Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) chief of staff moved campaign donations into his private accounts in violation of campaign election laws, according to a conservative ethics organization.
The National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) Wednesday accusing Ocasio-Cortez, her chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti and several other individuals of violating U.S. election campaign laws.
The NLPC alleges that Ocasio-Cortez and the others named in the complaint diverted nearly a million dollars in campaign donations to the coffers of a for-profit entity operated by Chakrabarti.
The NLPC claims Chakrabarti owns and operates Brand New Congress LLC, which they say spent the funds to support the campaigns of 10 or more congressional candidates. The Washington Examiner notes that the transfers may have constituted a violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act. The law imposes a $5,000 limit on campaign contributions from political organizations.
The right-wing watchdog group alleges that Chakrabarti’s LLC funnelled at least $885,735 from Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign and two federal political action committees, Brand New Congress PAC and Justice Democrats PAC.
Exactly how Chakrabarti and the LLC spent the funds is unknown as AOC’s aide did not report the transfers to the FEC, the NLPC says in its complaint. The organization also claims the LLC may have failed to disclose the full amount of campaign donations spent for a number of campaign-related events for Democratic party House candidates, including those organized for Ocasio-Cortez.
Chakrabarti described the LLC’s political purpose as “a single unified presidential-style campaign” for some 400 Democratic candidates.
“We’re looking for people who are good at what they do,” he told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow in a 2016 interview.
“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,” Tom Anderson, director of the National Legal and Policy Center’s government integrity project, said in a statement.
Ocasio-Cortez’s swift rise and outspoken personality make her a prime target for GOP lawmakers and conservative media outlets. Meanwhile, right-wing groups have mounted an unusually aggressive assault on the freshman representative, in whom experts say the Republicans have found a fresh, new face to portray as an existential threat to both conservative values and the Republican political agenda.
In its website, the NLPC describes itself as an organization that “promotes ethics in public life through research, investigation, education and legal action.”
Adapted From The ‘International Business Times‘