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2020 presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday defended his stance for granting voting rights to criminals in prison, including the Boston Marathon bomber and convicted sexual assaulters.

During a CNN town hall on Monday night, Harvard student Anne Carlstein asked if his position would support “enfranchising people” like Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who she noted is a “convicted terrorist and murderer,” as well as those “convicted of sexual assault,” whose votes could have a “direct impact on women’s rights.”

Sanders first responded by saying he wanted a “vibrant democracy” with “higher voter turnout” and blasted “cowardly Republican governors” who he said were “trying to suppress the vote.”

The Vermont senator then argued that the Constitution says “everybody can vote” and that “some people in jail can vote.”

5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT SEN. BERNIE SANDERS

“If somebody commits a serious crime- sexual assault, murder, they’re gonna be punished. They may be in jail for 10 years, 20 years, 50 years, their whole lives. That’s what happens when you commit a serious crime,” Sanders elaborated.

“But, I think the right to vote is inherent to our democracy. Yes, even for terrible people, because once you start chipping away and you say, ‘That guy committed a terrible crime, not gonna let him vote. Well, that person did that. Not gonna let that person vote,’ you’re running down a slippery slope. So, I believe that people who commit crimes, they pay the price. When they get out of jail, I believe they certainly should have the right the vote, but I do believe that even if they are in jail, they’re paying their price to society, but that should not take away their inherent American right to participate in our democracy.”

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CNN anchor Chris Cuomo pressed the Democrats’ frontrunner, asking him if he was “sure about that” since he effectively was “writing an opposition ad.” Sanders dismissed such concerns, saying he’d written “many 30-second opposition ads” throughout his life.

“This is what I believe. Do you believe in democracy? Do you believe that every single American 18 years of age or older who is an American citizen has the right to vote?” Sanders continued. “This is a democracy. We’ve got to expand that democracy and I believe that every single person does have the right to vote.”

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2020 presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., saw a couple of viral moments during a televised town hall on Monday night.

The first: what critics and analysts have called her “please clap” moment. Klobuchar was boasting that in each of her elections she won every congressional district in her state, including that of former Rep. Michele Bachmann, a Republican.

After the audience didn’t react to her victories, Klobuchar gave them permission to be excited.

“It’s when you guys are supposed to cheer, okay?” Klobuchar grinned, which prompted applause and some laughter.

Many on social media have drawn comparisons to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who famously told a town hall crowd to “please clap” on the campaign trail during the 2016 election.

STIREWALT: TRUMP SUPPORTERS UNFAZED BY MUELLER REPORT RELEASE

Later on, the Minnesota Democrat had an awkward encounter with CNN anchor and town hall moderator Chris Cuomo.

While discussing how to address climate change with rural voters, Klobuchar stressed how important it was and told Cuomo that she wanted to “finish” her thought before he interrupted.

She then, however, felt a little creeped out by Cuomo’s presence.

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“I feel you creeping over my shoulder,” Klobuchar told the CNN anchor. She jokingly clarified, “not in a Trumpian manner.”

Klobuchar was referring to the second presidential debate in 2016. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton later accused then-candidate Donald Trump of being a “creep” for approaching behind her on the debate stage and claimed her “skin crawled” in her memoir, “What Happened.”

Source: Fox News Politics

2020 presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., saw a couple of viral moments during a televised town hall on Monday night.

The first: what critics and analysts have called her “please clap” moment. Klobuchar was boasting that in each of her elections she won every congressional district in her state, including that of former Rep. Michele Bachmann, a Republican.

After the audience didn’t react to her victories, Klobuchar gave them permission to be excited.

“It’s when you guys are supposed to cheer, okay?” Klobuchar grinned, which prompted applause and some laughter.

Many on social media have drawn comparisons to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who famously told a town hall crowd to “please clap” on the campaign trail during the 2016 election.

