The Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) says there is “substantial reason to believe” that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) “accepted impermissible gifts associated with her attendance at the Met Gala in 2021,” which “may have violated House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law.”
The report from the OCE, which was voted on unanimously (5-0), revealed that the allegations will be further reviewed after “substantial reason to believe” she “may have violated House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law” when she “received a series of goods and services which she did not pay for” until after there was an investigation into her appearance at the 2021 Met Gala.
The OCE 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. But for the OCE opening this review, it appears that Rep. Ocasio-Cortez may not have paid for several thousands of dollars’ worth of goods and services provided to her.
This was the same year AOC attended the Gala wearing a designer dress with the message “Tax the Rich” emblazoned across the back. The dress was designed by Aurora James of Brother Vellies, who has an estimated net worth of $9 million.
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Executive Director of the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, Kendra Arnold, who was among the people that filed an ethics complaint about AOC attending the event, said she is “thankful” the OCE followed through with an investigation and “found substantial evidence that Rep. Ocasio-Cortez violated House rules by accepting impermissible gifts” in connection to her attendance.
“The gift rule is crystal clear and serves to deter outside actors from gaining influence over members of Congress,” Arnold added. “It is never ok for any Member to accept thousands of dollars of free designer clothes and services to attend an exclusive high society event–this obviously includes Rep. Ocasio-Cortez.”