A new report claims that federal investigators are looking into potential campaign finance discrepancies committed by the campaign of Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and centering around former chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti.
Chakrabarti resigned his position Friday, The Washington Post reported, saying he was leaving to join a group called New Consensus, which would advocate for the Green New Deal, a signature effort of Ocasio-Cortez.
The New York Post reported that Chakrabarti is at the center of a Federal Election Commission investigation into the activities of two PACs — Brand New Congress and Justice Democrats.
Both groups were created by Chakrabarti to support progressive candidates and supported Ocasio-Cortez in her 2018 election to Congress.
UPDATE: Feds are looking into possible campaign finance misdeeds by @AOC Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff ( @saikatc ). The two #PACs being probed, ‘Brand New Congress’ and ‘Justice Democrats’, were set up to support progressive candidates.https://t.co/w0FVBKgdKT
— Sara A. Carter (@SaraCarterDC) August 4, 2019
“This Complaint alleges Respondent Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her campaign manager, Saikat Chakrabarti, engaged in a brazen scheme involving multiple political and commercial entities under their control to violate federal election law, circumvent federal contribution limits and reporting requirements, and execute an unlawful subsidy scheme,” the complaint states.
“This scheme allowed Ocasio-Cortez to gain an unfair advantage by receiving illegally excessive contributions and illegally subsidized campaign services while shielding the full extent of her violations from public view to maintain her false public image as a campaign finance reformer,” the complaint adds.
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According to the complaint, “Ocasio-Cortez and the Involved Candidates accepted excessive or illegal in-kind contributions from Brand New Congress LLC, Brand New Congress PAC, and Justice Democrats PAC, and did not properly report them.”
“Through this complex web of shadowy entities, Ocasio-Cortez and Chakrabarti ensured the flow of hundreds of thousands of dollars of unreported, illegal, dark-money contributions to aid the campaigns of Ocasio-Cortez and other far-left Progressive Democrats,” the complaint states. “Ocasio-Cortez and her Chief of Staff repeatedly and blatantly flouted our nation’s campaign finance requirements.”
At the time, Ocasio-Cortez dismissed the complaint.
“It’s conservative interest groups just filing bogus proposals,” she said, according to Fox News.
Another complaint focuses on more than $1 million in donations that were sent to two private companies Chakrabarti controlled, Brand New Congress LLC and Brand New Campaign LLC. The advantage of that is that private companies are less restricted in how they spend money than PACs are.
In its reporting on the campaign finance issues, the New York Post said officials are also looking at the actions taken by Ocasio-Cortez to cut the pay of staffers in her office.
In doing so, she cut Chakrabarti’s pay below the threshold where he would have to disclose his outside income.
Chakrabarti had ruffled Democratic feathers in June, when he attacked moderate Democrats over a spending bill to fund operations along the border.
“Instead of ‘fiscally conservative but socially liberal,’ let’s call the New Democrats and Blue Dog Caucus the ‘New Southern Democrats,’ ” Chakrabarti wrote in a since-deleted tweet. “They certainly seem hell bent to do to black and brown people today what the old Southern Democrats did in the 40s.”
Chakrabarti is not the only one leaving Ocasio-Cortez’s office. Corbin Trent, her director of communications, is shifting over to lead her 2020 campaign team.
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