STIREWALT: TRUMP SUPPORTERS UNFAZED BY MUELLER REPORT RELEASE

Later on, the Minnesota Democrat had an awkward encounter with CNN anchor and town hall moderator Chris Cuomo.

While discussing how to address climate change with rural voters, Klobuchar stressed how important it was and told Cuomo that she wanted to “finish” her thought before he interrupted.

She then, however, felt a little creeped out by Cuomo’s presence.

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“I feel you creeping over my shoulder,” Klobuchar told the CNN anchor. She jokingly clarified, “not in a Trumpian manner.”

Klobuchar was referring to the second presidential debate in 2016. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton later accused then-candidate Donald Trump of being a “creep” for approaching behind her on the debate stage and claimed her “skin crawled” in her memoir, “What Happened.”

Source: Fox News Politics

An expansive network of “shadowy” dark money donors has grown to rival the influence of the conservative Koch brothers — pumping millions into left-wing causes ranging from health care to climate change to abortion — all while flying well under the radar of public scrutiny, according to an explosive new report obtained by Fox News.

The report, by conservative watchdog Capital Research Center, describes a band of nonprofits operating under the banner of Washington-based philanthropy company Arabella Advisors. Those “pop up groups” are housed in four Arabella-controlled “sister” nonprofits, according to the report: the New Venture Fund, Sixteen Thirty Fund, Hopewell Fund and Windward Fund.

EX-CLINTON OFFICIAL LEADS ‘DARK MONEY’ EFFORT TO BOOT KAVANAUGH FROM TEACHING GIG

“Together, these groups form an interlocking network of ‘dark money’ pop-up groups and other fiscally sponsored projects, all afloat in a half-billion-dollar ocean of cash,” the report says. “The real puppeteer, though, is Arabella Advisors, which has managed to largely conceal its role in coordinating so much of the professional Left’s infrastructure under a mask of ‘philanthropy.’”

The report says the “hydra-like” network brought in $1.6 billion between 2013 and 2017 “to advance the political policies desired by wealthy left-wing interests,” as the network’s revenues grew by 392 percent. The four Arabella-controlled “sister” groups brought in $582 million in 2017 alone, according to the report. If the four groups were a single entity, it would make them the 22nd largest public charity in America, with higher revenues than the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Planned Parenthood or the Clinton Foundation.

“The size and scope of the Arabella network of funds demonstrates far more ‘dark money’ exists on the left side of the political spectrum than has been previously admitted,” the report says.

Arabella’s website says the company was founded to “provide strategic guidance for effective philanthropy” and is “dedicated to helping clients make a difference on the issues that matter most to them, from climate to women and girls, education, good food, and more.” All told, the company represents clients with collective assets totaling more than $100 billion.

But the report alleges the group blurs the line between philanthropy and political advocacy on issues such as ObamaCare, gun control, abortion and opposition to the confirmation of now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. And it says that due to the financial arrangements and lack of donor disclosure, “it is impossible to know which organization subsidizes the various campaigns and political movements spawned by Arabella’s funds.”

The company was founded by Eric Kessler, who has worked both in the Clinton administration, where he managed conservation issues, and as a member of the Clinton Global Initiative. He also founded the New Venture Fund and is on the board of the Sixteen Thirty Fund.

Arabella did not respond to a request for comment from Fox News. New Venture Fund President Lee Bodner told Fox News in a statement: “The New Venture Fund is proud of our work supporting charitable projects that improve peoples’ lives across a wide range of issues, funded by a diverse set of donors.”

The report claims the group runs a network of “astroturf” activities including as many as 340 “pop up” groups — which the report says are often little more than websites created to give the appearance of grassroots campaigns. It cites the organization’s activities pushing back against Republican efforts to repeal and replace ObamaCare as an example of its political activism.

“At a glance, these groups — such as Save My Care and Protect Our Care — appeared to be impassioned examples of citizen activists defending ObamaCare,” the report says. “In reality, neither ‘not-for-profit’ advocacy group appears to have paid staff, held board meetings, or even owned so much as a pen.”

