A former employee of the National Republican Senate Committee did some digging into the campaign finances of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, only to find some shady dealings that are raising eyebrows.
Ocasio-Cortez’s Chief of Staff, Saikat Chakrabarti, was heavily involved in the socialist congresswoman’s campaign. He owns a PAC called Brand New Congress, and an associated Limited Liability Company (LLC) by the same name. This is not particularly unusual, but some of the payments transferred between the company, the PAC, and Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign appear to be less than ethical.
“Like other candidates, AOC paid Brand New Congress LLC for strategic consulting, in her case totaling $18,880.14,” wrote Luke Thompson on Medium. “Unlike in the other cases, Brand New Congress PAC turned around and paid her boyfriend as a ‘marketing consultant.'”
Thompson used publicly available Federal Election Commission documents to source his report.
“Indeed, while Brand New Congress PAC’s ten largest expenditures were paid to Brand New Congress LLC for ‘strategic consulting,’ a sum that totaled $261,165.20 over the course of the campaign, its eleventh and twelfth largest expenditures were paid to Riley Roberts,” the report said.
Roberts has been described by Ocasio-Cortez as her “partner.”
PACs transferring money to private companies for services rendered is normal campaign activity. Even the fact that Chakrabarti owned both the PAC and the company is relatively standard. But some of the transactions are highly questionable.
Brand New Congress PAC paid Roberts $3,000 on August 9th:
Eighteen days later, AOC’s campaign paid Brand New Congress LLC $6,191.32:
A month later Brand New Congress PAC then turned around and paid Riley Roberts another $3,000.
The speculation is that money was flowing from Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign, through the LLC, and then back into the pockets of Roberts by way of the PAC in the form of “services rendered.”
“Regardless of whether or not Roberts was officially AOC’s spouse at that time, it seems probable Chakrabarti was reimbursing her for her campaign expenses off-books. Brand New Congress PAC simply served as a pass-through to do so,” Thompson said.
“When AOC won, she then hired Chakrabarti, her strategist/patron, as her Chief of Staff. Taking money from a rich guy, trying to hide it by passing it through a PAC, and then giving her benefactor a government job.”
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