According to a complaint filed today with the Federal Elections Commission, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Chief of Staff founded two political action committees which he used to funnel $1 million in campaign and political donations. It appears that Chief of Staff Saikat Chakrbarti’s PACs were created for the purpose of hiding how AOC campaign funds were used.
Ocasio-Cortez has pledged increased transparency and a reduction in the influence of dark money in politics. The structure of the PACs seems to have allowed Chakrabarti to avoid reporting requirements, as well as violating the $5,000 cap PACs can contribute to candidates. This is according to the complaint filed by government watchdog group the National Legal and Policy Center.
According to the Washington Examiner, the business arrangement is described as “really weird” and indicating “there’s something amiss”, by campaign finance attorneys. Attorneys claim there is no indication of where donations went. The thinking is the “donations could have been pocketed or used by the PACs to pay for off-the-books campaign operations.”
Federal rules regarding PAC money are strict, and stipulate that payments made for advertisements, events vendors, candidate donations, and fundraising emails are to be disclosed. The complaint claims that Chakrabarti transferred donations to his private companies that are not subject to such requirements. Chakrabarti himself oversaw the transfer of the PAC money.
The complaint is asking the FEC to investigate and audit the two PACs, “claiming an elaborate scheme to avoid proper disclosure of campaign expenditures.” Both Ocasio-Cortez and Chakrabarti are listed as respondents to the complaint. Director of the National Legal and Policy Centers Government Integrity Policy, Tom Anderson, says “It appears Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her associates ran an off-the-books operation to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars, thus violating the foundation of all campaign finance laws: transparency.
In 2016, Chakrabarti founded the Brand New Congress PAC and in 2017 founded the Justice Democrats PAC. In May 2016, Chakrabarti told Rachel Maddow that “Brand New Congress” was capitalizing on Bernie Sanders’ appeal, while also saying “we’re going to go around and find people that aren’t career politicians.” The core mission of the BNC is to send progressives to Congress in 2018, and they have succeeded.
I was able to find an archive page for Justice Democrats in which the question is asked, Why “Democrats”? Why not just start a new party? The answer as stated, “the reality is that right now it is next to impossible for a third-party candidate to win a national election.” The “About” page archive goes on to state, “The best way to do this is by working to change the Democratic party from the inside out. Once Justice Democrats take power, we plan to implement electoral reform like ranked choice voting so third parties can have more power in democracy.” For more information about current plans to change how electoral votes are awarded, read The Cheef Report article “The National Popular Vote is Gaining Momentum”.
The statements of Justice Democrats validates my long held belief that socialists such as Bernie Sanders are planning to takeover the Democrat Party, and has groomed Ocasio-Cortez to lead the effort. It also explains her bold policy stance and her willingness to buck senior Democrats such as Nanci Pelosi and others.