Ocasio-Cortez Parts Ways With Her Chief of Staff
Andrew Kerr /
The chief of staff to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., has departed from her Washington office to work with an outside group focused on pushing the Green New Deal, her office announced.
Besides chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti, also departing from Ocasio-Cortez’s D.C. office is her communications director, Corbin Trent, who will take a similar role for the lawmaker’s reelection campaign.
“Saikat has decided to leave the office of Rep. Ocasio-Cortez to work with New Consensus to further develop plans for a Green New Deal,” Trent told The Intercept, adding:
We are extraordinarily grateful for his service to advance a bold agenda and improve the lives of the people in NY-14. From his co-founding of Justice Democrats to his work on the Ocasio-Cortez campaign and in the official office, Saikat’s goal has always been to do whatever he can to help the larger progressive movement, and we look forward to continuing working with him to do just that.
Chakrabarti told a Washington Post reporter in July that the Green New Deal “wasn’t originally a climate thing at all.”
“We really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing,” he said.
Chakrabarti played a significant role in Ocasio-Cortez’s rise to national prominence. He co-founded Brand New Congress and Justice Democrats, the two outside political action committees credited with recruiting the New York Democrat to run for office and spearheading her successful primary challenge of incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y.
Chakrabarti came under fire in March after the Washington Examiner reported that his two PACs had funneled over $1 million into an LLC he controlled.
Ocasio-Cortez was granted a position on the board of Justice Democrats in late 2017 while the PAC was simultaneously supporting her primary campaign. But she didn’t report her affiliation with the Federal Election Commission.
Ocasio-Cortez’s relationship with Justice Democrats has prompted at least three FEC complaints against her campaign.
Chakrabarti’s conduct as Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff became the subject of ire from the moderate wing of the Democratic Party.
In late June, he accused Democrats in the Blue Dog Caucus of being “hell-bent to do to black and brown people what the old Southern Democrats did in the 40s.”
Chakrabarti also alleged in June that freshman Rep. Sharice Davids, D-Kansas, the first openly LGBT Native American elected to Congress, was enabling a “racist system” for voting to provide emergency funding for the crisis at the southern border.
The Twitter account for the House Democratic Caucus fired back at Chakrabarti in July for his attack on Davids.
“Who is this guy and why is he explicitly singling out a Native American woman of color?” House Democrats tweeted.
“Her name is Congresswoman Davids, not Sharice,” the now-deleted tweet read. “She is a phenomenal new member who flipped a red seat blue.”
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