Squad member and socialist Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), may have violated “standards of conduct” and “federal law” by improperly accepting gifts in the form of $35,000 tickets for her attendance at the 2021 Met Gala, according to the House Office of Congressional Ethics.
A report from the office stated Ocasio-Cortez was accused of accepting “impermissible gifts associated with her attendance at the Met Gala in 2021,” an act that “If Rep. Ocasio-Cortez accepted impermissible gifts, then she may have violated House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law.”
The office recommended that the House Committee on Ethics investigate due to the fact that “there is substantial reason to believe that she accepted impermissible gifts associated with her attendance at the Met Gala in 2021.”
According to the report, Ocasio-Cortez “received a series of goods and services which she did not pay for” so she could attend the Met Gala.
During the September 2021 gala, Ocasio-Cortez wore a dress with the words “Tax the Rich” written on it. An ethics complaint was filed shortly thereafter accusing her of improperly accepting free tickets to the event, which reportedly start at $35,000.
Members of the House of Representatives may accept gifts of “nominal value” or from relatives and friends. However, any gift over $250 requires written permission from the House Ethics Committee.
The report stated, “In 2021, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez was invited to and attended the Met Gala with Mr. Roberts. As part of her attendance, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez was provided with a couture dress, handbag, shoes, and jewelry. She also received hair, makeup, transportation, and ready-room services. Riley Roberts received a bowtie and shoes in advance of the event. While Rep. Ocasio-Cortez appears to have now paid for the rental value of the attire she wore to the Met Gala and for the goods and services she and her partner received in connection with this September 2021 event, payment for these goods and services did not occur until after the OCE contacted her in connection with this review.”
The office noted that Ocasio-Cortez may have not paid for “several thousands of dollars’ worth of goods and services provided to her.”
Vogue's Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour invited Ocasio-Cortez to the 2021 Met Gala as a guest. The report noted that Ocasio-Cortez was invited to the event in 2019, but couldn't attend, and the gala was canceled in 2020 as a result of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In response to the ethics office review, Ocasio-Cortez's counsel said that the matter isn't a violation of House rules because the Squad member told the ethics office that in advance of the event, a determination was made by her team and counsel, “that she would be personally paying for the attire and services she received in connection with the Met Gala.”
Council for Ocasio-Cortez David Mitrani said, “Though no Ethics violation has been found, the Office of Congressional Ethics (“OCE”) did identify 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.”
He added, “While regrettable, this matter definitively does not rise to the level of a violation of House Rules or of federal law. 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.”