Could Ocasio-Cortez Really Go to Jail for Shady Campaign Cash Scheme?
Well, that was quick. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) – or “AOC,” which is much easier to type – has had a meteoric rise to the forefront of the national conversation.
From her cute politically-released dance video to her catastrophic Green New Cow Fart policy document, she’s managed to make her way into the headlines every single day. Despite having no policy or legislative experience whatsoever, and very little real knowledge of how the world’s economies actually work, AOC has effectively upstaged Nancy Pelosi.
AOC is running the Democrat Party. But what’s that old saying about the flame that burns brightest? AOC hasn’t even made it through her first fiscal quarter as a US Congresswoman, and she’s already in very real jeopardy of going to jail for campaign finance violations.
That’s no exaggeration. Unlike the “Russian collusion” story that has captivated the talking heads and the Democrat Party for the past two-plus years, there’s potential for a real crime in the Ocasio-Cortez story.
In case no one realizes it, “Russian collusion” is not a crime. Imagine this scenario:
Vladimir Putin calls Donald Trump and says, “I’ve got the DNC emails and I’m releasing them via my personal blog, Wikileaks, on Tuesday.”
Candidate Donald Trump replies, “No, let’s collude together. Release the emails on Thursday instead, so I can win the election!”
If Special Counsel Robert Mueller were to produce an audio recording of that fictional conversation tomorrow, there is literally no crime in the federal code that he could charge Donald Trump with. It’s not a crime to have a conversation with someone or even to “collude” with them.
But if you take campaign donations from everyday Americans and spend that money to enrich yourself – that is a crime.
It’s a serious one, and Members of Congress from both parties go to jail for it all the time.
Here’s what Ocasio-Cortez and her chief of staff, a fake-American tech guru named Saikat Chakrabarti, are accused of doing. AOC and Chakrabarti were on the boards of a couple of Political Action Committees (PACs) during the 2018 election cycle.
There’s nothing immoral or illegal about that. Candidates and everyday Americans can run PACs to support other candidates, causes or campaigns.
One was the Justice Democrats PAC and the other was Brand New Congress PAC. The Justice Democrats’ board of directors was made up of AOC, Chakrabarti and two of the offensive communist jerks from The Young Turks – a communist YouTube show where loudmouthed, obnoxious socialists sit around complaining about America.
One of the Young Turks – another fake-American named Cenk Uygur – was kicked off the board for making racist and sexist remarks.
The other “Young Turk” threw a fit and left as well, leaving AOC and Chakrabarti in charge of all the money. Something similar happened with Brand New Congress PAC.
But instead of finding new board members or toughing it out alone, Chakrabarti set up two LLCs – limited liability corporations — called Justice Democrats LLC and Brand New Congress LLC.
Then, he transferred more than $1 million from the PACs into the LLCs. That’s a huge no-no in campaign finance laws.
PACS have to record, monitor and report expenditures to the Federal Election Commission. This is to ensure that candidates, campaigns and causes are spending the money on what they say they’re spending the money on.
It also helps to prevent things like Saudi princes and Chinese generals from swaying our elections by dumping a bunch of money into the pockets of bought-and-paid-for candidates.
LLCs don’t have to do any of that. They don’t have to report expenditures – because they’re not governed by the FEC.
That’s the whole point: Hiding what the money was spent on. Otherwise, why move the money around in the first place?
It could have been spent on the campaign from the original accounts. It would be like a Secretary of State setting up her own private email server in a bathroom closet, so she wouldn’t have to worry about her communications being subject to congressional investigations.
Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. went to prison for more than two years for spending $750,000 in campaign donations on himself and his wife.
They spent the money on things like a football that US presidents had autographed, a Van Halen guitar, a fedora that Michael Jackson wore in a music video and flat-screen TVs for their lavish apartment.
When you give donations to a political candidate or PAC, you have a reasonable expectation that they’ll spend the money on their campaign, whether the cash goes to radio ads, yard signs, staff salaries or even a nice haircut before a big television interview.
All of those things would be legal. But now a million dollars is missing from AOC’s campaign PACs. And if it turns out that any of the money was spent for something non-campaign-related, her career in Congress will turn out to be a very short one.