REPORT: Ocasio-Cortez’s Wealthy Chief Of Staff Avoids Disclosing His Finances

DAILYCALLER.COM:

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s rich chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti, did not file a disclosure revealing his net worth and outside income earned in 2018, despite the congresswoman having the legal means to compel him to do so.

Chakrabarti cofounded two PACs — Brand New Congress and Justice Democrats — that were instrumental to the New York Democrat’s electoral rise.

The article goes on to state the following:

The political action committees funneled over $1 million to an LLC Chakrabarti controlled during the 2018 midterms. A complaint filed in March with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) called the operation “an elaborate scheme to avoid proper disclosure of campaign expenditures.”

According to the Daily Caller, government affairs lobbyist Craig Holman said, “Given Chakrabarti’s enormous wealth and potential for conflicts of interest, I am a little surprised he is not voluntarily filing financial disclosure statements.”

Holman is associated with a left-leaning advocacy group Public Citizen. He said House Ethics rules grant Ocasio-Cortez “the legal means to require her chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti and other senior staffers to disclose their financial dealings.”

In March, the Washington Examiner described the “operation” that prompted the FEC complaint:

The arrangement skirted reporting requirements and may have violated the $5,000 limit on contributions from federal PACs to candidates, according to the complaint filed by the National Legal and Policy Center, a government watchdog group.

Campaign finance attorneys described the arrangement as “really weird” and an indication “there’s something amiss.” They said there was no way of telling where the political donations went — meaning they could have been pocketed or used by the company to pay for off-the-books campaign operations.

Describing the FEC complaint they filed against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), her chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti, and “several other individuals and groups,” the NLPC explained:

The final disposition of the funds is unknown because whatever expenditures were made were never reported to the FEC. It appears, however, that they underwrote a score of campaign-related events and activities for Ocasio-Cortez and other Congressional candidates.

Chakrabarti described the operation on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow as a “unified” national campaign to elect progressives to Congress, whereby candidates would be freed from the responsibility of raising money or administering their campaigns. He did not mention that it would also free candidates from the responsibility of disclosure. He stated that one of the campaign’s priorities is to “get rid of the influence of money in politics.”

According to Tom Anderson, director of NLPC’s Government Integrity Project, “These are not minor or technical violations. We are talking about real money here. In all my years of studying FEC reports, I’ve never seen a more ambitious operation to circumvent reporting requirements. Representative Ocasio-Cortez has been quite vocal in condemning so-called dark money, but her own campaign went to great lengths to avoid the sunlight of disclosure.”

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