So how are the Fab Four doing?
I’m referring, of course, to the freshman quartet of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley — otherwise known as the “Squad.”
Well — as it turns out — after less than a year in office, 3/4 of the Quad Squad is under investigation for financial misconduct.
Let’s start with Public Enemy #1 to every cowfart in America, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
In April, a complaint was submitted concerning her control over political PAC Justice Democrats — the organization largely responsible for her 2018 campaign.
As observed by The Daily Caller, in December 2017, she and former champaign chairman Saikat Chakrabarti were provided two of the group’s three board seats. The organization’s official website indicated this gave them “legal control over the entity.”
But the FEC was never notified of the ties between Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign and JD.
Hence, the possibility of civil or criminal penalties.
From former FEC Chair Brad Smith:
“At minimum, there’s a lot of smoke there, and if there are really only three board members and she and [Chakrabarti] are two of them, sure looks like you can see the blaze.”
If fact, she could be looking at time behind bars:
“If this were determined to be knowing and willful, they could be facing jail time. Even if it’s not knowing and willful, it would be a clear civil violation of the act. … I think they’ve got some real issues here.”
Additionally, in March, a complaint alleged Saikat had put the “fun” in “funneling”: He’d transferred over $1 million in election donations to his private companies.
More, from The Washington Examiner courtesy of my coverage:
Chakrabarti’s companies appear to have been set up for the sole purpose of obscuring how the political donations were used. The arrangement skirted reporting requirements and may have violated the $5,000 limit on contributions from federal PACs to candidates, according to the complaint filed by the National Legal and Policy Center, a government watchdog group.
And there was more, as I noted at the time:
This follows another recent complaint made with the FEC claiming AOC’s boyfriend, Riley Roberts, was paid thousands of dollars through a PAC scheme (read more here).
As pointed out by the Examiner, cash payments through PACs diametrically oppose Alexandria’s stance against political “dark money” in favor of transparency.
Moving on to Ilhan Omar, she’s alleged to have abused campaign funds before her congressional campaign even began.
From The Daily Caller:
Minnesota’s Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board ordered Omar in June to repay her state campaign $3,500 it had improperly spent for non-campaign purposes in 2016 and 2017 during her tenure as a state legislator. Omar was also required to pay a $500 civil penalty for using campaign funds to travel to a non-campaign related conference in Florida.
Reports surfaced in August that Omar was having an affair with married Democratic consultant Tim Mynett, according to a divorce filing by his wife, Dr. Beth Jordan Mynett.
FEC records revealed that Omar’s campaign had disbursed tens of thousands of dollars in “travel expenses” to Tim Mynett’s company, E. Street Group, LLC.
Those travel payments started on April 1st — approximately one week before Tim’s wife claimed in divorce documents that Tim had admitted to the affair.
From the filing:
“[Tim’s] more recent travel and long work hours now appear to be more related to his affair with Rep. Omar than with his actual work commitments.”
The result: The National Legal and Policy Center’s FEC notice accusing Ilhan of using campaign funds to finance a romantic affair.
In the words of the Center’s Director Tom Anderson:
“We believe Representative Ilhan Omar may have touched the third rail of campaign finance law: disbursing campaign funds for personal use. It’s a brazen act Representative Omar was caught doing before in Minnesota and all of the evidence we’ve seen tells us she’s probably doing it again.”
Also curious: According to an FEC submission, the Omar campaign increased their payments to Tim’s firm in the third quarter of 2019.
About 30% of Omar’s campaign spending from July through September went to his firm. In total, Omar’s campaign has disbursed $370,000 to Tim Mynett’s firm.
Last but not least, in November, the Office of Congressional Ethics voted to recommend a continued investigation into Rashida Tlaib over charges that she wrongly stuffed campaign funds into her pants pocket.
As per House rules, a candidate may be paid a salary from their campaign as high as their earnings the previous year — only until the date of their election.
However, Rashida took in $17,500 more after the November victory.
OCE explained it this way:
If Rep. Tlaib converted campaign funds from Rashida Tlaib for Congress to personal use, or if Rep. Tlaib’s campaign committee expended funds that were not attributable to bona fide campaign or political purposes, then Rep. Tlaib may have violated House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law.
So there ya go — a little profile of progress. It sounds as though the ladies are settling into Washington nicely.
Have CNN, MSNBC, and TV’s other talkers been interested in any of this? It doesn’t seem so.
The Fab Four aren’t the Beatles, but whatever they may get into, the media seem ready to Let It Be.
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