Some of the participants of a "family fun run" that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez promoted as supporting her Green New Deal were unaware that their registration fees were actually going directly to the campaign of the freshman congresswoman rather than "helping the environment." By presenting the event in ambiguous terms, the New York Post notes, the freshman congresswoman "may have enticed constituents into inadvertently breaking federal election laws."
The Post attended the event, held in Queens on Saturday, and chatted with a few of its participants. What the paper found is that, unsurprisingly, some of the 398 participants appeared to be confused about where exactly the more than $11,000 raised by their registration fees was going.
Why the confusion? The website for the democratic socialist's event presented it as "a Family Fun Run supporting U.S. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal":
The Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez 5K & 1K Kid Dash is a Family Fun Run supporting U.S. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal on the Saturday following Earth Day. Listen to live music, enjoy Fogo Azul as you cross the finish and learn about a Green New Deal. The course will take you on 3 laps along the water on Shore Blvd in at Astoria Park in Queens. You'll run between two majestic bridges on a route that is easy, flat and fast.
On her Facebook page, Ocasio-Cortez pushed the event as supporting "U.S. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez & the Green New Deal," the Post notes. Even on the day of the event, the congresswoman kicked it off by telling enthusiastic participants they're getting together "for our planet’s health" and "to fight for the Green New Deal together."
But the fine print of the event's website, provided below photos of runners, told the full story: "Registration fees are contributions to AOC for Congress, and have the general contribution rules."
The Post provides some quotes from participants who were apparently unwittingly contributing to AOC's campaign rather than "fighting for the Green New Deal" and the planet. "I think it’s really for this particular New Green Deal. No question," one runner told the Post. "It’s to help the environment. To support the Green New Deal. It's a good cause," said another. "It’s going to help raise awareness and educate people," explained yet another.
Asked for comment, a spokesman for the congresswoman confirmed that it was in fact "a campaign fundraiser."
While some participants didn't seemed too bothered by the revelation, some were less forgiving. "The site says it's to benefit her environmental plan," said one miffed runner. "If it is going to go directly to her campaign they should have said so."
The Post notes that the event actually might have led some to inadvertantly violate federal law. Kids were allowed to participate, paying $20 fees for the 1k. If those fees go to her campaign, "AOC may have enticed constituents into inadvertently breaking federal election laws" because parents "can’t contribute their own funds in a child’s name."
In March, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called for a vote on Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal; it failed 57-0, with all Republicans voting against it, a few Democrats joining them, and the rest of the Democrats — including the bill's co-author, Democrat Sen. Ed Markey — voting present.