Consequently, the report says, the groups can be used to run “short-term, high intensity media campaigns targeting the news cycle” such as during the Kavanaugh confirmation hearing. The report gave the example of activists, led by Demand Justice, waving glossy “Stop Kavanaugh” signs in protest of the conservative nominee’s confirmation.

Demand Justice, led by former Hillary Clinton press secretary Brian Fallon, is very active on judicial issues — and is more than just a website. But the report described the organization as part of the broader network, specifically “a front for the Sixteen Thirty Fund.”

The Sixteen Thirty Fund, according to a July 2018 Politico report, was described as “among the most prolific political advertisers of 2018” and aired 6,885 broadcast TV ads between January and July while spending $4.6 million on TV alone. Politico cited the group as an example of the left embracing the “dark money” tactics it long accused the right of weaponizing.

LIBERAL ‘DARK MONEY’ GROUPS OUTSPENT CONSERVATIVE ONES IN 2018 ELECTIONS

Politico identified 12 groups set up through the Sixteen Thirty Fund on health care alone. By serving as those groups’ “fiscal sponsor,” Sixteen Thirty Fund manages the money and aggregates their financial activities in its tax filings — making it hard to work out how much money was spent by the different groups and where.

The new report says liberal mega-donor George Soros’ Democracy Alliance, for instance, used the Sixteen Thirty Fund and New Venture Fund to host several projects “that didn’t disclose their original funders.” The Capital Research Center report says that Arabella’s nonprofit network allows it to mask the “pop up” groups’ nature, making them seem like the work of “grassroots” activists rather than what it calls “front groups for multi-million-dollar non-profits.”

Conservatives, however, are still spending more “dark money” than liberals in some areas. Vice, citing a study by the Brennan Center for Justice, reported last year that groups supporting Kavanaugh’s confirmation spent at least $7.3 million on TV ads, while those opposing him spent at least $2.9 million.

Democrats and left-wing activists — including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. — have been increasingly vocal in their calls to clamp down and regulate “dark money” in U.S. political activities.

But dark money has had bipartisan beneficiaries.

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A January report from Issue One, a bipartisan advocacy group, shows that liberal groups spent over half of the $150 million of dark money in the latest election. Conservative groups spent a third of the figure, while nonpartisan groups spent just 15 percent.

And Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., recently said that dark money is a problem “on both sides of the aisle,” though he said it “occurs mostly on the Republican side.”

The Capital Research Center report warns: “Before left-of-center activists and politicians demand laws to increase transparency in the funding of campaigns and public policy advocacy, they may first wish to consider voluntarily disclosing their own funding sources.”

Fox News’ Lukas Mikelionis contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld on Monday formally declared his candidacy for White House, setting him off on an extreme uphill climb to defeat incumbent President Donald Trump for the Republican nomination.

“It is time for patriotic men and women across our great nation to stand and plant a flag. It is time to return to the principles of Lincoln – equality, dignity, and opportunity for all. There is no greater cause on earth than to preserve what truly makes America great. I am ready to lead that fight,” said Weld in a statement as he launched his bid to try and topple Trump, who remains very popular with Republicans.

Weld, a very vocal Trump critic, also released a three-minute-long video highlighting his achievements during his two terms as governor of Massachusetts in the 1990s.

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The video also showcased clips of some of Trump’s most controversial moments, from the infamous “Access Hollywood” video of Trump using lewd language to boast of his sexual groping and kissing of women without their consent, to the president’s comments in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, Va., where he said “there were very fine people on both sides” of the clashes between supporters and protesters of the city’s Confederate monuments.

Weld, who recently returned to the Republican Party after serving as the 2016 Libertarian Party nominee, launched a presidential exploratory committee in February.

