This ought to have been enough to make it clear that AOC’s story didn’t add up. More importantly, I’d clearly hit a nerve. Chakrabarti spent much of the day in my mentions insisting that everything was on the up-and-up with Roberts. Instead of asking if Roberts had been supplied with the badge and pin appropriate to a Congressional spouse, evidence of which her office should have been able to produce easily, AOC’s worshipful stenographers in the press went into overdrive witlessly repeating her talking-points. Jeff Stein over at the Washington Post even woke up Saturday to keep it going in my mentions, as did Chakrabarti himself. And, of course, AOC had decided to get into it. That’s a lot of time and effort spent “refuting” a GOP consultant known to a tiny corner of the internet for posting cat pictures and bitching about the doctrine of coequal branches.
So I went to the FEC, did a little searching, and discovered that, lo and behold, there’s more to the story. Now, during the original kerfuffle, some folks noticed that AOC’s campaign had paid Roberts $1,750. That’s not quite what transpired. Roberts was “paid” only as a means of keeping accounting in order. In the first half of 2018, Roberts did some free work for the campaign. That work got put on the books as an in-kind contribution and then discharged as an expenditure for accounting purposes. That’s perfectly normal. It’s a way to keep people from circumventing federal contribution caps by providing discounted or free services.