Ocasio-Cortez Denies Campaign Finance Violation and 'Dark Money' Allegations

Dwayne Harmon
March 8, 2019

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's (D-NY) chief of staff moved campaign donations into his private accounts in violation of campaign election laws, according to a conservative ethics organization. Justice Democrats paid $606,000, Brand New Congress PAC paid $261,000, and the Ocasio-Cortez committee paid around $19,000. The freshman lawmaker has routinely criticized the role of undisclosed money in politics.

Asked for her thoughts on Omar's remarks, Ocasio-Cortez told CNN that the comments "just part of a learning process" for her colleague.

"There is no violation", Ocasio-Cortez told Fox News on Tuesday.

A number of people also seemed unamused by the congresswoman's assessment of the "GOP amendment" she mentioned. The goal was "to essentially run the full campaigns" and act as a vendor.

However, Ryan said the Federal Election Commission could balk at another aspect of the committees' reports: the broad category of "strategic consulting" that committees used to describe Brand New Congress LLC's work on their behalf.

Large financial transfers from PACs to private companies are technically legal, however the NLPC claims that Ocasio-Cortez and Chakrabarti attempted to orchestrate this "extensive off-the-books operation" in order to dodge Congressionally-mandated contribution reporting requirements.

Brand New Campaign LLC was registered as a private company in the state of DE in May 2016, and in Tennessee in February 2017.

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Federal Election Commission officials said this week that they were barred by agency rules from commenting on any matters pending before the commission.

While CNN's own tweet overstated that "the panel erupted in cheers", the voters - all of whom supported Hillary Clinton in 2016 - indicated that Ocasio-Cortez, 29, should enjoy a long political career if Democratic voters have anything to say about it.

Justice Democrats and Brand New Congress PAC sought to implement a national program to recruit non-traditional candidates for United States House of Representatives and Senate, and to support them with an infrastructure to effectively run their campaigns as an integrated, national effort - so that candidates could focus on being candidates that could best represent their communities, [as] opposed to exclusively focused on high-dollar fundraising and national endorsement to drive electoral success.

Documents filed (pdf) with the government in Washington list Ocasio-Cortez and Chakrabarti as the entity's governors-those who control it-along with Nasim Thompson, former executive director and PAC board chair of Brand New Congress.

Mitrani said Chakrabarti "did not receive any compensation - by way of salary, profit or otherwise" from the corporation.

The payments were apparently made for the objective of "Strategic Consulting", which is - to say the least - extremely ambiguous, if not outright suspicious.

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