Politics

Ocasio-Cortez’s Chief of Staff Resigns — Is Under Federal Investigation

The progressive from New York is facing new questions connected to this activity and mystery surrounding her now-former staffer

Image Credit: Facebook, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez & Shutterstock

The chief of staff for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) abruptly resigned on Friday — and reports quickly surfaced that he was under federal investigation.

Saikat Chakrabarti, according to The New York Post, is being investigated for his oversight of a pair of political action committees (PACs), Brand New Congress and Justice Democrats.

The PACs, states a Federal Election Commission filing, “funneled more than $1 million in political donations into two private companies that Chakrabarti also incorporated and controlled.”

Related: Ocasio-Cortez Is Put in Her Place by Sarah Sanders

The private companies appear to have been set up as a means to muddy the waters when it comes to federal reporting, as they are not held to the same reporting standards on spending and fundraising disclosure.

Earlier this year, the Political Insider reported that a complaint had been filed by the National Legal and Policy Center on this very matter.

The complaint alleged that Chakrabarti engaged in “an elaborate scheme to avoid proper disclosure of campaign expenditures” and that the effort was “coordinated” with other “respondents,” including the congresswoman herself.

Related: AOC and Her Chief of Staff Were Dropped from This Group

The Post also reports that multiple sources have indicated that Ocasio-Cortez’s implementation of new salary rules was actually a way to help him cover up his misdeeds.

In February, the New York socialist announced that entry-level staffers would receive a base salary of $52,000 a year — a move aimed at championing a “living wage.”

You may recall her bragging about it — and the media lapping it up at the time.

“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,” The New York Post reported.

Ocasio-Cortez’s communications director, Corbin Trent, who also resigned, had explained to The Hill that salaries for her staff would not exceed $80,000.

The average pay for a person in that position is $146,830.

Underscoring the severity of this development, Ocasio-Cortez — widely known to speak on just about any topic — refused to comment on the resignations and failed to show up at an event in the Bronx over the weekend.

Very noble of him to take such a pay cut so junior staffers could make a “living wage.” Or was it?

The report goes on to explain, “Because his salary was less than $126,000, congressional rules exempted the chief of staff from having to disclose his outside income.”

Prison time? Former FEC Commissioner Brad Smith previously explained that if Chakrabarti, Trent, or even AOC, knew of the intent behind the scheme, that person or persons could be facing very serious penalties.

“If this were determined to be knowing and willful, they could be facing jail time,” Smith alleged.

It’s a good thing the duo was so insistent on allowing felons the right to vote. Perhaps they’ll still be able to help a Democrat win the popular vote in 2020 when all is said and done.

“Even if it’s not knowing and willful, it would be a clear civil violation of the act, which would require disgorgement of the contributions and civil penalties,” he continued. “I think they’ve got some real issues here.”

Underscoring the severity of this development, Ocasio-Cortez — widely known to speak on just about any topic — refused to comment on the resignations and failed to show up at an event in the Bronx over the weekend.

This piece originally appeared in The Political Insider and is used by permission.

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