Congressional Investigators Say AOC’s Met Gala Dress May Have Been ‘Impermissible Gift’
Congressional investigators have extended their consideration to Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.), after the Office of Congressional Ethics concluded that Ocasio-Cortez’s Met Gala 2021 dress had could be an inappropriate gift.
“Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may have received unacceptable gifts in connection with her attendance at the Met Gala in 2021,” the OCE panel wrote on Thursday afternoon. ruling, was unanimously adopted in a 5-0 vote. “If Representative Ocasio-Cortez accepted unauthorized gifts, she may have violated House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law.”
For further action, the panel recommended that the Ethics Committee “further review the above allegation”. But that doesn’t mean the Ethics Committee will officially open an investigation, which would require a vote to empower a subcommittee. Although widespread reporting immediately described the announcement as an ethics investigation, the Ethics Committee issued a statement that explicitly made no mention of forming a subcommittee to review Ocasio- Cortez. Instead, the leaders just said they would review the case.
First Ethics Committee announced it will extend its review on December 7, starting the 45-day clock to decide whether to open an investigation. That clock stopped when the new Congress took control on January 3, allowing the committee to formally hold for the current term. The commission took that step on Tuesday, restarting the clocks and leaving about 20 days to make a decision on whether to open a substantive investigation.
Ocasio-Cortez spokeswoman Lauren Hitt told The Daily Beast that Ocasio-Cortez has “cooperated fully” with the investigation. “We believe the Ethics Committee will dismiss this matter,” she said in an emailed statement.
Ocasio-Cortez blamed miscommunication with her staff for what she described as a billing incident.
“I never allowed that to happen knowing what I had learned, but I didn’t know about the bills, didn’t know about the bills that were sent,” she said. “And it was just a very unfortunate situation. I feel terrible for small businesses especially those affected.”
OCE investigators also found that payment for a $477 hair appointment related to the Met Gala was also not paid in a timely manner.
Notably, on February 27, 2023 letters before the Ethics Committee, Ocasio-Cortez’s legal counsel, David Mitrani, admitted to the Office of Congressional Ethics that there had been “delays in paying suppliers for related costs. to the Congresswoman attending the Met Gala.”
“The Congresswoman finds these delays unacceptable and she has taken several steps to ensure nothing like this happens again,” he said. He added that the incident involved the controversial dress, which said “Taxing the rich,” definitely not “to the extent of violating House Rules or federal law.”
But OCE investigators seem to disagree.
In the next one Press Release from the Chairman of the Ethics Committee, Representative Michael Guest (R-MS) and Senior Member of the House of Representatives Susan Wild (D-PA), the committee leaders said Ethics will look into the matter, Note that a final judgment has not been made. But the Ethics Committee did not open a formal investigation—a step it was not afraid to take with Rep. George Santos (R-NY).
Almost simultaneously with the news of Ocasio-Cortez, the Ethics Committee announced it had unanimously voted to create a dedicated investigative subcommittee for Santos.
Santos, the freshman lawmaker who ran for office resume of almost pure fictionwill face a formal investigation from the Ethics Committee.