Obviously, you can’t be arrested for being stupid. If that were the case, 90% of Democrats would find themselves behind bars.
However, being stupid often leads to being arrested. Especially when you play a game you don’t understand.
And that’s exactly what landed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in hot water. AOC’s chief of staff is millionaire Saikat Chakrabarti. I’d venture to guess he got those millions in less than scrupulous ways. While working on AOC’s campaign, Chakrabarti funneled nearly a million dollars into private companies he set up and controlled. Now a formal complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) has AOC’s team in hot water.
Fox News elaborates:
Amid the allegations, a former FEC commissioner late Monday suggested in an interview with The Daily Caller News Foundation that Ocasio-Cortez and her team could separately be facing major fines and potentially even jail time if they were knowingly and willfully violating the law by hiding their control of the Justice Democrats political action committee (PAC). Such an arrangement could have allowed Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign to receive donations in excess of the normal limit, by pooling contributions to both the PAC and the campaign itself.
The FEC complaint asserts that Chakrabarti established two PACs, the Brand New Congress PAC and Justice Democrats PAC, and then systematically transfered more than $885,000 in contributions received by those PACs to the Brand New Campaign LLC and the Brand New Congress LLC — companies that, unlike PACs, are exempt from reporting all of their significant expenditures. The PACs claimed the payments were for “strategic consulting.”
Although large financial transfers from PACs to LLCs are not necessarily improper, the complaint argues that the goal of the “extensive” scheme was seemingly to illegally dodge detailed legal reporting requirements of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, which are designed to track campaign expenditures.
“It appears ‘strategic consulting’ was a mischaracterization of a wide range of activities that should have been reported individually,” the complaint states.
Where’s the Money?
The money likely funded campaign events for Ocasio-Cortez and other leftists. In fac, Chakrabarti previously worked on Bernie Sanders’ 2016 campaign and supported several other far-left candidates. The lack of accounting for these funds raises a lot of eyebrows.
“These are not minor or technical violations,” Tom Anderson, director of NLPC’s Government Integrity Project, said in a statement. “We are talking about real money here. In all my years of studying FEC reports, I’ve never seen a more ambitious operation to circumvent reporting requirements. Representative Ocasio-Cortez has been quite vocal in condemning so-called dark money. But her own campaign went to great lengths to avoid the sunlight of disclosure.”
Added Anderson: “They believe their cause is so great that they don’t have to play by the rules. They believe that they are above campaign finance law.”
Former FEC Associate General Counsel for Policy, Adav Noti, read through Ocasio-Cortez’s explanations for the PAC several times. Yet, he still can’t make heads or tails of it. It’s the kind of sneaky business democrats are famous for. They give speeches and issue explanations designed to make them appear above board, while simultaneously stealing the bread from the basket.
Know the Rules
At the end of the day, Ocasio-Cortez wants to frame this as an instance of bad legal advice. She pretends her team didn’t intentionally break any rules. But imagine if Trump illegally moved a million dollars into an account he personally controlled. Democrats would yell “impeach 45” until they literally exploded. Then, instead of waiting for an investigation, liberals would ask to borrow Jussie Smollett’s noose.
However, Ocasio-Cortez isn’t off scott-free. At least not yet. Former FEC commissioner Brad Smith says AOC should take the consequences of her actions quite seriously.
According to Fox:
“If this were determined to be knowing and willful, they could be facing jail time,” Smith said. “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. I think they’ve got some real issues here.”
Added former Republican FEC commissioner Hans von Spakovsky: “If the facts as alleged are true, and a candidate had control over a PAC that was working to get that candidate elected, then that candidate is potentially in very big trouble and may have engaged in multiple violations of federal campaign finance law, including receiving excessive contributions.”
The Trouble is Just Beginning
These campaign finance violations aren’t the only problems facing AOC.
Monday’s FEC complaint comes on the heels of a separate complaint by the Washington, D.C.-based Coolidge Reagan Foundation, which alleged last week that the Brand New Congress PAC may have illegally funneled thousands of dollars to Ocasio-Cortez’s live-in boyfriend, Riley Roberts.
It was first reported late last month that the Brand New Congress PAC paid Roberts during the early days of the Ocasio-Cortez campaign. According to FEC records, the PAC made two payments to Roberts – one in August 2017 and one in September 2017 – both for $3,000.
Obviously, AOC want to play in the big leagues. But unfortunately, she doesn’t understand the game. Politics is played on a field riddled with rules. And those rules can get pretty tricky. Thus, AOC might believe she’s not responsible for this mess, but it’s a lot like bartending. If you serve the alcohol, you are responsible when the driver slams head first into a minivan full of children.
Sadly, AOC will soon learn the truth of liberals. She’s becoming a public relations nightmare. And the left will drop Ocasio-Cortez like a hot potato before they try to bail her out of jamb.