Things are going from bad to worse for the “great” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez!
The AOC, as she were.
A new 21-count complaint has just been filed alleging a complex subsidy scheme in violation of FEC campaign finance rules!
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Here are more details on the alleged violations, from Fox News:
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., has been hit with another Federal Election Commission (FEC) complaint, this one alleging she and her campaign manager operated a “subsidy scheme” that ran afoul of campaign finance laws.
The crux of the complaint, which was given exclusively to Fox News in advance of its filing Wednesday, accused Ocasio-Cortez and her campaign manager, Saikat Chakrabarti, of overseeing a "shadowy web" of political action committees (PACs) that allowed them to raise more cash than they could have legally. It also alleged that a limited liability company (LLC) was created to avoid federal expenditure requirements by offering Ocasio-Cortez and other Democratic candidates political consulting services at a price so low that the company apparently shut down before the election was even over.
The complaint named Ocasio-Cortez, Chakrabarti (now her chief of staff), the Justice Democrats PAC, the Brand New Congress PAC and Brand New Congress LLC as the overlapping entities that aimed to “subsidize cheap assistance for Ocasio-Cortez and other candidates at rates far below market value.”
Ocasio-Cortez dismissed the complaint when approached for comment by Fox News Wednesday afternoon, saying: "I mean, it's conservative interest groups just filing bogus proposals" before walking into a House Financial Services Committee meeting.
At the center of the complaint is Brand New Congress LLC, a now-defunct company owned by Chakrabarti that aimed to recruit up to 400 candidates for national office and “fully run all of their campaigns,” according to a post on the Justice Democrats PAC website.
“Chakrabarti was trying to create the Uber for politics,” said Dan Backer, the conservative attorney behind the complaint. “Uber functions because of a massive subsidy from venture capital. Here, it’s subsidized by these PACs to deliver a valuable service that people need and want, but can’t be delivered at the real cost of it.”
The Virginia-based attorney has made political hay with recent complaints against Ocasio-Cortez. This is Backer’s second FEC complaint against her in less than a month. He used the first as somewhat of a springboard to launch the Stop the AOC PAC, which he said has raised a few thousand dollars and conducted polling in her New York City district.
Backer's Stop the AOC PAC isn't his first political action committee. In recent years, he's registered organizations such as the Stop Hillary PAC, the pro-Donald Trump Great America PAC, and the Stop Pelosi PAC.
Backer said Brand New Congress LLC was guilty of providing campaign contributions known as "in-kind" expenditures by only charging candidates for a portion of the total cost of the service. Essentially, Backer claimed the company operated at a loss to provide its approved candidates with campaign services on the cheap.
This was a problem, he said, because of a series of 1990s-era FEC Advisory Opinions which essentially explained that goods and services provided to political campaigns must be paid for at fair market value – otherwise they could be considered in-kind contributions.
It was unclear what Chakrabarti and Brand New Congress charged for their services -- and Backer said this was another part of the problem. He said the private company wouldn't be subject to the same disclosure and transparency laws that PACs are.
In a May 2018 blog post, the Justice Democrats PAC admitted it was offering services at a rate that would never turn a profit, and that was exactly the point.
"[The] goal of creating the LLC was not to make a profit," the post read, "and as such, we made our prices as low as possible while still satisfying the FEC's requirement that we are charging something reasonable because, again, if we weren't we would essentially be doing heavily discounted work for candidates and that is illegal and immoral since fighting dark money is literally what we want to do."
Also driving the complaint were the overlapping leadership roles of Ocasio-Cortez and Chakrabarti on the implicated organizations. Ocasio-Cortez was in charge of her campaign while simultaneously serving as a board member of the Justice Democrats PAC.
You can view the entire court filing -- all 21 counts -- here on Scribd.
And here's more, from the Washington Examiner:
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and her campaign manager ran a “subsidy scheme,” according to a new Federal Election Commission complaint that alleges they abused campaign finance laws to illegally fund the campaign.
The complaint, which was obtained by Fox News before its filing Wednesday, claims Ocasio-Cortez and Saikat Chakrabarti, her campaign manager, used PAC money funneled through an LLC to “subsidize cheap assistance for Ocasio-Cortez and other candidates at rates far below market value.”
The complaint alleges Chakrabarti’s group Brand New Congress LLC, which took on Ocasio-Cortez on as a client, was charging clients under market value and subsidizing losses with PAC money; therefore, providing candidates who signed on to the LLC with illegal campaign contributions.