It's been revealed that "defund the police" advocate Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez paid thousands to a former Blackwater contractor for personal security.
According to a review of Federal Election Commission records, Ocasio-Cortez's campaign dropped at least $4,636 at Tullis Worldwide Protection for "security services" between January and June 2021, the New York Post reported.
The Franconia is a Virginia-based company owned by Devin Tullis, who was also a bail enforcement officer. According to his website, his other clients include the royal families of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Tullis did not entertain questions on the specifics of his contract with the congresswoman, but he mentioned that he frequently hired former military and law enforcement for protection jobs with VIPs. He noted the gig wasn't for the faint of heart. Laughing, he said to the Post: "We're not hiring social workers."
Blackwater, now Academi, was a private military company founded by Erik Prince, a former Navy Seal and billionaire. The company furnished some of the rougher military contractors during the Iraq War, including the Nisour Square massacre. The incident left 17 Iraqi civilians dead. Four of Blackwater's agents were convicted in 2014 on counts of murder, manslaughter and weapons charges, but were all pardoned by former President Donald Trump in December 2020.
Tullis said though his Blackwater days were brief during the early 2000s, he made clear he was only involved in domestic security details. "Everyone says Blackwater and they think guys are running and gunning and killing overseas but that's just not the true story," he said. Reflecting upon his stint with the company at the start of his career, Tullis added the role was "common everyday security stuff."
"Out of one corner of her mouth she is attacking the police and out of the other she is hiring cops who have gone private to protect her. So AOC, which is it?" veteran Democratic strategist Jon Reinish told the Post.
AOC vocally supports defunding the police and insisted the idea would turn blighted communities into suburban paradises. "[Suburban] communities have lower crime rates not because they have more police but because they have more resources to support [a] healthy society in a way that reduces crime," Ocasio-Cortez said in an Instagram story last June.
The money Tullis received was just a small piece of the more than $34,000 Ocasio-Cortez spent on private security and consultants in the first half of 2021, records showed. $28,498 was spent locally, at New York's own Three Bridges, LLC, which bills itself as part of "a new generation of the private security industry."
Another $1,552 was given to 24 & 7 Security & Investigation in Houston to provide Ocasio-Cortez security when she was in town to raise money following a devastating winter storm. "We got connected to [Ocasio-Cortez] through another representative that is a family friend of his," said Joe Orsak, owner of the firm. He assigned a former Army special forces veteran to watch over the politician.
The spending spike took place amid heightened security fears from several lawmakers, following the Capitol Hill riot on Jan. 6.
Some of the biggest security spenders have been anti-Trump Republicans, including ousted GOP Rep. Liz Cheney who spent around $50,400 on security so far this year. Utah Sen. Mitt Romney spent $43,633. Upstate New York Rep. John Katko, who also voted for impeachment, spent at least $19,874 during that span.