Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D–N.Y.) made headlines for her dress this week, but that media frenzy has obscured the real story: an ethics complaint against Ocasio-Cortez.
Ocasio-Cortez attended the glitzy, glamorous Met Gala on Monday night, and she faced a complaint from the the American Accountability Foundation (AAF): a conservative, nonpartisan group of watchdogs.
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The foundation accused the Congresswoman of violating the something called the gift rule. More specifically, the group took issue with her accepting a designer dress and a $35,000 ticket, and it called for a probe
“The gift rule permits House Members and employees to accept an invitation of free attendance at ‘widely attended events’ from the event sponsor,” the House Ethics Committee says on its website. “In short, to accept free attendance, the event must (1) have at least 25 non-Hill attendees; (2) be open to the public or to a wide range of individuals; (3) be connected to one’s House duties.”
The AAF submitted a letter to the committee on Tuesday.
The group’s founder Thomas Jones accused Ocasio-Cortez of neglecting to request “a permissible exemption to allow the acceptance of the lavish gift,” he wrote in the letter. “If Representative Occasion-Cortez has used campaign funds to pay for this ticket, she has also violated FEC prohibitions on campaign funds being used for entertainment purposes. Without prompt investigation and enforcement of Congressional Rules, the American people are likely to lose faith in the ability of Congress to police its members.”
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The foundation announced on Twitter, “We filed a formal complaint against AOC for her blatant ethics violations at the NYC Met Gala. Her $35,000 ticket and custom designer gown fail to meet any definition of ‘official duties’, and warrant a full investigation into her attendance.”
Ocasio-Cortez pre-emptively fired at her critics.
She tweeted, “Before haters get wild flying off the handle, New York elected officials are routinely invited to and attend the Met due to our responsibilities in overseeing and supporting the city’s cultural institutions for the public. I was one of several in attendance in this evening.”
And before haters get wild flying off the handle, New York elected officials are routinely invited to and attend the Met due to our responsibilities in overseeing and supporting the city’s cultural institutions for the public. I was one of several in attendance in this evening.????
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) September 14, 2021
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Other Congressmembers joined the socialist superstar at the Met Gala. Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D–N.Y.) also attended. She carried a green purse emblazoned with the slogan “ERA Yes,” a reference to the failed Equal Rights Amendment of the 1970s.
Maloney appears on the bottom right. Cortez, on the bottom left —
Think we can all agree “activism” is kinda over and generally embarrassing tbh pic.twitter.com/7XV4NN7ho5
— Thomas (@thomasfreeboy) September 14, 2021
It remains unclear whether Ocasio-Cortez accepted the ticket for free. Perhaps the probe will clarify.
The Horn editorial team