Saikat Chakrabarti, the brains behind socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) who also serves as her chief of staff, allegedly funneled over $1 million in political donations to his own private companies, according to a new complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission.
“Chakrabarti’s companies appear to have been set up for the sole purpose of obscuring how the political donations were used,” The Washington Examiner reported. “The arrangement skirted reporting requirements and may have violated the $5,000 limit on contributions from federal PACs to candidates, according to the complaint filed by the National Legal and Policy Center, a government watchdog group.”
The Examiner noted that cash transfers from the PACs run completely against what Ocasio-Cortez has repeatedly claimed that she stands for, increasing transparency and reducing “dark money” in politics.
Campaign finance attorneys told the Examiner that Chakrabarti’s actions were “really weird,” and that they are an indication that “there’s something amiss.”
Tom Anderson, the director of the National Legal and Policy Center’s Government Integrity Project, told the Examiner: “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.”
This latest development comes after a report last week revealed that Ocasio-Cortez’s new “living wage” rule that she implemented for her staff allows her staff to “avoid public transparency laws that would require them to reveal outside income, gifts, and stock trading activity,” the Washington Examiner reported.
Chakrabarti, 33, is a wealthy Silicon Valley entrepreneur who recently purchased a $1.6 million home in Maryland.
In a separate statement, Anderson said: “Purposefully underpaying staffers in order to avoid transparency is an old trick some of the most corrupt members of Congress have used time and again.”
Another report on Ocasio-Cortez from mid-February highlighted even more of the 29-year-old’s hypocrisy.
“She ended up moving into a luxury apartment building with a wide array of amenities where rent for even a studio apartment exceeds $2,000 a month,” the Free Beacon reported. “Her office pushed back against the notion that it was hypocritical for Ocasio-Cortez, who has made housing affordability one of her top policy concerns, to move into a luxury building. A spokesman pointed out that her office also uses a car with an ‘internal combustion engine that runs on fossil fuels,’ even though she thinks their use should be eliminated.”
A separate report from the Examiner noted that the apartment complex Ocasio-Cortez moved into “does not offer the affordable housing units that were a key plank in the New York congresswoman’s campaign platform.”
The New York Post reported over the weekend that Chakrabarti may have broken campaign finance laws; he founded a PAC called Justice Democrats, which was paid $41,108.59 for “campaign services” and “strategic consulting” by Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign in 2017 and 2018, according to Federal Election Commission filings. But as the Post noted, PACs are barred from offering over $5,000 a year worth of services for any single candidate, per FEC regulations. If candidates exceed that amount, they must consult the FEC.
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