As I noted recently, I started off as a big fan of Queens Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, even though she is not the bold outsider she portrays herself as. In fact, she worked for former Senator Edward Kennedy for nearly a decade and clearly had been planning a political career for many years before winning a seat in the House last year.
Now I have learned that Ibrahim AlHusseini, a board member and shareholder of Los Angeles-based Aspiration Bank, has been funding The Young Turks (TYT), which was created by Cenk Uygur. He in turn is a founder of Justice Democrats, which picked AOC to run against the horrifying evil and corrupt incumbent, Joe Crowley, in 2018. AOC is extremely close to Uygur and Justice Democrats, to put it mildly.
AlHusseini, is “a venture capitalist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist,” according to his Wikipedia page. “He is the founder and CEO of FullCycle, an investment firm that turns municipal solid waste into clean energy.” Aspiration runs ads with TYT and AlHusseini has not disclosed how much he pays for them.
For more on this story, check out this Twitter exchange between AlHusseini and David B, where I learned about this story.
I spoke to David B on the phone and he provided me with additional details. Anyone interested in this should also be reading Alana Goodman’s work at the Washington Examiner, like this one headlined, “AOC’s chief of staff ran $1M slush fund by diverting campaign cash to his own companies.” The cash transfers from the PACs, overseen by AOC’s senior aide Saikat Chakrabarti “run counter to her pledges to increase transparency and reduce the influence of ‘dark money in politics,” Goodman noted.
And I’d note that Chakrabarti is extremely tight with The Young Turks. He was also recently ranked No. 4 by Politico — just ahead of Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney — on its list of the 19 most influential “politicians, activists and operatives…who are positioned to play a critical role in the political landscape leading up to 2020.”
AOC has a seat on the House Financial Services Committee. She claims she will use that perch to fiercely monitor banks and financial institutions. Will she be digging into Aspiration’s operations? I seriously doubt it, especially since so far AOC’s positions on the committee have lined up nicely with AlHusseini’s.
I’ll have new reporting on this in early May, when I return from an overseas excursion.