AOC In Trouble? – Earlier this year, New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was the subject of an ethics complaint filed by the Heritage Foundation for “falsely accusing” and “defaming’ a social media content creator. The complaint argued that the firebrand lawmaker had violated House ethics rules by “knowingly and intentionally defaming Chaya Raichik, creator of the viral Libs of TikTok account, falsely accusing her of lying and disseminating disinformation.”
At issue was that Ocasio-Cortez claimed Raichik was lying during a House Oversight and Accountability Committee hearing last month.
“Are you aware… that from August 11th to August 16th that account posted false information about Boston Children’s Hospital claiming that they were providing hysterectomies to children?” Ocasio-Cortez asked. “And are you aware that this lie was then circulated by other prominent far-right influences?”
AOC: Ethics Complaint?
The nine-page complaint by The Heritage Foundation essentially defended Raichik’s view that Boston Children’s Hospital was actually performing gender-affirming hysterectomies on young girls.
“Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s accusation that the tweet contained false information is itself outrightly false on its face. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez knowingly made this allegation in bad faith,” the Heritage complaint noted, adding that Ocasio-Cortez “recklessly blamed Ms. Raichik and her tweet for the actions of other people reacting to Boston Children’s Hospital’s video, claiming that it fueled threats and harassment towards the hospital and its staff and incited violence against ‘trans and LGBT people.'”
The Heritage Foundation has called for the Office of Congressional Ethics to reprimand Ocasio-Cortez, while the complaint was also meant to remind other lawmakers that false accusations should not be tolerated. The foundation further called upon Ocasio-Cortez to apologize to Raichik.
The complaint came just a month after a House Ethics Committee disclosed in early March that it had extended its review of Ocasio-Cortez’s appearance at the 2021 Met Gala following an allegation that she may have accepted impermissible gifts associated with the event.
Past Legal Woes
This is hardly the first time Ocasio-Cortez has been in the spotlight for her use of social media. In 2019, she was forced to apologize for blocking the Twitter account of a former Brooklyn assemblyman. That apology came after a federal appeals court made a landmark ruling that then-President Donald Trump violated the Constitution by blocking critics on the social media platform.
The ruling set a precedent that any elected official – from a local mayor to the president of the United States – may not block a constituent on Twitter as it would violate the constituent’s First Amendment rights to express his/her views.
In March, Ocasio-Cortez was again sued – that time by comedian Alex Stein – after she blocked his Twitter account last year. Stein has a history of confronting politicians.
Strange Bedfellows Indeed
Even as Ocasio-Cortez’s ethics and potential legal battles continue, on Tuesday, she received support from an unlikely ally, Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz.
Last week, Ocasio-Cortez and Gaetz were two of the sponsors of the Bipartisan Restoring Faith in Government Act, which would prohibit members of Congress from owning and trading individual stocks.
The fact that the two lawmakers found common ground on anything surprised many, including a pair of hosts on Fox News, who made light of it.
In a Tuesday episode of his “Firebrand” podcast, the Florida Republican said he disliked how Fox News hosts — Greg Gutfeld and Jeanine Pirro on “The Five” — humorously speculated that Gaetz would end his marriage with his wife, Ginger Luckey, and marry Ocasio-Cortez instead, Insider reported.
“I have got a bone to pick with The Five,” Gaetz said in his podcast, speaking with fellow Republican Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona.
“And it does seem a little childish to me that the media always has to over-sexualize everything that AOC is involved with,” Gaetz noted. “They wouldn’t do that to men, and two people can engage in serious legislation that’s not renaming some post office. We’re trying to make our Congress more honest and more ethical — without that type of, I think, very childish and immature commentary.”
This is also not the first time Gaetz has come to Ocasio-Cortez’s defense, even as the two have historically clashed on their political ideologies. Earlier this month, Gaetz told Fox News Channel’s Jesse Waters that while he believes the New York Congresswoman is wrong about a lot, she is “not corrupt.”
The House Ethics Committee will, of course, make a final decision later this year.
Author Experience and Expertise:
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.