by Jenn Carter
Earlier Monday 24News reported on an FEC complaint alleging that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Chief of Staff illegally funneled more than $1 million in campaign donations to two companies he owned.
Well Monday evening, as details continue to unfold, it appears the campaign cash scandal is far more serious than first thought, and also involved the Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez herself.
DailyCaller has revealed that Ocasio-Cortez and her chief aide,
Saikat Chakrabarti, both controlled the outside Political Action Committee (PAC), a “massive violation” of Federal law that could open them both up to “substantial civil penalties” and “even jail time” for AOC and her top staffer:
Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti obtained majority control of Justice Democrats PAC in December 2017, according to archived copies of the group’s website, and the two appear to retain their control of the group, according to corporate filings obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation. If the Federal Election Commission (FEC) finds that the New York Democrat’s campaign operated in affiliation with the PAC, which had raised more than $1.8 million before her June 2018 primary, it would open them up to “massive reporting violations, probably at least some illegal contribution violations exceeding the lawful limits,” former FEC commissioner Brad Smith said.
Ocasio-Cortez never disclosed to the FEC that she and Chakrabarti, who served as her campaign chair, controlled the PAC while it was simultaneously supporting her primary campaign, and former FEC commissioners say the arrangement could lead to multiple campaign finance violations. The group backed 12 Democrats during the 2018 midterms, but Ocasio-Cortez was the only one of those to win her general election.
“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,” former Republican FEC commissioner Hans von Spakovsky told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
And fellow former FEC commissioner Brad Smith told TheDCNF that if “a complaint were filed, I would think it would trigger a serious investigation.” He also noted that such a probe could potentially result in jail time for Ocasio-Cortez and her chief of staff, Chakrabarti.
Ocasio-Cortez and Chakrabarti could face prison if the FEC determines that they knowingly and willfully withheld their ties between the campaign and the political action committee from the FEC to bypass campaign contribution limits, according to Smith.
The DailyCaller dug up documents proving that AOC was on the board of the outside PAC and continued as such through her election:
The Justice Democrats DELETED mention that AOC and Chakrabarti had legal control over the entity…but the fact was easily obtainable via the Wayback Machine:
Former FEC Chair Smith said: “The admission makes it open and shut….We’ve even got their own statement on their website that they control the organization.”
And if the FEC concludes that Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign and Justice Democrats were operating as affiliated committees, “then anyone who contributed over $2,700 total to her campaign and the PAC would have made an excessive contribution,” which is a campaign finance violation, Smith told TheDCNF.
Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign and Justice Democrats raised a combined $4.6 million during the 2018 midterm election cycle, FEC records show. There’s a maximum five-year prison sentence for anyone who knowingly and willfully receives a collective $25,000 or more in excessive campaign contributions in a single calendar year.
“If this were determined to be knowing and willful, they could be facing jail time,” Smith told TheDCNF. “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.”
So AOC at the very least is looking at massive fines, potential jail time, and having to give back nearly $5 million in funds raised.
Absolutely stunning developments, and given how corruption is so often kept under wraps in D.C., it makes one wonder if the House Democrat leadership is leaking this info as a back-door way to get rid of the loudmouth socialist who has taken over their entire party in just 8 short weeks.
This is a breaking news story, refresh the page for updates.