Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign received a fine from the state after it was determined that the organization did not have the proper workers’ compensation coverage in place for one month in 2018. Workers’ compensation coverage protects employees should they suffer an on-the-job injury, ensuring they can receive proper care and financial support.
“The employer did not have the required workers’ compensation coverage from March 31, 2018, to April 30, 2018, and was issued a final penalty of $1,500,” said New York State Workers’ Compensation Board spokeswoman Melissa Stewart, according to the New York Daily News.
“This coverage is vital to ensuring workers are protected for on-the-job injuries,” Steward added. She also asserted that the $1,500 fine had already been paid.
Some were surprised by the revelation, mainly because Ocasio-Cortez, who identifies as a Democratic socialist, positioned herself as a “champion” for workers’ rights during her campaign.
Previously, Ocasio-Cortez has openly advocated for a “Federal Jobs Guarantee,” a stance that includes $15 per hour minimum wage as well as access to “full healthcare, and child and sick leave.”
One Democratic campaign veteran stated that “it’s not a great look” for the newly-minted congresswoman’s campaign to be fined for failing to carry the proper workers’ compensation coverage.
“This is basic stuff, especially if you hold yourself out to be the champion of workers.”
Republicans also chimed in on the news.
“Hypocrisy at its finest,” said Jessica Proud, a state GOP spokeswoman. “The so-called champion of workers, when given her own responsibility, is not following the law. It’s unbelievable.”
Ocasio-Cortez won the election much to the surprise of the state’s political establishment, defeating Rep. Joseph Crowley during the New York Democratic Primary. In November, she secured her seat in Congress as the representative for New York’s 14th District with ease, capturing more than 78 percent of the votes.