It’s hypocrisy at its finest.
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is all about passing huge tax hikes on the wealthy.
But the freshman lawmaker should probably start by taking care of her own unpaid tax bill… and then get her own legal troubles under control.
According to public records, she still owes New York $1,870.36 in corporate taxes for Brook Avenue Press, a company she founded in 2012 to publish children’s books in The Bronx.
On July 6, 2017, the state slapped her company with a warrant. It was two months after she announced her candidacy to run against Democrat incumbent Joe Crowley for the district that includes parts of Queens and The Bronx.
The state requires businesses to pay a corporate tax on a sliding scale that goes based on revenue. In this case, her company was dissolved in October 2016 – something that often happens when a business fails to file a return or pay corporate taxes.
And while the state won’t comment on individual companies, it’s widely known they typically file a warrant only as a last resort after trying to collect money.
Of course AOC hasn’t commented on it.
“This is the first we’re hearing of it, and we won’t have any additional comment until we look into it,” Ocasio-Cortez’s spokesman, Corbin Trent, said Saturday.
According to a YouTube video posted in October 2011, months before she filed corporate papers for the company in July 2012, Ocasio-Cortez said she was creating a media company to “develop and identify stories and literature in urban areas like New York, specifically communities like The Bronx”.
She took advantage of cheap office space in a city-subsidized program called the “Sunshine Bronx Business Incubator”, which was housed in a renovated former printing plant in Hunts Point. Prices for office spaces and tech services in 2012 averaged between $99 for a “virtual office” and $275 per month for local start-ups.
The tax warrant was issued to Brook Avenue Press at that location.
The business didn’t go so hot. AOC promised to work with “designers, artists and authors that really know the urban story and help develop stories for kids”.
But it doesn’t appear that they actually published any books.
It was just last week that she signed on to a bill to tax stock trades. She’s also called for a 70 percent tax on incomes over $10 million in order to help finance the Green New Deal.
But those unpaid taxes are the least of her worries.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her Chief of Staff could be facing multiple civil penalties or even jail time due to an investigation into whether she hid control of an outside PAC that helped solidify her win in the 2018 midterm elections.
According to the Daily Caller, Ocasio-Cortez and Saikat Chakrabarti gained majority control of the Justice Democrats PAC in late 2017.
Former FEC Commissioner Brad Smith said that if the two are found to have been in control of the PAC, which helped raise over $1.8 million before the June Primary vote, they could face punishments from “massive reporting violations, probably at least some illegal contribution violations exceeding the lawful limits.”
Justice Democrats helped raise funds for 12 Democrats in total, with Ocasio-Cortez being the only one to win her race.
The Daily Caller stated that “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti obtained majority control of Justice Democrats PAC in December 2017, according to archived copies of the group’s website, and the two appear to retain their control of the group.”
It’s noted that Ocasio-Cortez never notified the FEC that she and Chakrabarti obtained majority control of the PAC while it was supporting her campaign. If shown to be true, this could mean they violated multiple campaign finance violations.
“If the facts as alleged are true, and a candidate had control over a PAC that was working to get that candidate elected, then that candidate is potentially in very big trouble and may have engaged in multiple violations of federal campaign finance law, including receiving excessive contributions,” said Hans von Spakovsky, the former Republican FEC Commissioner.
Fox News reported that a complaint has been filed that AOC and Chakrabarti were allegedly “funneling nearly $1 million in contributions from political action committees Chakrabarti established to private companies that he also controlled.”
If investigated and found to be true, the outcome could spell jail time for Ocasio-Cortez and Chakrabarti.
AOC is quite vocal in condemning dark money, BUT her campaign went to GREAT lengths to avoid the sunlight of disclosure.
AOC's ambitious operation circumvented reporting $1 million in campaign cash.
They even funneled money to pay her live in boyfriend. https://t.co/vjIR5bGm0f
— Jessie Jane Duff (@JessieJaneDuff) March 5, 2019
Brad Smith noted that the pentalites would be severe if the two “knowingly and willfully withheld their ties between the campaign and the political action committee from the FEC to bypass campaign contribution limits.”
Until just after the primary election, the Justice Democrats website showed that Ocasio-Cortez and Chakrabarti held “legal control” of the PAC, and documents still show that they are two of the sitting members of the 3-member board.
“Justice Democrats PAC has a board consisting of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Saikat Chakrabarti that has legal control over the entity,” the Justice Democrats website read.
Brad Smith went on to say, ““The admission makes it open and shut if someone wants to file a complaint with the FEC. I don’t see how the FEC could not investigate that. We’ve even got their own statement on their website that they control the organization. I don’t see how you could avoid an investigation on that.”
With the two in majority control, Justice Democrats went on to raise over $4 million in funds for the election.
“At minimum, there’s a lot of smoke there, and if there are really only three board members and she and [Chakrabarti] are two of them, sure looks like you can see the blaze,” said Smith. “I don’t really see any way out of it.”
“Representative Ocasio-Cortez has been quite vocal in condemning so-called dark money, but her own campaign went to great lengths to avoid the sunlight of disclosure,” said Tom Anderson, director of the NLPC’s Government Integrity Project.
When asked about the seriousness of the PAC contributions, a member of Mitt Romney’s 2008 campaign noted that Democrats have gone after Republican groups for far less.
“There are a bunch of well-funded groups on the left that file complaints on much thinner grounds than this against conservatives and Republican candidates.”