AOC calls new campaign finance complaint 'bogus'
According to a complaint filed earlier Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), Ocasio-Cortez and her then-campaign manager Saikat Chakrabarti created a "shadowy web" of political action committees (PACs) allowing them to raise more money than they otherwise could have mustered.
"I mean, it’s conservative interest groups just filing bogus proposals," Ocasio-Cortez said while heading to a meeting of the House Financial Services Committee.
The complaint also alleges that Chakrabarti, now Ocasio-Cortez's chief of staff, established a limited liability company (LLC) that offered Ocasio-Cortez and other Democratic candidates political consulting services at below-market rates, something the complaints says is in violation of FEC rules. At the same time, the complaint says, Chakrabarti served as Ocasio-Cortez's campaign manager, sat on the board of the Justice Democrats PAC and co-founded the Brand New Congress PAC.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Saikat Chakrabarti are seen in this July 2018 photo. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
"While I agree with everyone from Alexandria Ocasio Cortez to [Rep.] Mark Meadows [R-N.C.] that super PACs should be banned, for years I’ve noted that creating an LLC to funnel political money is worse than a super PAC because you never learn the donors to an LLC," says John Pudner, a former George W. Bush campaign and the executive director of the conservative campaign finance reform group Take Back Our Republic.
According to a July 2018 post on the Center for Responsive Politics' Open Secrets blog, Ocasio-Cortez received $5,000 from each of two left-wing PACs --Justice Democrats and MoveOn.org -- following her primary win over incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley.
Wednesday's complaint is the second filed against Ocasio-Cortez in less than a month by conservative Virginia attorney Dan Backer. His previous complaint alleged that Ocasio-Cortez's campaign funneled at least $6,000 to her boyfriend through the Brand New Congress PAC.
A separate complaint filed last month alleges that Ocasio-Cortez and Chakrabarti redirected $885,000 in campaign contributions from Congress PAC and Justice Democrats PAC to Brand New Campaign LLC and Brand New Congress LLC. The PACs claimed at the time that the payments were for "strategic consulting."
A couple of weeks after the initial complaints were filed, Ocasio-Cortez and Chakrabarti were removed from the board of Justice Democrats.
Fox News' Andrew Keiper, Gregg Re, Perry Chiaramonte and Adam Shaw contributed to this report.