Accused of laundering funds to mask payments
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) has been hit with a Federal Election Commission complaint, accusing her of funneling thousands from her campaign fund to her boyfriend through a political action committee.
What are the details?
The complaint was filed by The Coolidge-Reagan Foundation, and names Ocasio-Cortez, her congressional campaign, and Brand New Congress as respondents. Brand New Congress — founded by her current chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti — is the firm Ocasio-Cortez hired to run her campaign, and has an affiliated PAC by the same name.
The Coolidge-Reagan Foundation points to two $3,000 payments made by Brand New Congress PAC early in the campaign to Riley Roberts, the boyfriend of Ocasio-Cortez, for “marketing consultant” services. Sandwiched between the payments to Roberts, “Cortez’s campaign committee paid Brand New Congress LLC $6,191.32 for ‘strategic consulting.'”
“Thus,” the complaint reads, “over the span of a little more than a month, Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign committee paid just over $6,000 to Brand New Congress PAC, while its affiliated LLC turned around and paid her boyfriend $6,000.”
Dan Backer, the attorney who filed the complaint on behalf of the foundation clarified to Fox News, “It’s not illegal for [Ocasio-Cortez] to pay her boyfriend, but it appears that they created some sort of scheme to avoid claiming the money [as a campaign expense]. What exactly did he do for that money?”
The complainant “respectfully requests the Federal Election Commission commence enforcement proceedings against” the respondents.
The payments were first discovered by political consultant Luke Thompson who reported them on Medium. Thompson also revealed that Roberts was listed in the House of Representatives’ directory as a staffer to Ocasio-Cortez, which the congresswoman denies.
Ocasio-Cortez hit out at Thompson on Twitter last week, dismissing his claims and saying, “No, I don’t shadily pay my boyfriend.”