Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.)’s chief of staff helped establish two political action committees that paid a corporation he ran more than $1 million in 2016 and 2017, federal campaign finance records show.
Brand New Congress LLC, the corporation owned by Saikat Chakrabarti, was also paid $18,880 for strategic consulting by Ocasio-Cortez’s congressional campaign in 2017, records show. The following year, he worked as a volunteer to manage her campaign, according to his LinkedIn profile.
The arrangement left hidden who ultimately profited from the payments — a sharp juxtaposition with Ocasio-Cortez’s calls for transparency in politics. She has called dark money “the enemy to democracy.”
The money that flowed to her chief of staff’s corporation have subjected the first-term congresswoman to critics’ charges of hypocrisy. On Monday, a conservative group filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission alleging that the PACs failed to properly disclose their spending.
Columnist Phil Kerpen also noted that the Brand New Congress LLC headquarters is located at 714 S Gay St, Knoxville TN. It turns out it was also the campaign headquarters of Democratic congressional candidates in New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Illinois.
The question is whether Democratic Socialists located their for-profit skimming operation in Tennessee to avoid paying NY state income tax?
Brand New Congress was apparently registered to do state tax withholding in Arkansas.
Brand New Congress was never registered to do business in Tennessee, where it is headquarters, but Saikat Chakrabarti’s other LLC, Brand New Campaign was. Until its registration was revoked.
These operations also consolidated their backoffice employees for all these campaigns in a non-income tax state.
The lead operative on the ground in Knoxville was Brian Corbin Trent, Treasurer of Justice Democrats.
He is listed as a Tennessee resident throughout his work for both Justice Democrats and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Reading the @NLPC complaint and they have what pretty much amounts to a confession right on the Justice Democrats website.
Legally, hiding whole campaigns inside “strategic consulting” would appear to be a reporting violation, but there is a lot of unreported subvending on campaigns.
More significant is that I don’t see how the LLC’s PAC work could have been firewalled from its campaign work with AOC on the board, which creates an illegal coordination problem.