AOC may have violated House rules at Met Gala, watchdog says

The House Ethics Committee extended its investigation into Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over allegations that she violated congressional rules by accepting “impermissible gifts” at the 2021 Met Gala, NBC News reports.

The Democratic Congresswoman from New York made headlines at the 2021 Met Ball with her white Brother Vellies dress that displayed the slogan “tax the rich” on the back.

The Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) released an 18-page report that states the board found “substantial reason to believe that she accepted impermissible gifts.” 

Ocasio-Cortez denies violating House rules. Her office said it was confident the matter would be dismissed.

A review began after the New York Congress member was provided with “a couture dress, handbag, shoes, and jewelry” at the New York City event, along with “hair, makeup, transportation, and ready-room services,” per the report. 

Her partner “received a bowtie and shoes in advance of the event.”

The OCE referred Ocasio-Cortez to the Ethics Committee for an investigation last June and House Ethics Committee Chair Michael Guest and acting ranking member Rep. Susan Wild (D-Pa.) decided in December to further investigate the allegations.

“If Rep. Ocasio-Cortez accepted impermissible gifts, then she may have violated House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law,” the report states.

The panel said that while she appeared to have now paid for the rental value of the attire, goods, and services, payment for those goods and services did not occur until after the OCE contacted her in connection with the review. 

House rules prohibit members from accepting gifts of “gratuity, favor, discount, entertainment, hospitality, loan, forbearance, or other items having monetary value.”

The Ethics Committee made it clear Thursday that the extension of its review — separate from the one conducted by the ethics office — “does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee.”

“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 happen again,” a statement from AOC’s office said.

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