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Who’s that baby?

A snapshot of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) carrying a toddler while boarding a Friday flight out of Washington, D.C., had the internet wondering whose child the childless politician was traveling with.

The Queens-Bronx congresswoman answered Saturday by revealing it was a “test” of a policy that may be treading into a gray area of campaign finance.

“The tot is my staffer’s 1 year old!” she tweeted in response to a Twitter post of the photo. “We are testing new childcare policies on the campaign by covering childcare expenses for traveling parents, or covering travel for children + a partner to join on certain trips. Wish us luck!”

A few hours later, she tweeted a selfie with the staffer holding the child in a seat next to her on the plane and a longer explanation.

“Team AOC does things a little differently. We are experimenting with internal childcare policies — like offering childcare to traveling parents on our team, or subsidizing costs to bring baby and partner along for certain trips.”

She went on to explain that childcare expenses are related to the gender pay gap, because mothers often forego opportunities that involve work-related travel due to childcare costs and considerations.

AOC and her staffer were on their way to Boulder, Colorado, where she joined fellow House freshman Joe Neguse (D-Colo.) for a “Climate Emergency” panel discussion in the morning, along with a fundraiser for his campaign.

The move to offer childcare to staffers may require a ruling from the Federal Elections Commission on whether such use of campaign funds is legal.

The FEC ruled last year that a campaign can pay childcare expenses that would not exist “irrespective of the candidate’s campaign for federal office.” But the May 2018 decision that upheld such costs for Democrat Gretchen Liuba when she took on longtime Rep. Pete King (R-L..I.), was specific to the candidate’s childcare costs. It did not mention staff members’ costs.

A 1995 ruling said a candidate could pay for childcare costs when his wife traveled with him because she was “an integral part” of the campaign team and the costs were “incurred only as a direct result of campaign activity and would not otherwise exist.”



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