Fellow Dems to Return Campaign Contributions from AOC

Posted: Apr 03, 2021 2:50 PM
Fellow Dems to Return Campaign Contributions from AOC

Source: AP Photo/Kathy Willens

It turns out not even her Democratic colleagues want to associate with her. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) recently donated $5,000 to vulnerable House Democrats, which prompted this Politico headline, from Sarah Ferris, Ally Mutnick, and Olivia Beavers, "Vulnerable Dems fret after getting a shock: AOC’s campaign cash." The piece is aptly peppered throughout with phrases like "unwelcome surprise," "awkward," "fret," "liability" and "poisoned."

AOC sent the contributions to fellow Democrats, "without directly contributing to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, with which she’s publicly clashed," Politico reports.

The piece further mentions:

Some members whose campaigns got unexpected Ocasio-Cortez cash are seeking answers directly from DCCC Chair Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) and his top staffers. DCCC aides gave lawmakers’ wire transfer information to Ocasio-Cortez's aides without the approval of more senior officials, according to multiple people familiar with the contributions. 

Even if imperiled House Democrats refund her contribution now, Ocasio-Cortez’s name is almost certain to show up on their Federal Election Commission reports when they’re due this month — creating a liability for members of her party who have to win reelection in districts where her political brand is poisoned thanks to years of unrelenting Republican attacks. 

While some are grateful for the infusion of cash, at least three Democrats have so far either declined the initial transfer or said they would return the money: Reps. Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania, Carolyn Bourdeaux of Georgia and Elissa Slotkin of Michigan, according to multiple sources.

Reps. Lamb, Bourdeaux, and Slotkin are considered moderate and vulnerable Democrats, who were elected in districts once held by Republicans.

The members want answers from the DCCC and its head, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY). What's the response? "We appreciate Rep. Ocasio-Cortez's ongoing commitment to a Democratic majority. Due to a miscommunication, some transfers were made in error, but that has been addressed." said Chris Hayden, a spokesman for DCCC, according to Politico.

Something tells me they don't "appreciate" the donations--at least not all that much--and would much rather she express her "ongoing commitment to a Democratic majority" in other ways. 

Fox News' Houston Keene also pointed out that "Staff at the DCCC reportedly did not foresee the double-edged sword of tying the controversial congresswoman to the party's most vulnerable members in the House." 

"Double-edged" sword indeed. With how much AOC has clashed with the DCCC, one has to wonder if this was a deep down a calculated move so as to clash even further. 

Politico additionally reports that:

Normally, swing-district Democrats are scrounging for every last dollar to help them secure their reelections, particularly in a first quarter that has been tougher than usual for candidates across the board. But the Ocasio-Cortez donation, these Democrats said, was unsolicited and came without warning. Many of their campaigns did not receive a heads-up from the DCCC about the donation until after it hit members’ accounts — a move that surprised senior aides and campaign consultants. 


In the political donation world, wire transfers are commonly used to quickly move large sums of money from one account to another, particularly in the final stretch of a fundraising quarter and during a pandemic. The Ocasio-Cortez transfers carried clear political risk for some members, however, and some sources pointed out that she could have alleviated the current anxiety by giving to the DCCC directly. 

While Hayden didn't discuss the concerns further, an unnamed Democratic consultant addressed the situation for what it really is. "The GOP has spent four years saying the frontliners are all socialists. Now they’ve got the receipts to prove it. Anyone telling themselves this won’t be in campaign ads is in denial," the consultant for swing-districts said. 

Again, Politico's piece uses the word "poisoned." Rightfully so. Surely Republicans are going to capitalize on this with their attack ads, and they'd be smart to do so. 

With the Democrats' majority in the U.S. House of Representatives being as razor thin as it is--down to single digits--Republicans ought to gladly take what help they can get to change that, even if it's from an unlikely, unintended source. 

Amusingly, AOC was also ranked one of the least effective members of Congress, the New York Post reported. The rankings come from Vanderbilt University and University of Virginia's nonpartisan Center for Effective Lawmaking