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At that announcement, as he headlined the “Politics and Eggs” speaking series in New Hampshire, he called Trump “compulsive” and “irrational” and argued that “we have a president whose priorities are skewed toward promoting of himself rather than toward the good of the country.”

He also lamented the state of the GOP, arguing “the president has captured the Republican Party in Washington. Sad. But even sadder is that many Republicans exhibit all the symptoms of Stockholm Syndrome, identifying with their captor.”

After his announcement, Weld visited the first-in-the-nation presidential primary state numerous times. He’s set to return Tuesday for a two-day swing in through New Hampshire.

Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, another vocal Trump critic, has been mulling a GOP primary challenge against Trump. So has Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who heads to New Hampshire next week to headline “Politics and Eggs,” which is a must-stop for White House hopefuls.

The president’s re-election campaign adviser and daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, said the president’s 2020 team hasn’t been worried at all about a Republican primary challenge.

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“I don’t know why someone would be dumb enough to challenge Donald Trump,” she told Fox News recently when asked about Weld.

“I don’t know why anybody would waste their time and money on the Republican end trying to challenge the president. We’re not worried about that at all,” added Trump, who was interviewed before headlining the New Hampshire GOP’s annual fundraising gala.

Source: Fox News Politics

All candidates running for president in 2020 have until Monday evening to file their full first-quarter fundraising reports to the Federal Election Commission. The following are the first-quarter fundraising totals available for the 2020 presidential candidates that have been reported by either the FEC or the candidiates’ campaigns.

President Donald Trump – $30 million

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. –  $18.2 million

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif. – $12 million

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas – $9.4 million

Pete Buttigieg, Democratic Mayor of South Bend, Ind. – $6,405,929.62

Former Rep. John Delaney, D-Md. –

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. – $6 million

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. – $5.2 million

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J. – $5 million

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D- NY – $3 million

Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee – $2.25 million

Businessman Andrew Yang – $1.7 million

Former Housing and Urban Development Sec. Julian Castro – $1.1 million

Source: Fox News Politics

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., argued Sunday that among the presidential candidates, he was the best Democrat to win back a string of Midwestern states from President Trump in 2020, claiming that the sitting president had told working-class families a “monstrous lie” by vowing to take on monied interests in Washington.

“Donald Trump has told literally thousands of lies since he began his campaign and since he has been in the White House,” Sanders told an estimated crowd of 4,500 at an outdoor rally in Pittsburgh. “But, the biggest lie that he told the people of Pennsylvania … was that he was going to stand up for working families and take on the establishment.”

Sunday’s rally wrapped up a weekend swing in which Sanders also held rallies in Wisconsin and Michigan. Voters in all three states backed Trump over Hillary Clinton in 2016, stunning Democrats who had seen them as part of a “blue wall” held together by urban African-American voters and traditionally liberal white working-class voters.

“We are going to win in Pennsylvania, we’re going to win in Michigan, we’re going to win in Wisconsin, we’re going to win in Indiana and Ohio,” Sanders promised his cheering supporters. “And, by the way, we’re going to win the election.”

The self-described democratic socialist said his political movement mirrored the labor movement, the civil rights movement, the women’s movement and the gay rights movement in showing that “real change never takes place from the top on down, always from the bottom up.” He recited a laundry list of policies — including raising the federal minimum wage, government-run health care and legalizing marijuana — that he claimed were described as “too radical” by members of the media and political establishment.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: WE NEED AN ECONOMY AND GOVERNMENT THAT WORKS FOR ALL, NOT JUST THE TOP ONE PERCENT

“Today, virtually all of those ideas are supported by a majority of the American people and they are ideas that Democratic candidates from school board to president of the United States now support,” Sanders said, noting that his insurgent campaign for the 2016 Democratic nomination had netted “more votes from young people than Trump and Clinton combined.”

