Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ Former Chief of Staff Fired & being investigated by Feds for Campaign Finance Violations

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The feds are probing into campaign finance mischief by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff and lead rainmaker, Saikat Chakrabarti, who suddenly resigned this past week, federal sources told The NY Post.

The investigation comes after government watchdog group National Legal and Policy Center filed complaints with the FEC in March, alleging Chakrabarti created shell companies to circumvent strict federal guidelines governing PAC finances and disclosure requirements.

By the way, the FEC only initiates investigations stemming from complaints filed by outside organizations if there is sufficient evidence to believe a violation occurred.

Chakrabarti apparently tried to subvert FEC regulations by funneling that money to entities not subject to federal reporting requirements:

In March, when the FEC complaints were filed, a lawyer for the PACs, the LLCs and the Ocasio-Cortez campaign told the Washington Post that the arrangement “fully complied with the law and the highest ethical standards” and that Chakrabarti never profited from any of the political entities he formed.

They may also have violated the $5,000 limit on contributions from federal PACs to candidates, according to the complaint. It is not known if any of that money flowed to Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign.

Federal authorities are looking at new salary rules imposed by Ocasio-Cortez when she took office earlier this year, and whether they were put in place to let Chakrabarti dodge public financial-disclosure rules, according to sources.

And Chakrabarti also was able to dodge Congressional rules on salaries by taking a huge pay cut.

Although Ocasio-Cortez raised the salaries of junior staffers in her office to just over $52,000 a year, Chakrabarti took a massive pay cut. The Harvard graduate and tech millionaire agreed to an annual salary of $80,000 — far less than the $146,830 average pay for his position.

Because his salary was less than $126,000, congressional rules exempted the chief of staff from having to disclose his outside income.

Well I’ll be, a Socialist embracing Capitalism? Kinda:

Some background:

Saikat Chakrabarti suddenly resigned from Ocasio-Cortez’s staff on Friday. It was believed that his resignation was connected to his boss’ spat with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). But the federal probe into AOC’s campaign finances and the targeting of  Chakrabarti may throw new light on his sudden departure.

The two PACs being probed, Brand New Congress and Justice Democrats, were both set up by Chakrabarti to support progressive candidates across the country.

But they funneled more than $1 million in political donations into two private companies that Chakrabarti also incorporated and controlled, according to Federal Election Commission filings and a complaint filed in March with the regulatory agency.

In 2016 and 2017, the PACs raised about $3.3 million, mostly from small donors. A third of the cash was transferred to two private companies whose names are similar to one of the PACs — Brand New Congress LLC and Brand New Campaign LLC — federal campaign filings show.

By capping Chakrabarti’s salary at $80,000 — despite most congressional chiefs of staff earning more than $140,000 per year — it would have allowed Chakrabarti to avoid requirements mandating he reveal outside income, which are triggered for staff members earning more than $126,000.

Ocasio-Cortez and Chakrabarti were quietly removed from the board of Justice Democrats in March after National Legal and Policy Center filed its complaint.

The two PACs being probed, Brand New Congress and Justice Democrats, were both set up by Chakrabarti to support progressive candidates across the country.

Even prior to the broadside about moderates, Chakrabarti had come under fire for his tenure leading Justice Democrats. In March, a complaint was filed with the Federal Election Commission alleging he funneled more than $1 million in political donations to two of his private companies.

In March it was alleged there were no “walls of separation” in the 3,500 square feet of office space in Knoxville, Tennessee that in 2017 and 2018 housed two political action committees (PACs), two private consulting firms, and at least 12 congressional campaigns committees, all controlled or run by Chakrabarti.

Most people are wondering how the heck she got elected?

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