AOC aide faces federal investigation amid resignation

8/4/2019 11:27 PM   

The controversial chief of staff for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., who resigned on Friday is currently being investigated by federal officials, a new report says.

Saikat Chakrabarti faced a complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission in March for alleged violations having to do with illegal fundraising. An investigation is currently underway, sources told the New York Post. According to the FEC, complaints only lead to investigations if there is enough evidence for them to believe there may have been a violation.

“Upon finding reason to believe that a violation has occurred or is about to occur, the Commission may authorize an investigation,” an FEC enforcement guidebook says.

The investigation is reportedly related to Brand New Congress and Justice Democrats, two PACs Chakrabarti started to back progressive candidates. The March complaint alleged that the groups funneled more than $885,000 to the similarly named Brand New Campaign LLC and the Brand New Congress LLC -- companies controlled by Chakrabarti that, unlike PACs, are exempt from reporting all of their significant expenditures. The PACs claimed the payments were for "strategic consulting."

Chakrabarti and Ocasio-Cortez were hit with another complaint in April over accusations that they used Brand New Congress LLC to illegally provide in-kind political contributions by offering consulting services for cheap rates, operating at a loss by only charging candidates a portion of the costs.

Ocasio-Cortez has denied any wrongdoing, telling reporters in April: "It's conservative interest groups just filing bogus proposals."

Federal officials are also looking into Chakrabarti’s salary from Ocasio-Cortez, the Post reported. The independently wealthy aide earned $80,000, as opposed to the average of $146,830. This not only allowed junior staff members to get a pay bump, it let Chakrabarti avoid requirements to reveal outside income, which only kick in for those earning at least $126,000.

The FEC did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment, and Chakrabarti could not be reached. A statement from Ocasio-Cortez's office announcing Chakrabarti's departure said he was leaving in order to take a new role at the non-profit group New Consensus to help with work on a Green New Deal.

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