The Conservative Brief reported on Tuesday the Office of Congressional Ethics released a statement that indicated Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) “may be facing some serious legal trouble.”
Questionable conduct led to Ocasio-Cortez being referred to the House Ethics Committee, according to Business Insider. The committee wrote:
“Pursuant to House Rule XI, clause 3(b)(8)(A), and Committee Rules 17A(b)(1)(A),17A(c)(1), and 17A(j), the Acting Chairwoman and Acting Ranking Member of the Committee on Ethics have jointly decided to extend the matter regarding Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, which was transmitted to the Committee by the Office of Congressional Ethics on June 23, 2022.”
The committee later clarified:
“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. The Committee will announce its course of action in this matter following its organizational meeting and adoption of Committee Rules in the 118th Congress.”
A spokesperson for Ocasio-Cortez minimized the import of the proceedings, saying, “The Congresswoman has always taken ethics incredibly seriously, refusing any donations from lobbyists, corporations, or other special interests. We are confident that this matter will be dismissed.”
The committee has not provided details regarding the complaint; however, the website 1945 noted it is possible Ocasio-Cortez could be under investigation for inappropriately accepting a gift. The website noted:
“It has been widely suspected that it was the result of a September 2021 complaint filed by the Americans Accountability Foundation ‘for accepting an impermissible gift’ to attend the Met Gala. AOC had made considerable waves not for just attending the high-profile Met Gala, where tickets for the social event cost a reported $35,000, but for her choice to wear a designer dress emblazoned with the slogan ‘Tax the Rich.'”
“She reportedly was invited as a guest of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and did not keep the dress. The New York Congresswoman, who won her seat in 2018 following a shock primary victory over Joe Crowley, a senior House Democrat, quickly emerged as a leading figure among progressives. Ethics watchdogs have accused AOC of violating House rules by improperly accepting other gifts.”
“Lawmakers are, in fact, allowed under chamber regulations to take free tickets to charity events directly from organizers — and The New York Post has reported that Ocasio-Cortez and her now-fiancé Riley Roberts were directly invited by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.”
“Yet, some watchdogs counter that the allowance wouldn’t apply to the Met Gala, since the invitations are controlled by a for-profit company – in this case, media conglomerate Conde Nast – while the tables, which cost $300,000, are sponsored by corporate entities.”
The American Accountability Foundation claims entities “bought access to AOC that ordinary constituents could not do by sponsoring a table for her at the Met,” according to the Conservative Brief.
The Brief also noted that Ocasio-Cortez was facing a second ethics complaint regarding the dress. The National Legal and Policy Center asserts the Brother Vellies gown “amounted to an impermissible gift because it was ‘directly related to AOC’s position with the House’ as a highly visible and controversial Member.”
The 1945 website agreed, writing: “If AOC had not been a Member, she would not have been invited to the Gala, 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.”
Though Ocasio-Cortez did not keep the dress, critics argue that the representative received fashion accessories and various grooming services, and she failed to timely file required financial disclosure forms.
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