Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee, though the committee has not yet made clear the details of the investigation.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the House Ethics Committee announced that the Office of Congressional Ethics had forwarded an inquiry to the Ethics Committee on June 23, 2022. This detail suggests that the office believes that Ocasio-Cortez has violated the House Ethics rules.
🚨BREAKING: AOC is under a House Ethics Investigation pic.twitter.com/FFHfinqFJm
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) December 7, 2022
According to the Committee’s statement, Acting Chairwoman Susan Wild (D-PA) and Acting Ranking Member Michael Guest (R-MI) “jointly decided to extend the matter regarding Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, which was transmitted to the Committee by the Office of Congressional Ethics on June 23, 2022.”
“The Committee notes that the mere fact of a referral or an extension, and the mandatory disclosure of such an extension and the name of the subject of the matter, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee,” the statement continued.
The statement went on to note that the committee will “announce its course of action in this matter following its organizational meeting and adoption of Committee Rules in the 118th Congress.”
While it is unclear at the moment what the focus of the investigation into Ocasio-Cortez is, several ethics watchdog organizations have filed complaints against the Democrat congresswoman over a “gift” she received when she attended the 2021 Met Gala.
After her infamous appearance at the decadent and exclusive event, in which Ocasio-Cortez was seen wearing an expensive white gown with the words “tax the rich” emblazoned on it in red, it was revealed that the Democrat congresswoman did not pay to attend.
In their complaints, the ethics groups asserted that Ocasio-Cortez had received “an impermissible gift” by not paying to attend the event, despite the fact that tickets reportedly ranged from $35,000 to $50,000.
House Ethics rules state that members of Congress are not allowed to accept gifts unless they fall under certain exemptions, such as “widely attended events” or charity functions.
In a September 2021 complaint against Ocasio-Cortez, the American Accountability Foundation wrote: “Specifically, we believe Representative Ocasio-Cortez has violated clause 5 of Rule XXV of the Rules of the House of Representatives (commonly known as the Gift Rule) by accepting admission to the Met Gala, an event whose per seat costs is reported to range from $35,000 to $50,000, without having a permissible exemption to allow the acceptance of the lavish gift.”
The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), an ethics watchdog group, has also called for an ethics review in response to the Democrat congresswoman’s attendance at the Met Gala.
“The gift rule for members of Congress is very clear and is in place for good reason,” FACT executive director Kendra Arnold said at the time. “Members simply cannot accept anything of value that isn’t on the short list of permitted items. This is a case where the member’s own words should trigger an investigation—not only did she state that she did not pay for an item, she also implied that she was given the ticket because of her’ responsibilities in overseeing’ the gift-giver. This entire situation is exactly what the House’s gift rule is designed to prevent.”
In a statement to Business Insider, Ocasio-Cortez spokeswoman Lauren Hitt said that the Democrat congresswoman’s office is “confident” that the investigation will be dismissed.
“The Congresswoman has always taken ethics incredibly seriously, refusing any donations from lobbyists, corporations, or other special interests,” Hitt said. “We are confident that this matter will be dismissed.”