AOC is having a terrible month

AOC is having a terrible month
© Greg Nash

It has not been a good month for the unofficial “boss” of the Democratic Party, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezMichael Steele: A missed opportunity at holding banks accountable House Dem dismisses impeachment push: 'I'd rather defeat' Trump at ballot box Tlaib rallies in support of Green New Deal at Detroit town hall MORE of New York, also known as AOC. She had to deflect criticism of her repeated failures to live up to the ideals she wishes to impose on the rest of the country, something she has had extensive practice at during her short time in Congress. After she was photographed eating dinner with an aide who was chowing down on a burger two weeks ago, for instance, PETA sent her a chiding letter that asked her to push “vegan food policies”as part of her Green New Deal.

An initial outline of the Green New Deal, laid out its ambition to “get rid of farting cows,” compelling the freshman lawmaker to publicly insist that she does not intend to “force everybody to go vegan or anything crazy like that.” That walk back apparently did not sit well with PETA, which later asked her to update the Green New Deal with a plan to bring about the “transition from meat, egg, and dairy farming to plant based agriculture.”

ADVERTISEMENT

A few days later, Ocasio-Cortez was spotted leaving a parade in Queens in a hired minivan that averages just 17 miles per gallon, despite the fact that she was mere blocks from a subway station. The timing was inconvenient for Ocasio-Cortez, coming after the New York Post revealed her campaign had spent more than $30,000 on Ubers and taxis. Note for the record that the Green New Deal envisions phasing out gasoline powered vehicles for fresh electric cars and high speed rail.

Things quickly escalated from embarrassing to incriminating, however, when evidence emerged that Ocasio-Cortez and her campaign manager and now chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti might have flagrantly violated campaign finance laws. The Federal Election Commission complaint has alleged that Ocasio-Cortez and Chakrabarti transferred $885,000 from two political action committees to private companies, possibly as part of a scheme to dodge legal requirements to report campaign expenditures.

“These are not minor or technical violations. We are talking about real money here,”said Tom Anderson, a senior official at the organization that filed the complaint against Ocasio-Cortez. He said that in all his years of studying Federal Election Commission reports, he has never seen a “more ambitious operation to circumvent reporting requirements.”He went on that Ocasio-Cortez has publicly condemned dark money but that her own campaign had gone to “great lengths to avoid the sunlight of disclosure.”

While running afoul of her fellow environmental extremists by condoning her own staff eating burgers and being chauffeured around New York in a gasoline guzzling minivan was merely discomfiting, Ocasio-Cortez could be facing major fines, and potentially even jail time, if she knowingly and willfully violated federal laws with these campaign finance shenanigans.

It is one thing to be hypocritical about your radical agenda. It is quite another to allegedly break federal laws in an effort to conceal campaign expenditures. Ironically, her party is gearing up to investigate the absurd allegations of campaign violations by President TrumpDonald John TrumpThorny part of obstruction of justice is proving intent, that's a job for Congress Obama condemns attacks in Sri Lanka as 'an attack on humanity' Schiff rips Conway's 'display of alternative facts' on Russian election interference MORE that were recently revived by disgraced former attorney Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenEnd of Mueller shifts focus to existing probes Democrats renew attacks on Trump attorney general The Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems face tricky balancing act after Mueller report MORE. Indeed, this will be a classic “pot meet kettle” scenario if Democratic leaders neglect to apply the same scrutiny to the similarly serious charges against Ocasio-Cortez.

Will Democrats investigate their own? Or will they mimic the hypocrisy of Ocasio-Cortez by simply turning blind eyes to her apparent wrongdoing?

Madison Gesiotto is an attorney and a commentator who serves with the advisory board of the Donald Trump campaign. She was an inauguration spokesperson and former Miss Ohio. She is on Twitter @MadisonGesiotto.