Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) is investing heavily in her online store, focusing on political merchandise. Still, the congresswoman claimed that her shop does not operate for profit amid allegations that she is using capitalism to push her socialist agenda.
Ocasio-Cortez’s store is selling T-shirts, sweatshirts, and other merchandise with her name, “AOC” initials or slogans including “Tax the Rich” and “Fight for our Future,” according to Reuters. It said her efforts are aimed at both fundraising and building her profile nationally.
The news agency citing data from the Federal Election Commission released late last week, revealed that Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign paid political merchandise firm Financial Innovations, which operates her online store and supplies merchandise more than $1.4 million in the first half of 2021.
That amount surpassed the expenditures by many lawmakers on their entire re-election efforts during the first six months. Moreover, it nearly doubled her payments made over the prior two years to Financial Innovations, a Rhode Island-based company specializing in political merchandise for Democrats.
It remains unclear how much T-shirts and hoodies are bringing to Ocasio-Cortez’s coffers, although merchandise sales count as campaign contributions.
Her campaign said in an emailed statement, as Reuters reported, that its online store is focused on “uplifting independent artists of color whose work tells a story of community and imagines a more equitable world for all.”
Since the November election, the campaign has raised about $6.9 million compared to $10.8 million by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and $23.9 million by Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer.
In a comment to Reuters’ reporting, Sean Spicer—host of Spicer&Co and former White House press secretary under the Trump administration—claimed that Ocasio-Cortez is “using capitalism to push socialism.”
In her response, Ocasio-Cortez argued that the “transactions aren’t capitalism.”
“Capitalism is a system that prioritizes profit at any & all human/enviro cost. But fwiw our shop is unionized, doesn’t operate for profit, & funds projects like free tutoring, food programs, & local organizing,” she replied in a tweet.