- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 7, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

That dazzling light streaking through the Democratic firmament is AOC on her way to being the Democrats’ 2020 presidential-nomination queen-maker.

As of last month, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — or “Sandy” to her friends at Boston University in bartending days — had 3.1 million Twitter followers, way more than House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s 2.3 million. More than President Trump? No; he has more than 50 million. But she just exploded on the national scene less than a year ago.

Why “queen-maker” rather than nominee herself? She just turned 29, not old enough to meet the Constitution’s age minimum of 35.

A sworn enemy of modesty at times and at other times a model of unpretentiousness, Rep. AOC — her new, unique and politically invaluable moniker — won a seat, as you’ll recall, last year in New York’s 14th Congressional District. Yes, that’s the one that covers much of the Bronx, including its cheer, and some of Queens.

On Oct. 13, 2018, her birthday, she tweeted that “at 22 I was working with children and families, at 25 I was waitressing to support my family, at 28 I won my primary for Congress. I didn’t have health insurance. Today I turn 29. You’re never too late, too early, or too imperfect to care for yourself or pursue your dreams.”



Who can resist those self-propelled back pats? Put your hands down. It was a rhetorical question.

Her upset trouncing last June of a 20-year incumbent Democrat in the party primary gave progressives a joyous jolt of energy, which they quickly sent coursing through their share-the-wealth energy machine.

Last month, a video of her quizzing government-corruption experts was, The Guardian reported, “the most watched political video ever posted on Twitter with 37.5m views. It was another demonstration of astonishing clout.”

But some insensitive people have taken to making fun of her for things like the following.

In enlightening PBS viewers, then-candidate AOC said in July, “we look at these figures, and we say, ‘Oh, unemployment is low. Everything is fine,’ right? Well, unemployment is low because everyone has two jobs.”

And to show she is perfectly capable of actually expanding on her own eye-opening insight, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez added: “Unemployment is low because people are working 60, 70, 80 hours a week and can barely feed their kids. And so, I do think that, right now, when we have this no-holds-barred, Wild West hypercapitalism, what that means is profit at any cost.”

She must have learned that in a course called “Economics for People Too Smart to Need a Course in Economics.” Ms. AOC apparently learned that the more hours you work per week, the lower the unemployment rate for the other 157 million Americans in the workforce.

It’s like common AOC sense.

You laugh. You shouldn’t. Her bio on the Internet depicts the opposite of an airhead.

She attended Yorktown High School, which Newsweek ranked 76th among the city’s 12,263 high schools.

She placed second in Intel International Science and Engineering Fair’s Microbiology competition. Her research project? The effect of antioxidants on the lifespan of the nematode C. elegans – a weird kind of worm.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology thanked her by naming an asteroid after her—“23238 Ocasio-Cortez.”

Boston University graduated her cum laude — that’s “with honors,” for those who came in late — with a degree in economics and international relations.

Now that Ms. AOC is hyper-employed in hyper-Washington and hyper-utilizing her hyper-intellect, there are reports that what some call her “campaign finance fiasco” may take down both her and her chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti.

Something called the National Legal and Policy Center, or NLPC to save space, has filed with the Federal Election Commission a complaint.

It accuses Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and Mr. Chakrabarti of moving nearly $1 million in donations from Chakrabarti political action committees to his private campaign-services companies.

NLPC says the money was likely spent on campaign events for AOC “and other far-left Democratic candidates favored by Chakrabarti, who made his fortune in Silicon Valley and previously worked on Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign. But no precise accounting for the expenses is available, and the complaint asks the FEC to conduct an investigation into the matter immediately.”

She and he say “no dark money” here. He says transparency is his middle name. She says she has the same middle name. He says he didn’t tell the FEC how his companies spent the money because the FEC doesn’t require it.

If Denmark was transported to the 14th Congressional District, that’s where skeptics would smell something rotten.

“This is a big problem for AOC because whether legal or illegal, it makes her out to be a hypocrite,” says Republican pollster Jim McLaughlin, whose business of course is not to find nice things to say about Democrats. “She ran against things like the corrupt political establishment and too much money in politics.Now it appears she skirted campaign finance laws and funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars into her campaign to win an election. This is everything that her voters are supposed to be against.”

Judge Andrew Napolitano is another skeptic. “This now appears as though this is an effort to hide the existence and movement of a million dollars from the Federal Election Commission, which requires you report it,” he says.

He acknowledges this could be chalked up to a mistake or a misunderstanding, but he thinks it look more like “an act of deception.”

“That puts them in a dangerous category,” he says. “Mistakes? The FEC will forgive; they may fine you for them. Deception? They call the Justice Department.”

As for the potential ramifications, Judge Napolitano says AOC herself is in “political jeopardy.” Mr. Chakrabarti is in “legal jeopardy.”

Well, yeah. Actually, depending on how this unfolds, they could both get free room and board in a federal slammer, paid for with money borrowed from the People’s Republic of China and to be paid back by you (unless “you” are one of my swamp acquaintances now serving time for federal tax evasion or facing sentencing for same. In which case this obviously doesn’t apply to “you”).

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