In the past few years, we’ve seen numerous probes into the campaign finances of several high-profile Washington politicians. These included accusations of fraud, money funneling, and even outright theft.
Now, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) has concluded an investigation into the campaign of controversial New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
And while no charges have been filed, the organization did turn up some surprising evidence.
Back in 2019, the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) lodged a complaint against Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign, accusing them of funneling around $1 million in expenses through two political action committees.
At the time, Ocasio-Cortez and her team denied any wrongdoing, despite apparent evidence to the contrary.
It took a while for the FEC to finally return its findings – nearly 3 years – but the results do show that in fact, the NLPC complaint was at least partially correct, and AOC’s campaign did make a mistake.
This involves Ocasio-Cortez’s former chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti, who might’ve been solely responsible for this “failure to disclose.”
Via Washington Examiner:
The campaign of New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her former chief of staff were found to have failed to report $1 million in expenses.
The Federal Election Commission released filings on Thursday from a two-year investigation surrounding allegations that Ocasio-Cortez’s former chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti, funneled $1 million through two political action committees, Brand New Congress and Justice Democrats, according to the New York Post.
However, despite these results, the FEC ultimately dismissed the complaint by the NLPC.
NLPC attorney Paul Kamenar wasn’t happy with the decision, saying that the FEC has “gone after a whole host of people whose violations are dwarfed by the scale of this scheme.”
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He then added that this isn’t “prosecutorial discretion, but prosecutorial favoritism.” If Chakrabarti did indeed funnel cash through the two PACs, the money transferred might’ve been in direct violation of the $5,000 limit.
And according to the wording of the findings, these PACs “did not properly disclose the purpose of the disbursements.”
While this probe has ended, the NLPC isn’t finished: they plan to follow up and are now levelling a lawsuit against the FEC for failing to give a reason for dismissing the original complaint.
Said director for the NLPC’s Government Integrity Project, Tom Anderson:
It was highly irregular for the FEC to release its statement of reasons after the deadline for us to file suit.
The FEC didn’t release its total results until over a month after they voted to dismiss the complaint, which is why the NLPC isn’t happy with the situation. But for the time being, the original case is closed.
That doesn’t mean this won’t impact AOC’s reputation, though.
Any elected official who gets into scrapes with the FEC regarding donations and other cash transactions, often must deal with backlash from voters as well. And one wonders if Ocasio-Cortez’s reputation will take a hit.