How do you keep money out of politics? By paying politicians more.
That’s what socialist congresswoman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is arguing as she defends pay raises for those serving in Congress.
Democrats have decided to yank a bill proposing an increase in their annual salaries from $174,000 to $178,500 because of the loud backlash they’ve received and fears that their reelection chances could be hurt, according to Politico. AOC isn’t happy about that one bit.
Members of Congress typically work 138 days a year and can have a second job, especially in the off-times, although with some restrictions. The average full-time American employee works well over 200 days a year and makes far less than $178,500.
But Ocasio-Cortez, who has shown off her luxury D.C. apartment via her popular Instagram account, argued on Twitter that she and other congress members don’t get paid enough. Plus, she believes they’re easily corrupted by “dark money” opportunities, so the only way to solve that is to pay them more.
“Members of Congress often vote to cut or keep their allowances low,” she wrote on Twitter. “It’s a superficial gesture, bc keeping Congressional pay low is what creates the desperation + impetus for good, experienced staff to flee to lobbyist jobs. Raising staffer pay helps get money out of politics.”
“Same w/ member pay. Members are paid more than avg - but job reqs 2 residences + we can’t take tax deductions for work costs,” she continued. “No one wants to be the one to bring up increases, so instead ppl take advantage of insider trading loopholes & don’t close them for the extra cash. 🤷🏽♀”
“Voting against cost of living increases for members of Congress may sound nice, but doing so only increases pressure on them to keep dark money loopholes open,” she wrote. “This makes campaign finance reform *harder.* ALL workers deserve cost of living increases, incl min wage workers.”
She added: “What this does is punish members who rely on a straight salary, and reward those who rely on money loopholes and other forms of self-dealing. For example, it incentivizes the horrible kinds of legislative looting we saw in the GOP tax scam bill.”
But when it comes to “dark money,” AOC’s hands may be dirty as well.
The Federal Election Commission is investigating allegations of serious financial discrepancies with her political action committee, Justice Democrats PAC, the Washington Examiner reported. The PAC is accused of funneling far more money to Ocasio-Cortez’ campaign than is allowed by law.
A PAC is allowed to contribute $5,000 per candidate but can give up to $10,000 since primaries and general elections are treated as two different things, according to OpenSecrets.org.
AOC was blasted for defending the congressional pay raises.