Federal officials are reportedly investigating socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) former chief-of-staff Saikat Chakrabarti — who suddenly resigned from his position last week — over allegations that he committed campaign finance violations.
The investigation centers around two political action committees that Chakrabarti founded — Brand New Congress and Justice Democrats — which were created to promote far-left candidates across the U.S.
“But they funneled more than $1 million in political donations into two private companies that Chakrabarti also incorporated and controlled, according to Federal Election Commission filings and a complaint filed in March with the regulatory agency,” the New York Post reported. “In 2016 and 2017, the PACs raised about $3.3 million, mostly from small donors. A third of the cash was transferred to two private companies whose names are similar to one of the PACs — Brand New Congress LLC and Brand New Campaign LLC — federal campaign filings show.”
“While PACs must follow stringent federal rules on disclosure of spending and fundraising, private companies are not subject to the same transparency,” the Post added. “Federal authorities are looking at new salary rules imposed by Ocasio-Cortez when she took office earlier this year, and whether they were put in place to let Chakrabarti dodge public financial disclosure rules, according to sources.”
The Post noted that Ocasio-Cortez did not show up to a scheduled event that she had this weekend and her office refused to comment on the matter.
The Washington Examiner reported on the bombshell allegations against Ocasio-Cortez and Chakrabarti back in March, noting that the cash transfers from the PACs are contradictory to what she claims to stand for — reducing “dark money” in politics.
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.”
Ocasio-Cortez implemented a rule that she dubbed the “living wage” rule for her staff, which allowed her staff to “avoid public transparency laws that would require them to reveal outside income, gifts, and stock trading activity,” the Washington Examiner reported.
“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,” Anderson added.