Hi, and welcome to another Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez burn. On Wednesday, Feb. 6, the Democratic congresswoman used her new seat on the House Oversight Committee to play what she called the "Corruption Game," in which she fired off creative questions to ethics experts that exposed some major loopholes in campaign finance laws. If that sounds heated, it's because it totally was. No, seriously — this video of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez talking campaign finance laws is a brutal take down.
In the video, the New York representative pretends to be the bad guy who wants "to get away with as much bad things as possible, ideally to enrich myself and advance my interests, even if that means putting my interests ahead of the American people." Then she asked the panel of experts a series of questions about whether she could use "special interest dark money" from corporate political action committees (PACs) to fund her theoretical campaign, make hush payments to keep potential threats to quiet, create legislation that benefit her donors, and then buy stocks in companies that would benefit from those laws.
The answers to those questions? "Yes."
She continued on to ask if any of those situations apply to our current government and public servants, to which she received another affirmation. Oof.
Shots fired, right? The internet is living for it.
Ocasio-Cortez is well placed to be critical of campaign finance law. She famously made her political debut funded primarily by small, individual contributions, and promised to refuse any corporate PAC donations. After winning office, she seems to be putting her mouth where her money is.
If you've been living under a rock for the past two years or so, a large swath of this appears to be about President Donald Trump. Ahead of the 2016 presidential election, his former lawyer Michael Cohen paid off two women claiming affairs with the president in an effort to sway the election. Cohen has since claimed that he made the payments "at the direction of the candidate," which implicated Trump's involvement. However, Trump has denied the affairs, but admitted to reimbursing Cohen for the payments. The White House did not respond to Elite Daily's previous request for additional comment on the matter.
“With respect to both payments, Cohen acted with the intent to influence the 2016 presidential election,” court documents filed in Cohen's Nov. 29 guilty plea read. “Cohen coordinated his actions with one or more members of the campaign, including through meetings and phone calls, about the fact, nature, and timing of the payments. In particular, and as Cohen himself has now admitted, with respect to both payments, he acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1." (Who appears to be Trump. The White House did not reply to Elite Daily's request for comment on the matter at the time.)
The lawyer has pleaded guilty on charges of financial crimes and lying to Congress and been sentenced to three years in prison.
Despite Cohen's involvement, experts have said that bringing criminal charges against the president could be difficult. “Cohen’s pleading guilty to campaign finance crimes does not make Trump automatically guilty as well,” Rick Hasen, professor of law and political science at University of California at Irvine, told The Washington Post. “If it ever came to a trial, Trump could claim he intended to keep the payments to mistresses secret for personal, not campaign, reasons, and it would be up to a jury to determine the credibility of such an argument.”
Still, people have questions and it looks like Ocasio-Cortez will be asking them until we get to the bottom of this.