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Socialist ‘Squad’ Member Defends Vote To Protect Russian Oligarchs

Four Democrats opposed bill to fund Ukraine with assets seized from Putin allies

• April 28, 2022 3:10 pm

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) on Thursday defended her opposition to a bill urging President Joe Biden to fund Ukraine with assets seized from Russian oligarchs.

The targets of the legislation, defined in the bill as individuals whose immense wealth was accumulated via ties to President Vladimir Putin, "should suffer huge financial losses," said the congresswoman known as "AOC," but she argued that seizing their assets "without due process" would violate the Fourth Amendment and set "a risky new precedent."

Ocasio-Cortez, a self-proclaimed socialist best known for wearing a "Tax the Rich" dress to the Met Gala and illegally parking her Tesla sports car outside her luxury apartment complex, was one of four Democrats who voted against the symbolic measure on Wednesday. The House approved the Asset Seizure for Ukraine Reconstruction Act in a 417-8 vote.

Also voting against the bill were AOC's fellow "Squad" members, Reps. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.), both of whom have come under fire for their anti-Semitic rhetoric. Rep. Cori Bush (D., Mo.), an aspiring "Squad" member, was the fourth Democrat to oppose the measure.

Biden, among many others, does not share the socialist's assessment regarding the constitutionality of seizing those assets, which include bank accounts as well as yachts, private jets, and real estate. The president on Thursday asked Congress to grant him the authority to do precisely what the House bill recommended—confiscate the holdings of Russian "bad guys" and use the proceeds to help the Ukrainian people.

Biden urged lawmakers to pass legislation that would make it a crime to "knowingly or intentionally possess proceeds directly obtained from corrupt dealings with the Russian government" and endorsed efforts to broaden the definition of "racketeering" under U.S. law to include efforts to evade sanctions.