Contrary to her pledges to increase transparency and reduce "dark money" in politics, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's chief of staff funneled more than $1 million in political donations into two of his own private companies, according to a complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission on Monday.
In an email to supporters who contributed to her shock midterm victory over veteran Rep. Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., team AOC repeated a quote American Israel Public Affairs Committee activist Stephen Fiske gave to The New York Times predicting the future losses for Ocasio-Cortez, and Reps. "In all my years of studying FEC reports, I've never seen a more ambitious operation to circumvent reporting requirements".
The National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC), a conservative government watchdog, filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) which alleges that Chakrabarti siphoned more than $885 thousand in contributions from donors, to political action committees (PACs), and then into private companies under the guise of "strategic consulting".
After starting Brand New Congress, he formed a Delaware-based LLC, Brand New Campaign LLC.
Panelist Christian Tamte called Ocasio-Cortez "the candidate of the future". The group argues the committees skirted campaign-finance laws by paying the large sums for "strategic consulting" services to Chakrabarti's corporation without disclosing details on precisely how the money was spent and who ultimately benefited from the spending. It appears, however, that they underwrote a score of campaign-related events and activities for Ocasio-Cortez and other Congressional candidates. But actually running the campaigns - meaning doing direct work for campaigns - is not something a PAC can do for a candidate for free'.
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By CCN.com: Rookie U.S. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been dragged into an emerging campaign finance scandal that could potentially compromise her carefully crafted reputation as the 'people's candidate, ' as well as call her political platform into question just three months after the 2018 midterm elections that saw her become the youngest-ever female member of Congress. "So, we were transparent about it from the start". The goal was "to essentially run the full campaigns" and act as a vendor.
He helped found both Brand New Congress PAC and Justice Democrats, with the goal of bringing new and progressive members like Ocasio-Cortez, a self-described Democratic socialist, to Congress.
"We're looking for people who are good at what they do", he told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow in a 2016 interview.
Adav Noti, the senior director of the Campaign Legal Center and a former FEC lawyer, said the arrangement was highly unusual and seemed meant to obscure the destination of the funds. The law imposes a $5,000 limit on campaign contributions from political organizations.