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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., sits at a meeting at the Chhaya Community Development Corporation, July 6, 2022. (AP) Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., sits at a meeting at the Chhaya Community Development Corporation, July 6, 2022. (AP)

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., sits at a meeting at the Chhaya Community Development Corporation, July 6, 2022. (AP)

Gabrielle Settles
By Gabrielle Settles June 23, 2023

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez isn’t facing jail for FEC violations. That recycled claim is wrong

If Your Time is short

  • This video is from 2019. 

  • Campaign finance violation allegations in 2019 against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. were unsubstantiated.  

Is Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., headed to jail? That’s what a viral Facebook video misleadingly claimed. 

"TOP NEWS. Ocasio-Cortez is DONE Faces 5 Years in Jail For FEC Crimes," said the caption on the June 19 video. It came from Next News Network, a site that has repeatedly promoted conspiracies and was recently demonetized by YouTube. 

This video opened with host Gary Franchi, who said Ocasio-Cortez was accused of campaign finance violations and that a complaint had been filed with the Federal Election Commission. 

"Well let’s just hope it does sink her political career, right out the starting gate, right? ... So, this could be the end of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez once and for all," Franchi said in the footage. 

The video was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) 

But the video is from years ago, not now. Next News Network first published it in March 2019. The FEC dismissed the complaint against Ocasio-Cortez in February 2022 without pursuing action against her. 

On March 4, 2019, the National Legal and Policy Center, a conservative nonprofit group that monitors public officials, filed a complaint against Ocasio-Cortez with the FEC, claiming that she and others obscured how campaign funds were spent. The nonprofit said in a 2022 statement that Ocasio-Cortez used a staff member’s limited liability company to "operate her campaign without disclosing and itemizing campaign expenses." 

The Associated Press wrote in 2019  that limited liability companies are sometimes used in politics to obscure the flow of money. Ocasio-Cortez denied that there were any campaign finance violations.

The FEC initially voted to dismiss some of the complaint’s allegations and in February 2022 voted to close the file without pursuing action against Ocasio-Cortez. 

Even if there were an FEC violation in this case, it likely would have prompted a fine, not jail time, experts told reporters

We rate the claim that Ocasio-Cortez "faces 5 Years in Jail For FEC Crimes" False.

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More by Gabrielle Settles

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez isn’t facing jail for FEC violations. That recycled claim is wrong

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