Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, outspoken critic of ‘dark money,’ starts fundraising for her personal PAC

Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, outspoken critic of 'dark money,' starts fundraising for her personal PAC.

by John Patrick · January 13, 2020
Despite her reputation as a staunch progressive opponent of big money in politics, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has succumbed to the lure of having a personal political action committee to help finance her political career.

On Saturday, the freshman congresswoman announced on Twitter that she was soliciting donations for Courage to Change, a personal leadership PAC she set up following her election to Congress in 2018.

“The rumors are true. Today we’re announcing the Courage to Change PAC – and we need your help,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “We are pushing the envelope in DC by rewarding those who reject lobbyist money, fight for working families,& welcome newcomers.”

The rumors are true. Today we’re announcing the Courage to Change PAC – and we need your help.

We are pushing the envelope in DC by rewarding those who reject lobbyist money, fight for working families,& welcome newcomers.

Change takes courage. Let’s go: https://t.co/F01JmYaR7w

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 11, 2020
The “welcome newcomers” portion of her PAC’s message is likely in reference to her upset primary victory over 10-term Democratic incumbent Joe Crowley, who had the backing of the party establishment and was endorsed by several left-wing political advocacy organizations, including NARAL Pro-Choice America, Moms Demand Action, and Planned Parenthood.

Ocasio-Cortez’s announcement came one day after angry Democrats labeled her a “deadbeat” for refusing to cough up dues for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, a political campaign arm of the House Democrats that protects incumbent politicians and seeks to quash progressive challengers.

Ocasio-Cortez’s refusal was based on principle, not lack of funds. The congresswoman’s newfound political stardom has turned her into a fundraising juggernaut. In the third quarter of 2019, she raised more than $1.4 million, beating out high-profile Democrats such as Adam Schiff and Nancy Pelosi. In the final quarter of 2019, Ocasio-Cortez again sought the big bucks for her campaign war chest, pulling in more than $2 million to bring her fundraising total to more than $5 million for her first year in Congress.

Going forward, Ocasio-Cortez will likely direct much of her newfound fundraising power to her PAC. And according to the New York Post, “Leadership PACs have been decried as slush funds for lawmakers, who routinely use the loosely regulated accounts to pay for travel and pricey meals — as well as a means of distributing cash to political allies.” No wonder Ocasio-Cortez has changed her tune.

John Patrick (@john_pat_rick) is a graduate of Canisius College and Georgia Southern University. He interned for Red Alert Politics during the summer of 2012 and has continued to contribute to the Washington Examiner regularly.

Washington Examiner · by John Patrick · January 13, 2020

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