It was revealed in recent weeks that Democrat New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, along with her chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti, were listed as board members of a political action committee (PAC) that played a key role in the congresswoman’s 2018 campaign and subsequent election.
In the wake of that potentially damning revelation, reports indicate that both Ocasio-Cortez and Chakrabarti have been quietly removed from the board of the Justice Democrats PAC.
The congresswoman and her chief of staff were officially removed as board members of Justice Democrats as evidenced by a filing with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) made on March 15.
Up until just one day prior, both individuals were listed as an “entity governor” for the PAC, despite earlier claims from the group that Ocasio-Cortez was removed from the board in June 2018.
Both Ocasio-Cortez and Chakrabarti — who was the candidate’s campaign manager during the recent election — joined the board of Justice Democrats in Dec. 2017 as members who held “legal control over the entity” at the same time that the PAC played an integral role in helping Ocasio-Cortez get elected.
According to the filing with the DCRA, the Justice Democrats board spots vacated by Ocasio-Cortez and Chakrabarti were filled by two other individuals with close ties to the congresswoman, Alexandra Rojas and Demond Drummer.
Rojas, who has taken over for Chakrabarti as executive director of the PAC, served as the PAC’s campaign director at the same time that she also served as a field organizer for Ocasio-Cortez’s congressional campaign.
Drummer is the executive director of a non-profit organization known as New Consensus, which has been credited with playing a significant role in the crafting of the Green New Deal resolution that has been touted by the freshman congresswoman.
It is worth noting that the PAC did not respond to requests for comment as to why it took eight months to officially remove Ocasio-Cortez from the board, even though claims were previously made that the change went into effect last summer.
Potentially “massive” FEC violations
Similarly, there has been no explanation as to why the close and questionable affiliation between the campaign and PAC was never properly disclosed to the Federal Election Commission, a link that may very well violate campaign finance laws.
In fact, former FEC commissioner Brad Smith suggested that, if properly established by investigators, the undisclosed affiliation could represent “massive reporting violations” and result in jail time for those involved. Another former FEC commissioner, Hans von Spakovsky, said there appeared to be ample evidence to justify a “criminal investigation” of the arrangement between the two entities.
It remains unclear whether anything will ultimatley come of these potential violations, or if a official investigation will even ensue, but from the outisde looking in, the close affiliation of the campaign and PAC appears suspect indeed and well worth a closer examination, regardless of any last minute attempts to retroactively cover incriminating tracks.