Sanders also proudly noted that his supporters had campaigned successfully to change the party’s rules governing superdelegates at next year’s Democratic National Convention “and maybe ending a system in which one candidate had 500 superdelegates before the first vote was cast.” The Democratic National Committee voted last summer to prevent superdelegates from voting on the first presidential nomination ballot unless a candidate had enough votes from pledged delegates, who choose a candidate based on the results of the Democrats’ primaries and caucuses.

The Vermont senator also addressed his signature issue, vowing to health insurance companies that “whether you like it or not, the United States will join every other major country on earth and guarantee health care to all people as a right.”

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“It is an international embarrassment that in America today we got 30 million people with no health insurance and even more who are underinsured with high deductibles and high co-payments and for all of that we end up spending twice as much per capita on healthcare as do the people of any other nation,” said Sanders, who warned his audience that “the insurance companies are getting nervous” about his message.

“They are prepared and will spend hundreds of millions of dollars to stop us,” he said, “but we are gonna win this struggle and we will pass a Medicare for All single-payer program.”

Fox News’ Jennifer Oliva in Pittsburgh and Adam Shaw contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

Mayor Pete wants to be President Pete.

Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., who has seen his poll numbers surge in recent weeks, officially declared on Sunday that he’s running for president – in a speech where he highlighted both his progressive values and Midwestern upbringing.

The 37-year-old Afghanistan War veteran, who has been exploring a White House run since January, now joins the field of a dozen-plus rivals and one that is likely to reach 20 or more.

Over the past few months, Buttigieg has appeared frequently on national TV news and talk shows and developed a strong social media following with his message that the country needs “a new generation of leadership.”

“[The future] calls for hopeful, audacious voices in our community,” Buttigieg said on Sunday. “And, yes, it calls for a new generation of leadership in this country.”

Buttigieg’s poll numbers have climbed. Some polls put him behind only Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who sought the party’s nomination in 2016, and former Vice President Joe Biden, who has not yet said he’s running.

Buttigieg’s campaign raised more than $7 million in the first three months of this year, a total eclipsed by Sanders’ leading $18 million but more than Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Cory Booker of New Jersey, among others.

His challenge: finding a way to sustain the momentum over the long term and avoiding becoming a “flavor-of-the-month” candidate. Scrutiny of his leadership in South Bend has increased, as has his criticism of Vice President Mike Pence, who was Indiana’s governor when Buttigieg was in his first term as mayor.

Buttigieg would be the first openly gay nominee of a major presidential party; he married his husband, Chasten, last year. He would be the first mayor to go directly to the White House. And, he would be the youngest person to become president, turning 39 the day before the next inauguration, on Jan. 20, 2021. Theodore Roosevelt was 42 when he took office, while John F. Kennedy was 43 and Bill Clinton 46.

Buttigieg argued that the best way for Democrats to defeat President Trump may be to nominate a mayor experienced in helping to revive a Midwestern city once described as “dying,” rather than a politician who has spent years “marinating” in Washington.

He has criticized Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” saying the way to move the country forward is not to look backward or cling to nostalgia or an old way of life.

“We have changed our trajectory,” Buttigieg said. “That’s why I’m here today to tell a different story than ‘Make America Great Again.”

He added: “There is no such thing as honest politics that includes the word ‘again.’”

South Bend, which neighbors the University of Notre Dame, was hit hard by the decline of manufacturing, dating to the 1963 closing of the Studebaker auto plant that costs thousands of residents their jobs.

The hulking, dilapidated factory loomed over the city for much of the past 60 years as what Buttigieg called a daily reminder of South Bend’s city’s past.

Buttigieg gave his speech inside that building, which underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation led by a private developer with help from state grants and tax increment financing from the city. The newly remodeled structure is now part of a mixed-use technology center outside the city’s downtown.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., an outspoken critic of President Trump, officially entered the 2020 White House race during his Monday appearance on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”

The 38-year-old three-term congressman is a member of the House Judiciary Committee and the House Intelligence Committee, which for years has made headlines over its investigations of Russian influence in U.S. elections and federal surveillance.

