Ocasio-Cortez hits House Democratic campaign arm after Pelosi endorses Kennedy

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezLawmakers fear voter backlash over failure to reach COVID-19 relief deal Why Democrats must confront extreme left wing incitement to violence The Hill Interview: Jerry Brown on climate disasters, COVID-19 and Biden's 'Rooseveltian moment' MORE (D-N.Y.) hit the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) on Thursday over its policy to blacklist firms that work with candidates challenging Democratic incumbents in primaries. 

Her criticism came a short time after Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi: Ginsburg successor must uphold commitment to 'equality, opportunity and justice for all' Bipartisan praise pours in after Ginsburg's death Pelosi orders Capitol flags at half-staff to honor Ginsburg MORE (D-Calif.) endorsed Rep. Joe KennedyJoseph (Joe) Patrick KennedyMassachusetts town clerk resigns after delays to primary vote count Bogeymen of the far left deserve a place in any Biden administration Hillicon Valley: Election officials prepare for new Russian interference battle | 'Markeyverse' of online fans helps take down a Kennedy | GOP senators unveil bill to update tech liability protections MORE III’s (D-Mass.) Senate bid. 

The policy, announced by the Democratic campaign arm earlier this year, blacklists any consulting firms that choose to work with primary challengers. The DCCC at the time told The Hill that the policy is meant to protect incumbents from outside challenges. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Ocasio-Cortez, a progressive, has criticized the DCCC’s policy before, saying the House Democratic campaign arm is “cherry-picking” regarding its enforcement of the policy and suggested it’s only enforced to limit progressive challengers. 

“No one gets to complain about primary challenges again,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted Thursday, in response to news of Pelosi endorsing Kennedy against incumbent Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyDemocratic senator calls for eliminating filibuster, expanding Supreme Court if GOP fills vacancy McConnell says Trump nominee to replace Ginsburg will get Senate vote Massachusetts town clerk resigns after delays to primary vote count MORE (D-Mass.). 

“So @dccc, when can we expect you to reverse your blacklist policy against primary orgs? Because between this & lack of care around @IlhanMN’s challenger, it seems like less a policy and more a cherry-picking activity,” Ocasio-Cortez added, referring to primary challenge against progressive Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarDemocrats scramble on COVID-19 relief amid division, Trump surprise Larry Kudlow defends response to coronavirus: Trump 'led wisely' The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by National Industries for the Blind - Woodward book revelations rock Washington MORE (D-Minn.). 

Omar defeated her primary challenger, Antone Melton-Meaux, earlier this month. But her challenger had locked down several notable endorsements and had raised $3.2 million. 

“Ilhan’s multimillion challenge was bankrolled by DC lobbyists & dark money groups,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “He blatantly admitted to using shell corporations to get around the DCCC blacklist, which all but means his vendors work w/ the Democratic Party. Yet DCCC hasn’t enforced policy. I wonder why”

ADVERTISEMENT

The DCCC declined to comment in response to Ocasio-Cortez’s Thursday tweet. 

In response to the pushback following Pelosi's endorsement, her spokesman Drew Hammill noted Pelosi's "consistent" support for House Democrats. 
 
“The Speaker has been consistent in her support for House Democrats — for their re-election efforts and for their bids for higher office, including Congressman Joe Kennedy for Senate," Hammill said in a statement. 
 
Pelosi's office also noted that the speaker endorsed Ocasio-Cortez and Omar in their recent primary races. 

The DCCC previously said it had offered support to all incumbents, including Ocasio-Cortez and other progressives who unseated incumbents in 2018. 

“We stand by all of our incumbents and will continue working with our members to ensure that we protect and expand the House majority in 2020,” DCCC spokesperson Robyn Patterson said in a statement to HuffPost in April.

ADVERTISEMENT

The DCCC policy also appeared to have an impact on Melton-Meaux's race against Omar. New Blue Interactive, a digital consulting firm founded by a former managing director of the DCCC, canceled its contract with Melton-Meaux and refunded the candidate’s money when it realized it had gone against the DCCC’s new rules, HuffPost reported.

Pelosi announced Thursday she is endorsing Kennedy in his challenge against Markey. Ocasio-Cortez has backed Markey’s reelection campaign. 

Justice Democrats, a progressive PAC, slammed Pelosi over her decision to endorse Kennedy after the group said she “stood by the DCCC’s policy” to blacklist firms that worked on primary challenges. 

“This move reeks of hypocrisy: the party is setting one standard for progressives and one entirely different standard for the establishment,” Justice Democrats Executive Director Alexandra Rojas said in a statement.

This story was updated at 10:22 a.m. August 21.