New claims about campaign finance violations are “bogus,” declared Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday.
The self-described Democrat socialist, still new to Congress since her surprise election in the 2018 midterms as the youngest female lawmaker, was heading to a meeting of the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday when she made her remarks to Fox News.
“I mean, it’s conservative interest groups just filing bogus proposals,” she told the outlet.
A complaint filed on Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleges that Ocasio-Cortez and Saikat Chakrabarti — at one time her campaign manager and today her chief of staff — created a “shadowy web” of political action committees, or PACs.
That “web” is what allegedly allowed them to raise more money than they otherwise would have, the complaint says and Fox News reported.
The complaint indicates that Chakrabarti established a limited liability company (LLC). That LLC allegedly bestowed political consulting services at below-market rates to AOC and other Democratic candidates — a violation of FEC rules, says the complaint.
An LLC is a corporate structure in which owners are not personally liable for a company’s debts or liabilities.
The complaint also says Chakrabarti sat on the board of the Justice Democrats PAC and co-founded the Brand New Congress PAC.
A post on the Center for Responsive Politics’ Open Secrets blog from July 2018 indicates that Ocasio-Cortez received $5,000 from each of two left-wing PACs — MoveOn.org and Justice Democrats — after she won her primary contest against incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.).
“Ocasio-Cortez shunned corporate PACs, but her campaign accepted $10,000 from two progressive PACs: MoveOn.org and Justice Democrats. Both PACs contributed $5,000 each to Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign,” Open Secrets noted last summer.
She tweeted last year, by the way, that she “didn’t want anything to get between my community and my advocacy.”
At the start of my run for Congress, I publicly pledged to reject all corporate PAC money.
That’s because I didn’t want anything to get between my community and my advocacy.
We won with an average donation of $22.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 29, 2018
Here are more details about what happened on Wednesday:
Wednesday’s complaint is the second filed against Ocasio-Cortez in less than a month by conservative Virginia attorney Dan Backer.
His previous complaint alleged that Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign funneled at least $6,000 to her boyfriend through the Brand New Congress PAC.
A separate complaint filed last month alleges that Ocasio-Cortez and Chakrabarti redirected $885,000 in campaign contributions from Congress PAC and Justice Democrats PAC to Brand New Campaign LLC and Brand New Congress LLC. The PACs claimed at the time that the payments were for “strategic consulting.” (source: Fox News)
Both Ocasio-Cortez and Chakrabarti were “de-listed” from the board of the Justice Democrats a few weeks after the first complaints were filed.