaint was filed by the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) with the United States Federal Election Commission (FEC) charging that newly elected Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, her Chief of Staff, and others with using two Political Action Committees (PACs) and LLCs to hide hundreds of thousands in campaign dollars.
The complaint states Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s Chief of Staff Saikat Chakrabarti founded and used two PACs to funnel around USD $1 million to two of his private companies and the companies may have been used to hide what funds were spent on. It also notes the possibility that contributions from the PAC to candidates exceeded the USD $5,000 FEC limit. It requests an FEC investigation into the two PACs for creating “an elaborate scheme to avoid proper disclosure of campaign expenditures.”
According to NLPC, funds traveling through Brand New Congress LLC were spent on ten or more candidates, which stated the LLC was “apparently operated by Chakrabarti” and “The Complaint alleges that Chakrabarti’s LLC served as a “cutout,” for at least $885,735 received from Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign and two federal political action committees, Brand New Congress PAC and Justice Democrats PAC.”
Director of NLPC’s Government Integrity Project Tom Anderson said, “These are not minor or technical violations. We are talking about real money here. In all my years of studying FEC reports, I’ve never seen a more ambitious operation to circumvent reporting requirements” and “Representative Ocasio-Cortez has been quite vocal in condemning so-called dark money, but her own campaign went to great lengths to avoid the sunlight of disclosure.”
NPLC said in a post to its website, “The final disposition of the funds is unknown because whatever expenditures were made were never reported to the FEC. It appears, however, that they underwrote a score of campaign-related events and activities for Ocasio-Cortez and other Congressional candidates.”
This is not the first FEC complaint concerning Rep. Ocasio-Cortez. Last week, the Coolidge Reagan Foundation filed a complaint alleging Brand New Congress PAC was used to funnel money to the Congresswoman’s boyfriend Riley Roberts. The Times noted that Roberts received payments as a “marketing consultant” of USD $6,000 from Brand New Congress PAC.
Ironically, regarding financial transparency, in last Sunday’s New Yorker feature, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez said that she “can see Trump being enormously upset that a twenty-nine-year-old Latina, who is the daughter of a domestic worker, is helping to build the case to get his financial records. I think that adds insult to injury to him.” Last month, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, who was described as looking “sullen, teenaged and at a loss” during the President’s State of the Union address, said there was no way she was going to clap when an “authoritarian” president who is hurting communities of color said he wanted to “make America great.” She said watching President Donald Trump’s address in the House chamber made her feel “sick” and “underwhelmed” because Trump is “such a small, mediocre person.”