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Ocasio-Cortez hit with new ethics complaint over boyfriend’s email account

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Ocasio-Cortez hit with new ethics complaint over boyfriend's email account

EXCLUSIVE — A conservative group that filed a complaint with the FEC alleging Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign may have illegally funneled thousands of dollars through an allied PAC to boyfriend Riley Roberts on Thursday lodged a fresh complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics.

The new filing also concerns the famous congresswoman’s boyfriend, but focuses on his use of a congressional email account.

PAC TIED TO AOC PAID BOYFRIEND FOR MARKETING WORK

The Coolidge Reagan Foundation, a political nonprofit, alleges in the complaint that the New York Democratic lawmaker used her newly found congressional privileges in an unethical manner when she set up the House email address for Roberts.

“This Complaint alleges Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez improperly converted U.S. House resources to her non-official, personal use by obtaining an official ‘@mail.house.gov’ e-mail address for her boyfriend, despite the fact he was not employed by her congressional office,” reads a line from the complaint obtained by Fox News.

“Moreover, it appears she obtained the e-mail address for him by falsely designating him a ‘staff’ member.”

Attorneys for the foundation allege that Ocasio-Cortez violated restrictions on personal use of House services and equipment—as outlined in the House Ethics Manual. They maintain that the provision of an official House-based email address for Roberts is a violation of rules that prevent outside individuals from having an official account.

“To my surprise, no one else had acted on this information,” foundation attorney Dan Backer told Fox News, “and while media coverage of misconduct is good, [Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] has to be held accountable.”

“On this matter, only OCE [Office of Congressional Ethics] has the investigative authority to do so.”

Officials for Ocasio-Cortez’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but the congresswoman made public statements last month when news of Roberts’ email account surfaced saying the account was given so he could have access to her calendar.

“Congressional spouses get Gcal access all the time. Next time check your facts before you tweet nonsense,” she tweeted.

Asked about the arrangement last month, David O’Boyle, the spokesperson for the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer, told Fox News: “From time to time, at the request of members, spouses and partners are provided House email accounts for the purposes of viewing the member’s calendar.”

But Jason Chaffetz, former GOP chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said Ocasio-Cortez’ claims don’t stack up.

“It’s totally naïve and inappropriate – you wouldn’t allow it in most companies, let alone the House of Representatives. There should be real consequences,” Chaffetz told Fox News.

The newly filed complaint is the latest to question the operations of Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign and congressional office.

It was first reported last month that the allied Brand New Congress PAC paid Roberts during the early days of the Ocasio-Cortez campaign. According to FEC records, the PAC made two payments to Roberts – one in August 2017 and one in September 2017 – both for $3,000.

A week later, the Coolidge Reagan Foundation filed its first complaint with the Federal Election Commission, requesting that the agency look into the payments for potential violations on relevant campaign finance laws that state that campaign contributions “shall not be converted by any person to personal use” and that “an authorized committee must report the name and address of each person who has received any disbursement not disclosed.”

File photo - Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., arrives for a House Democratic Caucus meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019.

File photo – Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., arrives for a House Democratic Caucus meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019.
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The FEC complaint specifically cites the use of “intermediaries” to make the payments, “the vague and amorphous nature of the services Riley ostensibly provided,” the relatively small amount of money raised by the campaign at that stage and “the romantic relationship between Ocasio-Cortez and Riley” in asserting the transactions might violate campaign finance law.

“It’s not illegal for [Ocasio-Cortez] to pay her boyfriend, but it appears that they created some sort of scheme to avoid claiming the money [as a campaign expense],” Backer told Fox News at the time. “What exactly did he do for that money?”

A separate complaint was filed with the FEC from another group alleging that the congresswoman and Saikat Chakrabarti, her chief of staff, apparently violated campaign finance law by funneling nearly $1 million in contributions from political action committees Chakrabarti established to private companies that he also controlled.

The FEC complaint asserts that Chakrabarti established two PACs, the Brand New Congress PAC and Justice Democrats PAC, and then systematically transferred more than $885,000 in contributions received by those PACs to the Brand New Campaign LLC and the Brand New Congress LLC — companies that, unlike PACs, are exempt from reporting all of their significant expenditures. The PACs claimed the payments were for “strategic consulting.”

Although large financial transfers from PACs to LLCs are not necessarily improper, the complaint argues that the goal of the “extensive” scheme was seemingly to illegally dodge detailed legal reporting requirements of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, which are designed to track campaign expenditures.

“It appears ‘strategic consulting’ was a mischaracterization of a wide range of activities that should have been reported individually,” the complaint states.

Fox News’ Gregg Re and Lukas Mikelionis contributed to this report

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Bernie Sanders’ hiring of non-American campaign advisers may violate federal election laws, complaint says

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New spokeswoman for Bernie Sanders won't be able to vote for him in 2020 -- she's an illegal immigrant

Bernie Sanders was hit a complaint this week, claiming his presidential campaign violated federal election laws by employing non-Americans in advisery positions.

A new complaint by the Coolidge Reagan Foundation filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) notes that three members of the Sanders campaign are foreign nationals, which appears to be a violation of federal election laws that prohibit foreign interference.

