Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her Chief of Staff were just quietly removed from their role as board members on the PAC Justice Democrats, reported the Daily Caller.
The action comes shortly after a complaint was filed with the FEC alleging that she and Saikat Chakrabarti committed campaign finance violations that helped her win the 2018 midterm elections.
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.
Ocasio-Cortez and Chakrabarti were officially taken off the Justice Democrats’ board on March 15, according to a corporate document to the Washington, D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, The Daily Caller stated.
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 prior to the removal.
“There is no violation,” Ocasio-Cortez told Fox News. Asked if the complaint shows she was connected to “dark money” during the campaign, Ocasio-Cortez replied, “No, no.”