“I’ve been in Congress for six years, I’ve defended our country from the Intelligence Committee while democracy has been on the ropes… and I see a country in quicksand, unable to solve problems and threats from abroad, unable to make life better for people here at home. Nothing gets done,” Swalwell told Stephen Colbert. The show released a preview clip with his announcement ahead of its airing Monday night.

CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE COVERAGE OF THE 2020 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

He continued, “I’ve talked to people who are just like me who are the first in their family to go to college, got a lot of student debt, can’t buy a home, can’t start a business. I’ve talked to kids who sit in their classroom afraid that they’ll be the next victim of gun violence and they see Washington do nothing about it after the moments of silence and they see lawmakers who love their guns more than they love our kids.”

Swalwell declared, “None of that is going to change until we get a leader who is willing to go big on the issues we take on, be bold in the solutions we offer, and do good in the way that we govern. I’m ready to solve these problems. I’m running for the president of the United States.”

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Swalwell isn’t the first Democrat to make an official announcement on “The Late Show.” New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand revealed to Colbert she was launching an exploratory committee back in January. She has since made her candidacy official.

Rep. Swalwell is the eighteenth candidate who has joined the crowded field of Democrats in the primary.

Source: Fox News Politics

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., told Fox News Wednesday that new claims of campaign finance violations by her and her campaign manager were “bogus.”

According to a complaint filed earlier Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), Ocasio-Cortez and her then-campaign manager Saikat Chakrabarti created a “shadowy web” of political action committees (PACs) allowing them to raise more money than they otherwise could have mustered.

“I mean, it’s conservative interest groups just filing bogus proposals,” Ocasio-Cortez said while heading to a meeting of the House Financial Services Committee.

OCASIO-CORTEZ HIT WITH ETHICS COMPLAINT OVER BOYFRIEND’S EMAIL ACCOUNT

The complaint also alleges that Chakrabarti, now Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff, established a limited liability company (LLC) that offered Ocasio-Cortez and other Democratic candidates political consulting services at below-market rates, something the complaints says is in violation of FEC rules. At the same time, the complaint says, Chakrabarti served as Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign manager, sat on the board of the Justice Democrats PAC and co-founded the Brand New Congress PAC.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Saikat Chakrabarti are seen in this July 2018 photo. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Saikat Chakrabarti are seen in this July 2018 photo. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

“While I agree with everyone from Alexandria Ocasio Cortez to [Rep.] Mark Meadows [R-N.C.] that super PACs should be banned, for years I’ve noted that creating an LLC to funnel political money is worse than a super PAC because you never learn the donors to an LLC,” says John Pudner, a former George W. Bush campaign and the executive director of the conservative campaign finance reform group Take Back Our Republic.

OCASIO-CORTEZ DE-LISTED FROM BOARD OF JUSTICE DEMOCRATS AFTER CONTROVERSY

According to a July 2018 post on the Center for Responsive Politics’ Open Secrets blog, Ocasio-Cortez received $5,000 from each of two left-wing PACs –Justice Democrats and MoveOn.org — following her primary win over incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley.

Wednesday’s complaint is the second filed against Ocasio-Cortez in less than a month by conservative Virginia attorney Dan Backer. His previous complaint alleged that Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign funneled at least $6,000 to her boyfriend through the Brand New Congress PAC.

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A separate complaint filed last month alleges that Ocasio-Cortez and Chakrabarti redirected $885,000 in campaign contributions from Congress PAC and Justice Democrats PAC to Brand New Campaign LLC and Brand New Congress LLC. The PACs claimed at the time that the payments were for “strategic consulting.”

A couple of weeks after the initial complaints were filed, Ocasio-Cortez and Chakrabarti were removed from the board of Justice Democrats.

Fox News’ Andrew Keiper, Gregg Re, Perry Chiaramonte and Adam Shaw contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics


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