The Justice Democrats PAC dropped Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) from their board last week following a Daily Caller News Foundation report that revealed the freshman lawmaker didn't completely disclose her relationship with the PAC during her House campaign. As it turns out, she and her chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti held “legal control over the entity" in late 2017 and early 2018, while she was running for Congress.
Former FEC commissioners noted that her failure to disclose her role in the PAC could lead to multiple campaign finance violations, and perhaps jail time if the FEC finds that she hid it intentionally.
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. (Daily Caller News Foundation)
Both Ocasio-Cortez and Chakrabarti insist there's nothing to see here.
"There is no violation," she told Fox News earlier this month.
The JD and BNC websites had this explainer on it before @ryangrim ever asked us. We were doing something totally new, which meant a new setup. So, we were transparent about it from the start. Here's me talking about it on MSNBC in May, 2016. https://t.co/0fSoOiuWus https://t.co/VFBvBSgi41— Saikat Chakrabarti (@saikatc) March 5, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez was removed from Justice Democrats’ board in June 2018, but was still listed an “entity governor” of the PAC until last week. Critics wondered why it took Justice Democrats eight months to formally remove both of them from the board.
As we've noted, this is hardly the only ethics issue the freshman is fielding.