The National Legal and Policy Center filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission earlier this week alleging that political action committees established by Ocasio-Cortez's chief-of-staff, Saikat Chakrabarti, funneled over $1 million in contributions to limited liability companies that he established. Joseph Crowley (D-NY), who Ocasio-Cortez defeated for re-election in 2018. Ocasio-Cortez's campaign also paid Chakrabarti's corporation more than $18,000 in 2017 for "strategic consulting". The Act requires that all expenditures of $200 or more to be disclosed to the FEC, and their goal identified.
Chakrabarti defended himself on Twitter on Monday. "Additionally, on Ocasio-Cortez's political Instagram page, she directly links to her official House Instagram account and includes a link for political contributions, alongside the posts of official video footage and her comments on official action". If the corporation undertook polling, fundraising and other campaign activities on behalf of candidates and committees, commissioners could conclude that they did not accurately describe those activities in their filings, he said. "The ONLY way to do work for multiple candidates legally at this scale is to create an LLC and act as a vendor", the group said.
Large financial transfers from PACs to private companies are technically legal, however the NLPC claims that Ocasio-Cortez and Chakrabarti attempted to orchestrate this "extensive off-the-books operation" in order to dodge Congressionally-mandated contribution reporting requirements. "If the PACs and campaigns were required to provide additional information on subvendor payments made by Brand New Congress LLC, it would have done so", Mitrani said.
Commenting on a tweet about Rep. Steve Scalise suggesting that Omar should not be getting intelligence briefings, Ocasio-Cortez inquired why, "if we're so concerned about implied tropes", no concern was seemingly exhibited over 26 Democrats voting "for a GOP amendment to expand ICE powers rooted in the racist + false trope that Latino immigrants are more risky than United States born citizens".
Brand New Congress formed in 2016, followed by Justice Democrats the following year. "We should actively check antisemitism, anti-blackness, homophobia, racism, and all other forms of bigotry", it said.
For that reason, they set up an LLC that served as the vehicle to pay staff and bill campaigns for services.
Former Federal Election Commission lawyer Adav Noti said such an arrangement does mirror a practice used by "scam PACs" and raises a "warning flag", but he said there's no evidence to support a kickback allegation in this case.