Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), in post-travel disclosure forms to the House Ethics Committee, described her fiancé Riley Roberts as her “spouse,” despite not being married to him.
Ocasio-Cortez listed Roberts as her “spouse” for a February trip to Japan and South Korea funded by the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation and an August trip to South America, funded by George Soros‘ Foundation to Promote Open Society and the Center for Economic and Policy Research, according to the forms. Roberts allegedly paid his own expenses.
But the committee uses a strict definition of the term “spouse,” which is “someone to whom you are legally married.” There was a box for “Other” that AOC could have checked, with an option to write in “fiancé,” according to the form.
The snafu is drawing attention because AOC has positioned herself as a champion of ethics in Congress, and willful misrepresentations on disclosure forms could subject her to criminal prosecution.
According to the report:
Willful misrepresentations in congressional financial disclosure forms could result in civil penalties of up to $50,000, or, in extreme cases, imprisonment of up to five years, according to the House Ethics Committee. Ocasio-Cortez could also be reprimanded by the committee or be censured by a majority vote of the House if she intentionally concealed her husband’s finances from the public, said Paul Kamenar, an attorney for the National Legal and Policy Center.
Ocasio-Cortez also reportedly made two references to her “spouse” in her 2022 financial disclosure forms reporting a trip to Venice, Italy, where she said she paid for their flight expenses. The pair appears to have attended a four-day art conference sponsored by the Mara Foundation, a Los Angeles-based charity.