FEC finds AOC campaign ‘not properly’ disclosing spending but gives it a pass

The Federal Election Commission’s investigation into Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign found she and her former chief of staff failed to ‘properly’ disclose around $1m in expenses – but a bipartisan panel voted to give them a pass, according to filings.

The National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC), a conservative watchdog group, alleged in 2019 that former Ocasio-Cortez chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti funneled more than $1 million in contributions to Democrats through through two PACs he controlled during his run for Congress. in 2018.

While the FEC found that Chakrabarti had in fact ‘correctly disclosed the purpose of disbursements’ made to PACs of the newly minted Congress and justice Democrats, a panel of three Democrats and three Republicans decided to dismiss the complaint of the NLPC, according to filings made public this week.

The investigation ultimately revealed that all cash transfers from the two PACs that appeared to violate the $5,000 contribution limit to federal candidates, including the one made to Ocasio-Cortez, were not accepted and returned.

According to the FEC investigation, Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign received a $5,650 contribution in 2018, but the campaign, like others who received excessive gifts, refunded the money.

Details of the FEC’s decision, however, come more than 30 days after the case closed on February 27, in what the NLPC claimed was an effort to avoid a legal challenge by the group, which had filed its charges against the FEC last month. .

The Federal Election Commission’s investigation into US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (pictured) campaign revealed it and her former chief of staff failed to ‘correctly’ disclose about $1million in expenses during her race for Congress in 2018

Former Ocasio-Cortez chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti (left) has been accused of funneling more than $1 million in Democratic contributions to two PACs he controlled

Former Ocasio-Cortez chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti (left) has been accused of funneling more than $1 million in Democratic contributions to two PACs he controlled

The FEC investigation detailed the monetary contributions Chakrabarti made through his LLC.  He dismissed the complaints as they found inappropriate gifts had been returned

The FEC investigation detailed the monetary contributions Chakrabarti made through his LLC. He dismissed the complaints as they found inappropriate gifts had been returned

NLPC attorney Paul Kamenar criticized the FEC for its decision, telling the New York Post, “The FEC has gone after a whole host of people whose violations are dwarfed by the scale of this scheme.” It appears to be not prosecutorial discretion, but prosecutorial favoritism.

NLPC President Peter Flaherty said he received a letter from the FEC in February saying the agency had dismissed the group’s complaint and closed the case.

The watchdog group filed a lawsuit against the FEC last Friday for dismissing the case and failing to provide a proper explanation within 30 days of its decision.

Normally, a lawsuit would be filed after the details of the case were released, leaving only 30 days to challenge the decision, but since the FEC waited over a month to release the details, the FEC filed his complaint last week.

“It was very improper for the FEC to release its explanatory statement after the deadline for filing a lawsuit,” Tom Anderson, director of the NLPC’s Government Integrity Project, told The Post.

Ocasio-Cortez has repeatedly denied any allegations of violating campaign finance laws.

Chakrabarti now works as president of New Consensus, a Silicon Valley-based think tank.

He helped found both the Brand New Congress PAC and Justice Democrats, with the goal of bringing new, progressive members like Ocasio-Cortez, a self-proclaimed Democratic socialist, to Congress.

After launching Brand New Congress, he formed a Delaware-based LLC, Brand New Campaign LLC. The transfer of funds avoided the requirements for detailed disclosure of itemized expenditures.

Chakrabarti (right), a tech millionaire, worked as a frontrunner in Ocasio-Cortez's campaign and served as his chief of staff in 2019

Chakrabarti (right), a tech millionaire, worked as a frontrunner in Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign and served as his chief of staff in 2019

Among those who received disbursements from Brand New Congress LLC in 2018 were Democratic congressional candidates Adrienne Bell, of Texas; Anthony Clark, of Illinois; Chardo Richardson, of Florida; Ryan Stone, of Texas; US Representative Cori Bush of Missouri; Hector Morales, of Texas; Michael Hepburn, of Florida; Houston City Councilwoman Letitia Plummer of Texas; Paula Swearengin, of West Virginia; Paul Perry, of Pennsylvania; Robert Ryerse, of Arkansas, and Sarah Smith, of Washington, according to the documents.

Ocasio-Cortez’s office and Chakrabarti did not immediately return DailyMail.com’s request for comment.

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