By CCN.com: Rookie U.S. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been dragged into an emerging campaign finance scandal that could potentially compromise her carefully crafted reputation as the ‘people’s candidate,’ as well as call her political platform into question just three months after the 2018 midterm elections that saw her become the youngest-ever female member of Congress. At the center of the scandal is her chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti, who is accused of diverting more than $1 million in donations from her supporters into a slush fund controlled by two private companies registered to him, ostensibly for the purpose of obscuring what the money was used to do.
It will be recalled that Ocasio-Cortez has built her budding reputation on the platform of “clean” politics, with the congressional freshman repeatedly emphasizing that her campaign does not accept money from corporate political action committees (PACs), which she has described as “dark money.”
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has achieved great success by branding herself as “the candidate of the people,” could be facing an embarrassing campaign finance scandal
The allegations, which are detailed in a complaint submitted to the Federal Election Commission on Monday, could significantly curtail her burgeoning influence among Democrat ranks on Capitol Hill. This comes at a time when she has become powerful enough to threaten House Democrats from swing districts with primary elections if they do not vote along party lines.
Possible Campaign Finance Law Violations
The Washington Examiner reports that between 2016 and 2017, ex-Bernie Sanders campaign organiser Charkrabarti set up two PACs called ‘Brand New Congress’ and ‘Justice Democrats.’ Between them, they raised over $3.3 million predominantly from individual donors across the country to help Democrats like Ocasio-Cortez get into Congress. In that time, the sum of $1,045,000 was apparently paid in several tranches to ‘Brand New Campaign LLC’ and ‘Brand New Congress LLC’ – two private companies controlled by AOC’s Chief of Staff.
The payments were apparently made for the purpose of “Strategic Consulting,” which is – to say the least – extremely ambiguous, if not outright suspicious. Even more tellingly, while Brand New Campaign LLC is registered in Delaware, there are no Secretary of State records for Brand New Congress LLC, and the time or location of its incorporation remain unknown. This raises the obvious question of what “strategic consulting” work these companies did to earn over $1 million in fees within that time period despite having no recognized activity or personnel apart from Charkrabarti.
Investigators will want to get to the bottom of the matter, not only to establish whether Charkrabarti in fact embezzled or otherwise misused campaign funds, but also to find out what exactly or how much Ocasio-Cortez knew about the arrangement. From her constitutents’ point of view, as a House member who has nailed her colours to the ‘clean campaign finance’ mast, it is particularly important to determine whether she was in fact an accomplice to potential violations of campaign finance laws, given her close relationship with Charkrabarti.