Federal government agencies are investigating alleged campaign finance misconduct by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s former chief of staff, who abruptly resigned on Friday, Aug. 2, according to the New York Post.
The probe focuses on two political action committees PACs—Brand New Congress and Justice Democrats—founded by Saikat Chakrabarti to rally behind liberal candidates in elections, which recruited Ocasio-Cortez and helped her win a seat in Congress.
In 2016 and 2017, both PAC’s raised about $3.3 million in mostly small-dollar donations and funded more than one-third of the money into two private firms that he also owned, Federal Election Commission filings show.
The two private businesses with names nearly identical to the PACs, Brand New Congress LLC and Brand New Campaign LLC controlled by Chakrabarti that, unlike PACs, are exempt from reporting all of their significant expenditures.
Ocasio-Cortez imposed new salary rules when she took office this year, raising the salaries of junior staffers to just over $52,000 a year while Chakarabarti took a massive cut. His salary was less than $126,000 which allowed him to be exempt from having to disclose his outside income.
Before his departure, Chakrabarti stirred up a bevy of controversy by sending out his comments on Democratic leaders, staffers, and aides on Capitol Hill, which reportedly started a clash between Ocasio-Cortez and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
The former chief of staff accused Pelosi of being a weak leader and criticized her for not moving forward with the impeachment process.
“People were not happy that he used his Twitter account to comment about members and the bills that he and his boss oppose,” a senior House Democratic staffer told the New York Post. “There was a series of colliding and cascading grievances.”