Former FEC Commissioner Says AOC Could Face Jail Time for Violations, She Responds

March 05, 2019Mar 05, 2019

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti, are under fire for how they handled her campaign money. According to reports, they could face serious jail time over multiple alleged violations of federal campaign finance law, according to former Republican FEC commissioner Hans von Spakovsky.

"AOC could face jail time if she intentionally kept her and her COS's control over a PAC secret, former FEC commissioner says. Another said they may have engaged in multiple campaign finance violations," tweeted Ethan Barton. 

Ocasio-Cortez and Chakrabarti reportedly claimed majority control of the Justice Democrats PAC in December 2017. According to reports, they continued to operate the PAC and used it to funnel money to her campaign without disclosing it to the FEC. 

“Ocasio-Cortez never disclosed to the FEC that she and Chakrabarti, who served as her campaign chair, controlled the PAC while it was simultaneously supporting her primary campaign, and former FEC commissioners say the arrangement could lead to multiple campaign finance violations,” wrote the Daily Caller. 

Multiple former FEC commissioners are now speaking out. They say this constitutes a serious violation 

“If the facts as alleged are true, and a candidate had control over a PAC that was working to get that candidate elected, then that candidate is potentially in very big trouble and may have engaged in multiple violations of federal campaign finance law, including receiving excessive contributions,” Spakovsky said. 

Another former FEC commissioner, Brad Smith, also told the Daily Caller that these allegations could lead to a “serious investigation.” It might even mean jail time. 

“At minimum, there’s a lot of smoke there, and if there are really only three board members and she and [Chakrabarti] are two of them, sure looks like you can see the blaze. I don’t really see any way out of it."

Smith added, “If this were determined to be knowing and willful, they could be facing jail time.”

On Tuesday, AOC responded to the claims. She unequivocally denied any financial misdoings.

She told Fox News, "There is no violation." When they asked her about the complaint that say she was connected "dark money" during the campaign, Ocasio-Cortez replied, “No, no.” 

Although as Fox News notes, large financial transfers from PACs to LLCs are not necessarily improper, the complaint against AOC argues that the goal of the "extensive" scheme was seemingly to illegally dodge detailed legal reporting requirements of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971. 

Critics were vocal about how unusual the setup appears. They wanted it to be further investigated. 

"It sounds to a lot of people like that’s a way to skirt the campaign finance laws in this country," former Utah GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz said on Fox News' "America's Newsroom." "And the FEC and the other regulators need to get in there and find out where was this money going – was it going to people’s pockets? Was it legitimate or not?”

Only time will tell if AOC will be thorougly investigated. Do you think she was doing something illegal?