Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti, “could be facing jail time” if their control over a far-left PAC was intentionally hidden.
According to a bombshell report from Daily Caller investigative reporter Andrew Kerr, Ocasio-Cortez and 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, according to corporate filings obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.”
If the Federal Election Commission (FEC) finds that the New York Democrat’s campaign operated in affiliation with the PAC, which had raised more than $1.8 million before her June 2018 primary, it would open them up to ‘massive reporting violations, probably at least some illegal contribution violations exceeding the lawful limits,’ former FEC commissioner Brad Smith said.
Ocasio-Cortez never disclosed to the FEC that she and Chakrabarti, who served as her campaign chair, controlled the PAC while it was simultaneously supporting her primary campaign, and former FEC commissioners say the arrangement could lead to multiple campaign finance violations. The group backed 12 Democrats during the 2018 midterms, but Ocasio-Cortez was the only one of those to win her general election.
Former FEC commissioner Hans von Spakovsky told the Daily Caller that if Ocasio-Cortez and her chief of staff intentionally tried to hide the information, they could go to jail.
“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,” he said.
Brad Smith, another former FEC commissioner, echoed a similar message to the Daily Caller, saying that if “a complaint were filed, I would think it would trigger a serious investigation,” adding that both Ocasio-Cortez and Chakrabarti “could be facing jail time.”
“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. I don’t really see any way out of it,” Smith said.
“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,” he added.
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