Three Democrats and their Financial Fumbles

Three Democrats and their Financial Fumbles

Three Democrats and their Financial Fumbles

AOC and Beto may be the new pups in the Democrat party, but they are learning tricks from that old dog Bernie. Questionable use of their positions for personal gain while protesting against the wealthy, unscrupulous oppressors tie these three democrats together.

Sitting on Buried Cash

An FCC complaint filed yesterday by Dan Backer, on behalf of the Coolidge Regan Foundation, alleges AOC and her campaign manager, Saikat Chakrabarti, operated a “shadowy web” of PAC’s that ran contrary to campaign finance laws. They formed multiple political action committees (PACs), allowing them to raise cash above what they could have legally raised. It also alleges that a limited liability company (LLC) was created to avoid federal expenditure requirements. The LLC offered AOC and other Democrat candidates political consulting services below market rates.

The millennial darling duo is accused of creating an enterprise funded by others, to overly benefit her campaign? Possibly violating the regulations required of everyone else? Wow, I guess she is a Socialist!

Then again, in her own words from Austin’s SXSW stage, she ought to make sure the stones don’t hit her own glass house.

Capitalism, to me, is an ideology of capital. The most important thing is the concentration of capital, and it means that we seek and prioritize profit and the accumulation of money above all else, and we seek it at any human and environmental cost… But when we talk about ideas for example like democratic socialism, it means putting democracy and society first, instead of capital first.”

Excuse me?! A self described Socialist who makes public proclamations about how Capitalism is bad for the average American, stands accused of campaign finance violations. Despite claims of being a different candidate, and wanting to build a better future, she looks like politicians before her.

On her way to a House Financial Services Committee meeting when asked by Fox News to comment, she stated: “I mean, it’s conservative interest groups just filing bogus proposals.”

This sounds a lot like Hillary’s 1990’s “Vast Right Wing Conspiracy” mantra.

Unfortunately for AOC, this is the second filing that questions her team’s  “unorthodox” approach to campaign finance vehicles. As reported by Fox News last month’s NLPC FEC complaint alleges

that [campaign manager] 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 similar phrasing is used in both complaints, there are two on file awaiting a reply from the FEC. Unfortunately the commission, normally staffed by 6, is short staffed by two people. It may be months before the committee votes to continue the process. Meanwhile, Backer said he expected the gridlock at the FEC and planned to sue if his complaints sit for 120 days and litigation is allowed under law.

Only time will tell how well AOC’s backhanded smack down of “dark money” and unchecked political power ages.


“Beto for Texas”…More Like Beto for Beto

It’s not unusual for politicians to pay for services provided by friends or family. Even from businesses they own. They are required to pay what is considered fair market value, not overpay or (like the accusation against AOC) underpay. However, when running a campaign as a “better candidate”, who was “born for this” the optics are really important. When the candidate pays a company owned by his immediate family over $110,000 in campaign funds for web development and social media management, it looks bad.

According to Federal Election Commission (FEC) records reviewed by The Daily Caller News Foundation “Beto for Texas” paid Stanton Street Technology Group $58,544 during the 2011-12 election cycle, $39,060 during the 2013-14 cycle, $9,290 in the 2015-16 cycle and $32,778 during the 2017-18 cycle. Beto’s wife, Amy, took over Stanton Street from the Texas Democrat when he entered Congress in January 2013. She controlled it until early 2017. She sold her stake in the company on March 31, 2017, according to Beto O’Rourke’s 2017 year-end financial disclosure report. He listed the sale value in the $100,001 to $1 million range.

Not a bad profit. Somewhere between $100,000 and $1,000,000. Notwithstanding the $100,000 from Beto for Texas.

The company remains in business, and understandably has a nice web design. So professional that I was surprised they didn’t list any work for Beto’s campaign. Go figure.

Unfortunately for Beto the campaign expenses to his business are not the only questions from his past. According to The Daily Caller,

He faced scrutiny in 2013 after purchasing Twitter stock before it was available to the general public, which ethics watchdogs said was a violation of House rules.

Beto faced backlash from local El Paso residents after supporting a development project that converted housing for low-income residents into a retail destination — an endeavor proposed by his wealthy father-in-law.”

