Indian American Chakrabarti, who worked as Cortez’s top aide during her congressional campaign, is accused of campaign finance violation.
Chief of staff to freshman Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Saikat Chakrabarti has come under the scanner for allegedly funneling campaign donations to the companies he owned.
A conservative group has alleged that there was a widespread violation of campaign finance law during Cortez’s congressional campaign. Chakrabarti, an Indian American, set up a corporation by the name of Brand New Congress PAC. The corporation was paid $18,880 by Cortez’s congressional campaign for strategic consulting, according to 2017 records.
A complaint by National Legal and Policy Center says Chakrabarti has diverted more than $1 million to two of his own companies. In the process, he skirted reporting requirements. On Monday, a conservative group filed a complaint to the Federal Election Commission alleging that there was a failure by PACs in disclosing their spending.
However, an attorney for Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign has stressed that the entities acted with ethics and within the law. He also stressed that Chakrabarti never received any salary or any profit whatsoever from the campaign.
The controversy has hit New York Democrat Ocasio-Cortez real hard as she has in the past been very vocal about the issue of dark money. With her own campaign now accused of withholding important disclosures, the Democrat may have much explaining to do. The PAC money went to Chakrabarti-owned Brand New Congress LLC and Brand New Campaign LLC.
Speaking to Fox News on Tuesday, Ocasio-Cortez said that there was no violation of campaign finance law. Even though it remains unclear if she was aware of the payments made to Chakrabarti’s LLC.
Chakrabarti, who is a Silicon Valley Tech millionaire, played an instrumental role in Ocasio-Cortez’s win. He was then given the responsibility of the chief of staff in her congressional office.