Saturday, 23 March, 2019

Complaint: Ocasio-Cortez's chief of staff ran $1m slush fund

Cortez arrives for a House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. Feb. 27 2019 Carlos Barria Reuters FILE
Lloyd Bates | 08 March, 2019, 04:28

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez arrives for a House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., February 27, 2019.

A complaint has been filed with the Federal Election Commission alleging two political action committees (PAC) backing the campaign of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) fed almost $900,000 to a limited liability company (LLC) that functioned as a de facto slush fund for campaign spending, skirting campaign-transparency rules.

Justice Democrats responded to questions about the arrangement in a May 2018 post titled: "When I look at the FEC report for Justice Democrats in 2017, why are there so many expenditures to 'Brand New Congress"? "Additionally, on Ocasio-Cortez's political Instagram page, she directly links to her official House Instagram account and includes a link for political contributions, alongside the posts of official video footage and her comments on official action".

"Their candidates are proven to be absolutely insane, AOC, right?" he said, referring to Ocasio-Cortez.

But while Ocasio-Cortez claimed that "none of this is whataboutism", not everyone seemed to be convinced by her reasoning. The freshman lawmaker has routinely criticized the role of undisclosed money in politics.

Chakrabarti declined to comment as did a spokesman for Ocasio-Cortez.

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Ocasio-Cortez had opposed Amazon.com Inc's plan to create a major NY outpost with almost $3 billion in city and state incentives.

A number of people also seemed unamused by the congresswoman's assessment of the "GOP amendment" she mentioned. "In all my years of studying FEC reports, I've never seen a more ambitious operation to circumvent reporting requirements".

The group stated it ran campaigns in a similar fashion for at least nine other candidates. If the corporation undertook polling, fundraising and other campaign activities on behalf of candidates and committees, commissioners could conclude that they did not accurately describe those activities in their filings, he said.

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".

David Mitrani, an attorney for the Ocasio-Cortez's campaign, the two PACs, and the company told ABC News in a statement that all of the entities have "fully complied with the law and the highest ethical standards".

He said the political committees did not disclose who ultimately received money from the LLC because Federal Election Commission staffers told the corporation that it did not have to provide those details.

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