There is “substantial reason to believe” that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) accepted “impermissible gifts” in connection to her attendance at the Met Gala in 2021, according to a newly disclosed report from the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE).
The OCE Board voted unanimously in June of last year to recommend further investigation by the House Committee on Ethics into the matter as Ocasio-Cortez “may have violated House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law,” per the report.
“The Board recommends that the Committee further review the above allegation concerning Rep. Ocasio-Cortez because there is substantial reason to believe that she accepted impermissible gifts associated with her attendance at the Met Gala in 2021,” the report says.
The report was released on Thursday by leaders of the House Committee on Ethics who said they received a referral about Ocasio-Cortez’s conduct in June of last year. They jointly decided on December 7, 2022, to extend the committee’s review of the matter, according to a press release.
“The Committee notes that the mere fact of conducting further review of a referral, and any mandatory disclosure of such further review, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee,” the House Committee on Ethics leaders said.
David Mitrani, Ocasio-Cortez’s counsel, issued a response in a letter which noted the OCE identified that there were delays in paying vendors for costs associated with the congresswoman’s attendance at the Met Gala.
“The Congresswoman finds these delays unacceptable, and she has taken several steps to ensure nothing of this nature will ever happen again,” Mitrani said.
His letter to the House Committee on Ethics, dated February 27, also claims that no ethics violations were found.
“However, while regrettable, this matter definitively does not rise to the level of a violation of House Rules or of federal law,” Mitrani wrote. “Even after OCE’s exhaustive review of the Congresswoman’s personal communications, there is no evidence that she ever intended to avoid these expenses. To the contrary, the record clearly shows that the Congresswoman always understood that she had to pay for these expenses personally – and she even worked with the undersigned counsel prior to the event to ensure that she complied with all applicable ethics rules.”
“We are confident the Committee on Ethics will dismiss this matter,” Mitrani concluded.
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