U.S.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Says Conservative Groups Are Filing ‘Bogus’ Ethics Claims so Fox News Can Report on Them

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez fired back at allegations her campaign committed finance violations, calling the report a "conspiracy theory." The New York Democrat retweeted a report by NBC News that cited experts who suggested that there was "no evidence of wrongdoing."

"In case you saw the conspiracy theory running around, conservative groups have now taken to spamming us by filing bogus ethics complaints so that Fox News can report on 'alleged,' untrue scandals," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. "This is how the misinformation machine works, folks."

The Federal Election Committee (FEC) complaint was filed on Monday by the National Legal and Policy Center, a conservative nonprofit ethics monitoring group.

The complaint alleged that Ocasio-Cortez's campaign "orchestrated an extensive off-the-books operation to make hundreds of thousands of dollars of expenditures in support of multiple candidates for federal office" and that those named in the complaint "were aware, or should have been aware, of the sweeping and apparently illegal nature of the enterprise."

Ocasio-Cortez, her chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti and three other individuals were named in the complaint, along with two political action committees, Brand New Congress PAC and Justice Democrats.

According to the complaint, Chakrabarti was alleged to have organized the two PACs and had $885,000 in funds transferred to two LLCs, Brand New Campaign LLC and Brand New Congress LLC. 

NBC News reported that the PACs were founded by a group of activists who supported Senator Bernie Sanders during his 2016 presidential run. Those activists created Brand New Congress PAC and Justice Democrats.

The Washington Post reported Chakrabarti lists himself as a co-founder of both PACs on his LinkedIn page, and he is listed as the owner of Brand New Congress LLC, initially called Brand New Campaign LLC.

According to NBC News, the two PACs did pay Brand New Congress LLC $1.07 million during campaigns in 2017 and 2018. Justice Democrats later claimed to have had a hand in electing seven Democrats to Congress, including Ocasio-Cortez. Her campaign also paid Brand New Congress LLC $18,880 for various services.

David Mitrani, the attorney for Ocasio-Cortez's campaign, the LLC and PACs, told the Post that Chakrabarti was never given a salary through the entities while he worked on Ocasio-Cortez's campaign, nor made any profit from them.

On Tuesday, Ocasio-Cortez told Fox News, "There is no violation,” in relation to the complaint and that she did not take "dark money" for her campaign.

On Thursday, another complaint was filed with the Office of Congressional Ethics by the Coolidge Reagan Foundation. The complaint alleged that Ocasio-Cortez violated ethical standards and utilized her "newly found congressional privileges" by giving her boyfriend, Riley Roberts, an ‘@mail.house.gov’ e-mail address.

"Moreover, it appears she obtained the e-mail address for him by falsely designating him a ‘staff’ member," the complaint said, reported Fox News.

Responding to critics of the email address on Twitter, Ocasio-Cortez said: "Actually this cal designation is a permission so he can have access to my Google Cal. Congressional spouses get Gcal access all the time. Next time check your facts before you tweet nonsense."

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