A political action committee (PAC) aligned with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez paid her boyfriend $6,000 during the infancy of her campaign.
The Brand New Congress PAC (BNC), a political arm of Brand New Congress LLC, a company that was hired by Ocasio-Cortez to run and support her campaign, paid Riley Roberts for marketing services he provided to the PAC.
According to FEC records, the PAC made two payments to Roberts – one in August 2017 and one in September 2017 – both for $3,000.
In a statement to Fox News, BNC’s Communications Director Zeynab Day said that Roberts “is a professional digital marketing and growth consultant who specializes in social media presence and subscriber engagement” and his hiring was based “on his experience managing successful advertising and social media campaigns.”
“He was hired through a 2 month trial period, beginning on August 3, 2017 and worked through the end of September, 2017,” she added. “Services to the Brand New Congress PAC consisted of advertising strategies for potential growth, developing metrics, and aiding in execution of strategy to increase brand awareness for the PAC as a whole.”
“Services to the Brand New Congress PAC consisted of advertising strategies for potential growth, developing metrics, and aiding in execution of strategy to increase brand awareness for the PAC as a whole.”
The revelation that a PAC aligned with Ocasio-Cortez paid Roberts was first noticed by political consultant Luke Thompson who detailed his findings in a Medium post.
The post drew the attention of Ocasio-Cortez and her chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti because it also included unverified speculation of legal impropriety and an incorrect claim that the Democrat’s campaign raised only about $3,000 while spending nearly $28,000 by October 2017 – ignoring that the campaign also raised more than $33,000 from small donors.
“The conspiracy machine is in full effect & it’s been disappointing to watch professionals get duped + amplify unvetted Medium posts as truth, treating journalism like it’s a high school Livejournal rumor mill or something,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “No, I don’t shadily pay my boyfriend. Come on & VET.”
Ocasio-Cortez’ office did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
The scrutiny over Ocasio-Cortez’s boyfriend follows the discovery that Roberts was given a congressional email account, with some suggesting it was an ethics violation as boyfriends don’t reach the level of partners or spouses who might otherwise be given such access.
"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,” Jason Chaffetz, former chairman of the House Oversight Committee, told Fox News.
“When I was in the House, my scheduler would forward my wife my schedule once a week. But you’re not allowed unfettered access. And he isn’t even her spouse,” he added. “... It should be referred to the ethics committee for further investigation.”
The spokesperson for the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer, David O'Boyle, told Fox News that “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.”