Politics & Policy

AOC’s Reelection Campaign Keeps Half of All Donations to ‘Working-Class Champions’ PAC

Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) participates in a House Oversight Committee hearing, July 15, 2019. (Erin Scott/Reuters)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s creation of a new progressive PAC to “elect working-class champions who have lived the hardships we seek to eliminate” funnels half of every donation to her own campaign.

After accusing the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee of “blacklisting” progressive candidates and refusing to pay $250,000 in dues to the organization, Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) framed the “Courage to Change” PAC as a progressive alternative to the DCCC.

“We are pushing the envelope in DC by rewarding those who reject lobbyist money, fight for working families,& welcome newcomers,” she wrote on Twitter, making no mention of the fact that half of all donations go to her own campaign.

Her campaign echoed the message. “We’re paving a different path,” it wrote in its first fundraising email. “The DCCC has been an entrenched tool in a system that blocks working-class candidates from running for office, and protects out of touch incumbents.”

The PAC’s website says its goal is to “elect working-class champions who have lived the hardships we seek to eliminate — people who have experienced racial, economic, environmental, or social injustice firsthand.”

In fine print, it notes that donations will be split evenly between Ocasio-Cortez and the PAC’s war chest, while an additional option allows for one to change the allocation, but not eliminate it.

The Washington Post reported that as of Sunday afternoon, the PAC raised more than $107,000 from over 7,300 contributions since its launch on Saturday, potentially bringing in over $50,000 to Ocasio-Cortez’s own campaign.

“There is a robust infrastructure set up to maintain and defend the Democratic majority, and to support moderate Democrats, and often that infrastructure is running against progressives in blue districts,” said campaign spokesman Corbin Trent. “So what we’re looking to do is to make sure that progressive candidates and incumbents have the support that they need to back policies that are going to improve the lives of everyday Americans.”

Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign raised nearly $150,000 over the weekend, according to data it provided to the Post.

In the third quarter, Ocasio-Cortez raked in over $1.4 million, the most of any Democrat in the House.

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