NEW SPOKESWOMAN FOR BERNIE SANDERS WON’T BE ABLE TO VOTE FOR HIM IN 2020 — SHE’S AN ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT

Maria Belén Sisa, Sanders’ deputy national press secretary who joined the campaign last month, was among the staffers named in the complaint, as first reported by the Washington Free Beacon. Sisa claims to be an illegal immigrant whose residency is protected under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an Obama-era program for assisting illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.

Sisa recently caused an uproar after invoking an anti-Semitic “dual allegiance” trope of Jewish Americans while defending Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and questioning whether American Jews, including Sanders, were loyal to the United States.

The complaint notes that Sisa not only got a salary from Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign, she also contributed money to it and is now serving in “an advisory position” in the 2020 campaign – all of which are “direct and serious violations” of federal election laws.

“Senator Sanders and Bernie 2020 is permitting a foreign national, Ms. Sisa, to serve in an advisory position which allows her to directly or indirectly participate in the decision-making process of persons with regard to election-related activities in violation of FEC regulations,” the complaint reads.

“Senator Sanders and Bernie 2020 is permitting a foreign national, Ms. Sisa, to serve in an advisory position which allows her to directly or indirectly participate in the decision-making process of persons with regard to election-related activities in violation of FEC regulations.”

— The complaint

BERNIE SANDERS AIDE DEFENDS OMAR WITH TERM SEEN AS ANTI-SEMITIC, APOLOGIZES

According to the FEC rules, foreign nationals, who aren’t lawfully admitted permanent residents, cannot directly or indirectly participate in political campaigns. Such individuals are also barred from making political contributions.

The complaint also names two other foreign nationals on the Sanders’ 2016 campaign, immigration activists Erika Andiola and Cesar Vargas, who worked as the campaign’s national Latino outreach strategist and press secretary for Latino outreach, respectively.

“Due to the high profile of Cesar Vargas, Erika Andiola, and Maria Belén Sisa as leading activists in the undocumented community, there is reason to believe that respondents are ‘foreign nationals’ within the meaning of 52 U.S.C. § 301219b)(2), and in violation of 11 C.F.R. § 110.20 (i) and A.O. 2004-26, directly or indirectly participated in the decision-making process of persons with regard to the election-related activities of Bernie 2016,” the complaint continued.

“There is reason to believe, having previously employed Ms. Sisa, that Bernie 2020 is currently, and knowingly, permitting a ‘foreign national’ … to directly or indirectly participate in the decision-making process of persons with regard to the election-related activities of Bernie 2020.”

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The complaint calls on the FEC to investigate both the 2016 and the current presidential campaigns and take action to curb the violations.

“The Commission should determine and impose appropriate sanctions for any and all violations,” the complaint read. “Further, the Commission should enjoin respondents from any future violations and impose any necessary and appropriate remedies to ensure respondents’ future compliance with the Federal Election Campaign Act.”

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Democrats vow to keep investigating Trump despite Mueller's conclusions, no new indictments

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Congressional Democrats vowed Friday to keep investigating President Trump, his family, and associates despite Special Counsel Robert Mueller wrapping up his Russia investigation with no new indictments.

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‘There needs to be a reckoning’ for those who spread Russia collusion narrative: Mollie Hemingway

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MSNBC’s Chris Matthews livid over Mueller report: ‘How could they let Trump off the hook?’

Those who spent the last two years pushing the narrative that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential election need to be held accountable, the Federalist senior editor Mollie Hemingway argued Friday.

Earlier in the day, the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller handed in its report on the Russia investigation to the Department of Justice and it was announced that no new indictments would be forthcoming.

During Friday’s All-Star panel segment on Fox News’ “Special Report with Bret Baier,” Hemingway — along with Washington Free Beacon editor-in-chief Matthew Continetti and Reuters White House correspondent Jeff Mason — weighed in on the breaking news that reverberated throughout Washington.

MUELLER SUBMITS LONG-AWAITED RUSSIA PROBE REPORT TO JUSTICE DEPARTMENT

Hemingway began by noting that the “Russia narrative” predates the Mueller probe, having begun circulating during the 2016 election after the creation of the infamous Clinton campaign-funded Steele dossier, which pushed the theory that then-Republican candidate Donald Trump was a “Russian agent.”

“We have, for the last three years … frequently [witnessed] hysteria about treasonous collusion with Russia to steal the 2016 election,” Hemingway told the panel. “The fact [is] that there are no more indictments coming and the fact [is] that all of the indictments that we’ve seen thus far have been for process crimes or things unrelated to what we were told by so many people in the media was ‘treasonous collusion’ to steal the 2016 election.”

“If there is nothing there that matches what we’ve heard from the media for many years, there needs to be a reckoning and the people who spread this theory both inside and outside the government who were not critical and who did not behave appropriately need to be held accountable,” she added.

“The people who spread this theory both inside and outside the government … and who did not behave appropriately need to be held accountable.”

— Mollie Hemingway, senior editor, the Federalist

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Mason told the panel that there’s likely “some relief” in the White House, particularly from Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and top adviser. And while he insisted it was “too early” to draw major conclusions, he later added that those who attacked Mueller’s credibility throughout his investigation will have to walk back their hostility if he concludes that there was no collusion, including President Trump.

Meanwhile, Continetti suggested that the Mueller report could be the “greatest anticlimax in American history,” and that the entire investigation could be “for nothing” because it was “an investigation without a crime.” He did, however, insist that the “battle will continue” as the White House will fight Congress on transparency of the Mueller findings.

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