The Coolidge Reagan Foundation, a conservative activist group, filed a Federal Election Commission (FEC) complaint against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) after payments to her boyfriend, Riley Roberts, were made from a political action committee (PAC) managed by her chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti.
According to the complaint obtained by Fox News, the Coolidge Reagan Foundation believes that the process by which the money was transferred to Roberts breached the current regulations specified by the FEC.
As IJR previously reported, Luke Thompson, a Republican strategist, uncovered a series of payments between Chakrabarti and Roberts. Chakrabarti ran Brand New Congress, LLC, as well as the Brand New Congress PAC.
Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign paid Chakrabarti through the LLC for his work in managing the campaign. Within two months, the LLC received $6,191.32 from Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign, and Chakrabarti’s PAC cut two checks to Roberts, totaling $6,000.
Thompson alleges that this was an indirect payment from Ocasio-Cortez to her boyfriend.
As IJR previously reported, Chakrabarti denied that anything nefarious occurred with the payments. He claims that the money between the LLC and the PAC is not connected and that he only hired Roberts because he’s good at his job.
The congresswoman claimed that it was just a conspiracy and that no rules were breached.
The conspiracy machine is in full effect & it’s been disappointing to watch professionals get duped + amplify unvetted Medium posts as truth, treating journalism like it’s a high school Livejournal rumor mill or something.
No, I don’t shadily pay my boyfriend. Come on & VET. ⬇️ https://t.co/EY28Elj6aG
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 21, 2019
The Coolidge Reagan Foundation does not think the excuses given by Ocasio-Cortez and Chakrabarti are enough to justify the payments, which is why it filed the complaint.
Ocasio Cortez Complaint by on Scribd
The timing and amounts of these transactions, the use of two affiliated entities as intermediaries, the vague and amorphous nature of the services Riley ostensibly provided, the magnitude of these transactions compared to both the limited funds the campaign had raised at the time and the total amount of its expenditures, and the romantic relationship between Ocasio-Cortez and Riley collectively establish reason to believe these transactions may have violated campaign finance law.
The Coolidge Reagan Foundation asked that the FEC fully investigate the financial exchanges between Chakrabarti, Roberts, and Ocasio-Cortez to see if there were any illegal transactions.
As IJR reported earlier, Chakrabarti is also involved in a scandal about his personal salary as chief of staff for Ocasio-Cortez’s congressional office. He is currently being paid well below the average salary for a chief of staff, which allows him to avoid disclosing his personal finances.