A former top aide to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) formed a political action committee in 2021 to abolish the filibuster and put progressive pressure on Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV). But The Daily Beast discovered that the PAC spent little money on its ostensible cause, instead channeling most of its funds to the founder and a close political ally.
Corbin Trent, co-founder of the powerful left-of-centre outfits Justice Democrats and Brand New Congress, opened the No Excuses PAC in early 2021 — nine months after stint running campaign communications for Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) . From the start, the new committee promised to airbomb and even recruit challengers to the two centrist senators who threatened to withhold their votes from the more ambitious elements of President Joe Biden’s agenda.
By February of this year, she had added a new goal: the erasure of parliamentary obstacles in the president’s program.
“We need your help immediately to run ads telling Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema that they will be selected and replaced in 2024 if they join the Republicans in shrinking their own party’s pandemic, climate and economic investment plans.” , according to the PAC website. “STOP THE FUCKING FILIBUSTER AND SAVE AMERICA!” Let Chuck Schumer know that we want HIM AND THE DEMOCRATS to END the filibuster in the Senate!”
Federal Election Commission records show that for a brief period — specifically between Jan. 27 and March 10, 2021 — the PAC lived up to its mission: to spend $14,831.88 on ads showing Sinema brawling on the Arizona airwaves became. But the files show that after that, the promised investment in PR campaigns was halted.
But his investments in Trent himself, who also formerly served as communications director at Ocasio-Cortez’s office, continued.
Trent insisted to The Daily Beast that despite the lack of further promotional efforts, he has continued the PAC’s work by appearing in person on television – most recently on MSNBC’s All In With Chris Hayes, where titular host No Excuses interjected his introduction. When The Daily Beast asked if the PAC’s main purpose now is to compensate him for going on TV, Trent was ambiguous.
“The PAC is here to do the job that we’ve done,” he said in a phone interview. “This is what PACs exist for, to continue political movements.”
However, The Daily Beast has seen little movement at the PAC over the past 16 months, other than the flow of donor funds into Trent’s pockets. The money that has gone into anti-Sinema advertising amounts to a mere 9 percent of the $162,195.01 that No Excuses has spent following recent filings.
In contrast, the PAC paid Trent $113,763.91, primarily in monthly or semimonthly installments of $7,500 labeled “campaign management consulting” or “communications consulting.” And while the Sinema ads ended more than a year ago, payouts to Trent continued during the most recent submission period, which ended in March.
During a phone interview, Trent could not say when he last submitted an invoice to the PAC for services rendered, or when he last received payment.
The PAC spent an additional $8,335.35 on hotels and airline tickets and another $6,953.33 on “accounting/compliance services” from Progressives Consulting — a firm owned by Amy Vilela, a twice-failed candidate for the Nevada House of Representatives, which is both Brand New Congress and Justice Democrats supports in 2018. Brand New Congress supports their second unsuccessful campaign in 2022, but the Justice Democrats did not. Vilela did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Taken together, these issues account for 80 percent of No Excuses’ issues, eclipsing anti-Sinema issues by more than eight to one. Meanwhile, the social media pages of the PAC been forfeited since the first months of its existence, with the exception of its Instagram page, which never seems to have posted anything.
Curiously, on his LinkedIn page, Trent No Excuses describes PAC neither as an anti-Sinema and Manchin effort nor as an anti-filibuster entity, but as “producers of the Building The Dream podcast.” This web production features the PAC’s logo and features Trent and his co-founders Zack Exley and Saikat Chakrabarti of the Justice Democrats and Brand New Congress as hosts.
However, this podcast hasn’t released a new episode since last November.
Trent claimed the PAC did a good job on what he called a modest budget, repeatedly touting its “media successes” to further its cable television ideals.
“I’m super happy with what we’ve achieved,” he said.
Ocasio-Cortez, who recently revived her long-standing call abolish the filibuster after the Supreme Court struck it down Roe v. calf Decision, did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
As The Daily Beast previously reported, there are no rules requiring political committees to be completely open with potential donors about their activities and intentions when soliciting donations, and as such it doesn’t appear that Trent broke any law .
https://www.thedailybeast.com/corbin-trent-former-aide-of-alexandria-ocasio-cortez-cashes-in-on-anti-filibuster-crusade?source=articles&via=rss Corbin Trent, former aide to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, benefits from anti-filibuster crusade