What’s going on with the AOC ethics complaint?: There has not been much reported lately about the reported Congressional ethics investigation into Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez’s attendance at the Met Gala in 2021, but there is a new FCC complaint.
AOC Has Problems For Sure
The star-studded Met Gala took place in New York City on Monday night.
But there’s still unfinished business related to the 2021 edition of the event, which led to a House Ethics investigation into Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY.)
The investigation was first disclosed late last year, when the Democrats still held a majority in the House, although it did not state the nature of the probe.
In early March, the Office of Congressional Ethics released a report stating what was happening: It had to do with AOC’s attendance at the Met Gala in 2021 when she wore a white dress that stated: “Tax the Rich.”
“Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may have accepted impermissible gifts associated with her attendance at the Met Gala in 2021,” the OCE report said. “If Rep. Ocasio-Cortez accepted impermissible gifts, then she may have violated House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law.”
The Congresswoman accepted several items, including “a couture dress, handbag, shoes, and jewelry. She also received hair, makeup, transportation, and ready-room services.” However, she went on to pay in full for all of those items.
“Rep. Ocasio-Cortez told the OCE that a determination was made, in advance of the Met Gala and in conjunction with her team and counsel, that she would be personally paying for the attire and services she received in connection with the Met Gala (as opposed to paying with campaign or official funds,” the March report said, adding that a staffer had been tasked with arranging the payment but had not done so in a timely fashion.
“I just never, ever, ever would have allowed that to happen knowing what I have learned, but that I wasn’t privy to the invoices, wasn’t privy to the ones that had been sent,” AOC said in a statement in early March. “And it is just a deeply regrettable situation. I feel terrible for especially the small businesses that were impacted.”
In a separate letter, in February, AOC’s counsel stated that while they regretted the delayed payments, no crime was committed.
“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 ever happen again,” attorney David Mitrani wrote on AOC’s behalf. “However, while regrettable, this matter definitively does not rise to the level of a violation of House Rules or of federal law. Even after OCE’s exhaustive review of the Congresswoman’s personal communications, there is no evidence that she ever intended to avoid these expenses.”
Little has been revealed in the last few months or so about the status of the ethics investigation, but a report from May says AOC’s 2022 campaign has been accused of concealing campaign expenditures.
According to The Daily Caller, in mid-April, a conservative nonprofit called the Coolidge Reagan Foundation filed an ethics complaint alleging that the campaign concealed $9,600 in campaign credit card expenditures that “lacked information on the purpose of the charges.”
“On numerous occasions throughout 2022, Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez’s authorized candidate committee, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for Congress (‘AOC for Congress’), reported tens of thousands of dollars of disbursements for card payments and card payment reimbursements to Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez herself; American Express; and an entity called ‘Veyond!,’ which appears to have provided virtual reality services and apparently no longer operates under that name,” the campaign alleges.
Expertise and Experience
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.