(Headline USA) The Federal Election Commission revealed in a filing last week that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s, D-N.Y., campaign did, in fact, violate campaign finance laws. The committee, however, voted to give her a pass.
The FEC found that two leftist political action committees associated with Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign “did not properly disclose the purpose of the disbursements” of their funds.
The PACs – Brand New Congress and Justice Democrats – were being run by members of Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign, who then used them to funnel cash from the campaign into their own pockets, according to the government watchdog National Legal and Policy Center, which first discovered the finance violations.
The NLPC filed a lawsuit against the FEC last week over its refusal to hold Ocasio-Cortez accountable.
“The FEC has gone after a whole host of people whose violations are dwarfed by the scale of this scheme,” Paul Kamenar, NLPC counsel, said, according to the New York Post. “It appears to be not prosecutorial discretion, but prosecutorial favoritism.”
According to the NLPC, Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign treasurer, Frank Llewellyn, and her former chief of staff, Chaikat Sakrabarti, funneled more than $1 million in political donations from the campaign to the two PACs in question. This transfer violated the $5,000 limit for donations to federal candidates, the NLPC said.
The FEC confirmed the NLPC’s findings but also dismissed the organization’s complaint.
“It was highly irregular for the FEC to release its statement of reasons after the deadline for us to file suit,” Tom Anderson, the director for the NLPC’s Government Integrity Project, noted.
Ocasio-Cortez has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, arguing that Sakrabarti’s use of campaign funds might have been irregular, but was not illegal.
“There is no violation,” she said after the complaint against her was first filed. Asked if the complaint shows she was connected to “dark money” during the campaign, Ocasio-Cortez replied, “No, no.”
Chakrabarti has offered the same excuse, claiming he had been “transparent.”
The JD and BNC websites had this explainer on it before @ryangrim ever asked us. We were doing something totally new, which meant a new setup. So, we were transparent about it from the start. Here’s me talking about it on MSNBC in May, 2016. https://t.co/0fSoOiuWus https://t.co/VFBvBSgi41
— Saikat Chakrabarti (@saikatc) March 5, 2019