Why are these young Democrats following the lead from their senior counterparts? Especially when they are trying to highlight how they are different from the old dogs.

Feeling the Bern

The acceptance we have for politicians with low ethics is pathetic. When a politician comes along who has previously been considered above the corruption, even the most hardened opposition voter has reason to celebrate. Unfortunately, those promises are seldom realized.

Bernie Sanders came hard and fast onto the Presidential stage. Despite his long career in congress, he was always considered a bumbling afterthought in the Democrat party. He was on the edge of where the party had been in the past. Somewhere the center shifted and the presumptive nominee found herself in the fight of her career for a nomination she assumed was an easy win. His bumbling style was charming to the youthful voter. His steadfast loyalty to the Socialist mantra was appealing to a generation growing up during the recession. He was by all appearances someone who actually lived what he preached. A stark contrast to Hillary, who found truth a relative concept.

Then it happened. He campaigned on an anti-corruption platform, decrying public officials’ attempts to use their positions for personal financial gain.

The scrutiny of bumbling Bernie showed that even the most unassuming of Socialists was susceptible to family enrichment.

According to Jane O’Meara Sanders, the senator’s wife, Sanders’ House campaigns paid her more than $90,000 for consulting and ad placement services from 2002 to 2004. She pocketed about $30,000 of that money.”

Even his step-daughter found financial gain during his campaigns

Her daughter Carina Driscoll, Sanders’ stepdaughter, also drew a salary from the campaign. She was paid more than $65,000 between 2000 and 2004.”

Lest we forget how family is enriched by political connections, it was Jane’s daughter who ran the Vermont Woodworking School. Burlington College, overseen by Jane Sanders  eventually paid Carina’s school more than $500,000 for classes at its Fairfax, Vt., campus. Ultimately, Jane Sanders would leave her position as College President under a cloud of financial failure. The Burlington College would later close.

The Incessant Yapping

AOC and her ilk are demanding the release of Trumps taxes. Meanwhile, they seem to have overlooked that the old dog Bernie never submitted the required financial disclosure forms for the 2016 Presidential campaign. He filed for multiple extensions, seeing him through the Democratic primary. He lost to Hillary, and never disclosed his financial position. The filing required by congress is a huge range and gives no accurate picture of financial worth.

With the potential of becoming the 2020 Democrat nominee Sanders will have to provide the financial information required to run for President. His 3 houses, and annual earnings place him in the top 1% of all Americans, and even higher amongst Socialists. It will be awesome watching the avowed Socialist and anti-corruption activist explain his increased wealth. The true believers do not care. The rest of us will enjoy watching the old dog squirm.

America has no shortage of politicians who are very happy to reap financial gain from their positions. The difference here is that these three are building careers on their virtue and ability to rise above the financial fray. If the investigation into AOC continues, and the media does its job of looking beyond Beto’s charm, they may find that the new pups are more like the old dog than they care to admit.

Edit 4/4/19 1745: This author incorrectly listed Dan Backer as working for the National Law and Policy Center. The article has been updated to reflect his work with the Coolidge Regan Foundation. The NLPC independently  filed additional separate complaints against AOC.

Thank you and welcome Instapundit readers!


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  • gnome says:

    We’ll see how they like it in their glass houses now that the noose is on the other foot!

  • Bevo Francis says:

    Sadly, I am not sure at all that we have any (left or right) honest people working in government today. Even worse far too many citizens and illegal invaders are always and only interested in what they can gain for themselves.

    We continue to see again and again legislation designed to make life easy for the political class. Most recently there is a proposal to use public finds to pay those who have been hurt in some way by politicians and/or government persons.

    Are you kidding me? Why should we not make the attacker pay from their own funds? This is another variation of the scam the House has been using when making “payoffs” in secret with zero transparency for the taxpayers. How much more corrupt can the politicians get before the revolution starts?

  • Skillyboo says:

    Once again we have another story about an ‘alleged’ illegality by a democrat and, once again, we have another ho hum. Almost daily we read about a broken law and nothing never, ever. No indictment not even an investigation. And we’re supposed to get riled up but, instead, we are becoming more apathetic to all this because of obvious double standards the democrat, and sometimes republican, political class enjoy.

  • Bandit says:

    They’re Dems – it’s not like there are going to be any actual consequences

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