A complaint was filed this week with the Federal Election Committee accusing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s top campaign aide of shuffling more than $1 million in political donations to his personal private companies during the 2018 election. According to the Washington Examiner, that aide – Saikat Charabarti – could be facing stiff legal penalties for using the money in this way, and Ocasio-Cortez herself could be deemed liable for the misappropriation of donated funds.
The complaint, which was filed by watchdog group National Legal and Policy Center, says that Chakrabarti set up the companies for the specific purpose of funneling donations through an empty shell while avoiding the deeper scrutiny of the FEC. This allowed the political activist to use the money in ways that could not be publicly vetted.
Chakrabarti is one of the main money men behind two PACs that have pushed for a progressive turn in Democratic Party elections. Those PACs – Justice Democrats and Brand New Congress – were founded in the last couple of years with the purpose of putting far-left politicians into Congress. Their goal included challenging Democrat incumbents who were deemed too moderate for the left’s litmus test. It was through their intervention that Ocasio-Cortez pulled off the upset of the century in New York, dethroning senior Democrat Caucus Chair Joe Crowley in 2018.
According to the Daily Caller, the allegations could mean jail time not only for Chakrabarti but for Ocasio-Cortez as well:
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.
“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,” former Republican FEC commissioner Hans von Spakovsky told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
And fellow former FEC commissioner Brad Smith told TheDCNF that if “a complaint were filed, I would think it would trigger a serious investigation.” He also noted that such a probe could potentially result in jail time for Ocasio-Cortez and her chief of staff, Chakrabarti.
It’s difficult to imagine that a rising Democrat star like Ocasio-Cortez would actually face criminal consequences for her crimes, but maybe this brush with the law will serve to knock her down a few pegs.