Chakrabarti not only ran Brand New Congress LLC, but was also Ocasio-Cortez's campaign manager and sat on the board of Justice Democrats, the group's website indicated as recently as January 8. The Act requires that all expenditures of $200 or more to be disclosed to the FEC, and their objective identified.
The group not only raised funds for her, but also "built a phone-banking tool that allowed over 1,000 volunteers to make over 192,000 calls to over 86,000 voters for the Ocasio-Cortez campaign" and "mobilized volunteers to knock on doors, helped build Ocasio-Cortez's digital and communications infrastructure and eventually jumped in to help staff her campaign".
Brand New Congress PAC, launched by Ocasio-Cortez's chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti in 2016, spent more than 90 percent of its funds paying a firm owned by the PAC founder for "strategic consulting" in its first year and continued to pay the firm a big portion of its funds.
"If the PACs and campaigns were required to provide additional information on subvendor payments made by Brand New Congress LLC, it would have done so", he wrote. According to the contract, the fee was to pay employees, subcontractors, and agents.
Chakrabarti declined to comment as did a spokesman for Ocasio-Cortez.
Chakrabarti described the operation on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow as a "unified" national campaign to elect progressives to Congress, whereby candidates would be freed from the responsibility of raising money or administering their campaigns.
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Documents filed (pdf) with the government in Washington list Ocasio-Cortez and Chakrabarti as the entity's governors-those who control it-along with Nasim Thompson, former executive director and PAC board chair of Brand New Congress.
Several people took to Twitter to call out Ocasio-Cortez and Chakrabarti for their questionable dealings, claiming it was hypocritical for the congresswoman because of her outspoken opposition to dark money in politics.
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez: We've been in active conversation. "In her case the reason I generally am supportive of her is that she has been a tremendous inspiration to young people".
The Coolidge Reagan Foundation said in their complaint that it looked like a shell game.
Ocasio-Cortez, Michael Milisits said, "represents the new guard, the new generation (of Democrats)".