Word dropped on Wednesday that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee and many believe it is for her acceptance of a $35,000 Met Gala ticket last year where she pulled a socialist stunt at the event by wearing a dress that urged, “Tax the Rich.”
(Video Credit: Sky News Australia)
The extension of the investigation was confirmed by the congressional panel. The eight-member non-partisan committee provided no details concerning the investigation in its statement but it is an extension of a complaint that was filed with them on June 23 of this year. The committee will announce its course of action on the matter sometime next year, according to the New York Post.
The House Ethics Committee typically has 45 days to review a matter referred to it by the Office of Congressional Ethics, an independent entity that initially examines allegations of misconduct against lawmakers and other House employees. At the end of the 45-day period, the committee can choose to extend its deliberation over an issue but must make a public statement, as it did in Ocasio-Cortez’s case.
Ocasio-Cortez was actually the subject of two complaints that were filed with the Office of Congressional Ethics over her attendance at last year’s Met Gala. Both of them assert that the 33-year-old lawmaker broke House rules by accepting free tickets to the lavish affair.
“The Committee notes that the mere fact of a referral or an extension, and the mandatory disclosure of such an extension and the name of the subject of the matter, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee,” a statement issued by the committee read.
🚨BREAKING: AOC is under a House Ethics Investigation pic.twitter.com/FFHfinqFJm
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) December 7, 2022
Under House regulations, members are allowed to accept free tickets to charity events that are given out directly from the organizers. According to the New York Post, Ocasio-Cortez and her now-fiancé Riley Roberts were both directly invited by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Conservatives don’t see it that way, asserting that the allowance does not apply to the Met Gala because tickets are controlled by a for-profit company — media conglomerate Condé Nast. The tables at the event are also sponsored by corporate entities.
The initial ethics complaint against Ocasio-Cortez was filed by the American Accountability Foundation. The organization claims that Instagram “was able to purchase access to Representative Ocasio-Cortez that is unavailable to average citizens” by sponsoring a table at the Met Gala.
The second ethics complaint was filed by the National Legal and Policy Center. It alleges that the borrowed white Brother Vellies gown worn by AOC, featuring the call for “Tax The Rich” in red lettering on the back, constituted an impermissible gift because it was “directly related to AOC’s ‘position with the House’ as a highly visible and controversial Member.”
(Video Credit: NBC New York)
“If AOC had not been a Member, she would not have been invited to the Gala,” the NLPC complaint charged, “and even if she would have been invited as a private citizen, the designer would not have made a special dress for her to wear at the event.”
It is unknown if the investigation that was announced on Wednesday has anything to do with the Met Gala complaints. But a similar complaint that was filed against outgoing Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney was also referred to the House Ethics Committee on June 23 of this year.
Maloney found herself in hot water after it was alleged she violated House rules by requesting tickets to the 2016 Met Gala when she was left off the initial guest list.
AOC is under a House Ethics investigation.
Who wants to bet nothing will happen to her?
— Ryan Fournier (@RyanAFournier) December 7, 2022
Ocasio-Cortez’s office issued a statement to the New York Post on Wednesday stating that she had done nothing wrong.
“The Congresswoman has always taken ethics incredibly seriously, refusing any donations from lobbyists, corporations, or other special interests,” the statement declared. “We are confident that this matter will be dismissed.”
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