The political action committee for Justice Democrats disbursed hundreds of thousands of dollars to a consulting firm that was co-launched by one of its own founders, Federal Election Commission filings show.
The Justice Democrats PAC, the committee that was instrumental in electing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y) into the House of Representatives, collected $820,000 in contributions during the first half of the year, its mid-year campaign records show. During this time, the PAC reported spending just south of $700,000.
The PAC’s biggest beneficiary was Middle Seat Consulting, a digital firm that supports campaigns and groups focused on “racial justice, climate action, immigrant rights, intersectional feminism, economic justice, and more.” Between Jan. 1 and June 30, the Justice Democrats PAC wrote checks totaling $205,151 to the firm for fundraising services.
Middle Seat Consulting was cofounded in early 2017 by Zack Exley, a former senior adviser for Bernie Sanders’s 2016 presidential campaign. Exley is also cofounder of the Justice Democrats alongside Saikat Chakrabarti, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff until last Friday, who worked with Exley on Sanders’s campaign, YouTube host Cenk Yugar, and left-wing talk radio host Kyle Kulinski.
Corporate D.C. filings show that Middle Seat lists Kenneth Pennington and Hector Sigala as its governors, both of whom worked with Exley and Chakrabarti on the Sanders campaign.