Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has used a speech before finance watchdogs to expose the vast conflicts of interest which shape American politics.
In just three minutes the Democrat congresswoman laid bare the almost total absence of rules stopping lawmakers from being bought off by wealthy corporations.
“We have a system with right now which is fundamentally broken,” she concluded after her question and answer session with a panel of senior figures from campaign finance watchdog groups.
The 29-year-old told the officials she wanted to imagine what she could do within the current rules if she was a “bad guy” who wanted to “enrich myself and advance my interest, even if that means putting that ahead of the American people”.
“Let’s say I have some skeletons in my closet that I need to cover up so I can get elected.
“If I want to run a campaign that is entirely funded by corporate political action committees, is there anything that legally prevents me from doing that?” she asked.
The panel admitted there were no regulations stopping politicians from pursuing such a course of action.
Ms Ocasio-Cortez then went further: “So I use my special interest dark money-funded campaign to pay off folks that I need to pay off to get elected.
“Now I’m elected I have the power to draft, lobby and shape the laws that govern the USA. I can be totally funded by oil and gas, by big pharma, and there’s no limit to that whatsoever.”
The congresswoman, who represents New York’s 14th district, then noted how a corrupt legislator could even buy stocks in a company, then write laws deregulating that industry, causing the share price to soar and pocket a huge profit.
“You could do that,” confirmed one of the officials, adding that even the minor ethics regulations which did apply to members of Congress did not affect the president.
“So I and every member of this body are being held to a higher ethical standard than the president of the United States,” Ms Ocasio-Cortez concluded.
“It’s already super legal as we have seen for me to be a pretty bad guy. So it’s even easier for the president to be one.”
Ms Ocasio-Cortez won her seat in congress by unseating long-time Democrat elder statesmen Joe Crowley, who outspent her in the primary campaign 18 to 1.
Almost 75 per cent of her campaign funding came from small individual donations, compared to just 1 per cent for Mr Crowley, who was mostly funded by larger businesses.