“It would be wonderful if the FEC would get off its dysfunctional ass and rule on these things.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., was hit with another Federal Election Commission (FEC) complaint Wednesday regarding the alleged operation of a “subsidy scheme” that violated campaign finance laws.
The complaint accuses Ocasio-Cortez and her campaign manager, Saikat Chakrabarti, of being in charge of a “shadowy web” of political action committees (PACs) that helped them raise money but did not comply with FEC regulations.
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In addition, the complaint alleges the duo created a limited liability company (LLC) to avoid federal expenditure requirements by offering the candidate, and other Democrats, political consulting services at prices low enough that the company had to shut down before the election was over.
The complaint alleges Brand New Congress LLC, a now-defunct company owned by Chakrabarti, aimed to recruit up to 400 candidates for national office and “fully run all of their campaigns.”
Conservative attorney Dan Backer, who filed the complaint, said Chakrabarti was trying to create the “uber of politics.”
“Uber functions because of a massive subsidy from venture capital,” Backer explained. “Here, it’s subsidized by these PACs to deliver a valuable service that people need and want, but can’t be delivered at the real cost of it.”
Backer says the company provided contributions to approved campaigns known as “in-kind” expenditures by charging candidates only a portion of the cost of the service, giving the campaigns the consulting they needed for cheap. The company operated at a loss to provide the services.
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According to Backer, a 1990s-era FEC Advisory Opinions explained that goods and services must be provided to campaigns at fair market value, otherwise they were to be considered “in-kind” contributions.
Ocasio-Cortez and her now chief of staff Chakrabarti are named in the complaint, along with the Justice Democrats PAC, the Brand New Congress PAC and Brand New Congress LLC.
The complaint comes as Ocasio-Cortez faces a similar filing from a few weeks ago. According to the previous complaint, Ocasio-Cortez’ Chief of Staff funneled campaign funds to private organizations to conceal their origins.
Ocasio-Cortez also faces accusations she has yet to pay back taxes on a failed business venture.
Backer said the FEC, which has been slow to rule on current complaints, needs to speed up the process or face legal action.
“It would be wonderful if the FEC would get off its dysfunctional ass and rule on these things,” Backer said.
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