Federal election authorities are taking a hard look at the man who was chief of staff for New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Adding fuel to the controversy, Saikat Chakrabarti cleaned his desk out on Friday, allegedly to go to work for a “nonprofit think tank” called New Consensus. It’s supposed to be thinking about AOC’s “Green New Deal.”
Described by the New York Post as the “mastermind” behind her election campaign, Chakrabarti is also the driving force behind her plan to eliminate cow farts and gasoline engines.
The feds are a lot more interested in where the campaign money has been going. Chakrabarti set up a couple of political action committees to stash the cash. “Brand New Congress” and “Justice Democrats,” were both intended to “support progressive candidates across the country.” Between them, they hauled in $3.3 million. A third of that money was siphoned into two private companies with names following the same theme, and disappeared.
Brand New Congress LLC and Brand New Campaign LLC are both private companies with no requirement to share their spending with election watchdogs. Chakrabarti controls both corporations.
When the National Legal and Policy Center got wind of it, they filed a complaint alleging “the LLCs appeared to have been set up to obscure” federal reporting laws. They may also have run afoul of laws limiting contributions to $5,000 per candidate.
Ocasio-Cortez introduced new salary rules that are now going under the microscope to see if they were done as a way to “let Chakrabarti dodge public financial disclosure rules.” She gave a raise to most of her office workers, raising the pay of junior staffers to $52,000 but Chakrabarti “took a massive pay cut.”
His job description is worth around $147,000 a year but he agreed to take $80,000. Conveniently that figure falls well below the $126,000 threshold where he would have to disclose his outside income to federal regulators.
Chakrabarti hasn’t been very good for AOC’s image much either. He’s the one who got her in so much hot water she got called into Nancy Pelosi’s office.
“People were not happy that he used his Twitter account to comment about members and the bills that he and his boss oppose. There was a series of colliding and cascading grievances,” one Democrat staffer leaked.
Pelosi claims we can't focus on impeachment because it's a distraction from kitchen table issues. But I'd challenge you to find voters that can name a single thing House Democrats have done for their kitchen table this year. What is this legislative mastermind doing?
— Saikat Chakrabarti (@saikatc) July 7, 2019
In June, then again in July, Chakrabarti called Pelosi “a weak leader,” and called moderate establishment Democrats “racist.” He posted they’re “hell-bent to do to black and brown people today what the old southern Democrats did in the 40s.”
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The whole squad got in trouble four days after one tweet saying, “Pelosi claims we can’t focus on impeachment because it’s a distraction from kitchen table issues. What is this legislative mastermind doing?”
That was what prompted the closed door meeting where Pelosi told AOC that if she has a beef, come see her about it instead of making it public. “So, again, you got a complaint? You come and talk to me about it.”