On Thursday, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was hit with another wave of ethics complaints associated with her attendance at the Met Gala event on Monday. In a nutshell, a conservative watchdog claimed AOC violated House rules in relation to accepting gifts.
Ocasio-Cortez “improperly accepted” gift from a table sponsor
The National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) filed a complaint to the Office of Congressional Ethics; this complaint is alleging that the Democrat representative “improperly accepted” gifts from a table sponsor.
A conservative watchdog group files an ethics complaint against Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, claiming she violated congressional rules by attending the Met Gala. https://t.co/fRPND4lUut
— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 15, 2021
The House rules allow members to receive free passes to charity events directly from the organizers of the function. According to a report from the Washington Post on Tuesday, Ocasio-Cortez and her boyfriend, Riley Roberts, received a direct invitation from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
However, the NLPC contended that it is the sponsor of the table who gifted or underwrote the prestigious seat to Ocasio-Cortez at the Gala. They added if her table was paid for by one of the corporations at the event, such as Facebook or Instagram, Ocasio-Cortez received a forbidden token from the corporation which also lobbies Congress.
NLPC: Ocasio-Cortez received the invite and the gown in direct relation to her position in the House
The complaint by the NLPC further alleged that the “borrowed” Brother Vellies white gown worn by Ocasio-Cortez with “Tax The Rich” written on the back likewise constitutes an impermissible gift.
This claim was made since the gown was gifted in direct relation to her position in the House, being a controversial and highly visible member.
The complaint added that if Ocasio-Cortez was not a member of the House, she wouldn’t have been invited to attend the Gala. Also, even if Ocasio-Cortez would’ve been invited to the event as a private individual, the designer of the gown wouldn’t have made that special dress for AOC to wear at the Gala.
The NLPC likewise claimed that the New York representative might have also violated House rules through means of accepting other related gifts, during, before, or after the Gala. Included among these is the use of Carlyle Hotel, limousine service, professional makeup and hair services, and other related goods or services.
The complaints received by the Office of Congressional Ethics can be referred to the House Ethics Committee for additional review. The appearance of Ocasio-Cortez at the ritzy Met Gala event (where tables start at $200,000 and tickets cost $35,000) provoked criticism from all political sides.
“In an ethics complaint, Thomas Jones, founder of the American Accountability Foundation, said he believes Ocasio-Cortez, who represents parts of the Bronx and Queens, broke House rules by accepting 'an impermissible gift' of free tickets to attend the annual gala.”
— Janice Dean (@JaniceDean) September 15, 2021
The complaint filed by the NLPC is not the only one. The American Accountability Foundation also filed a similar complaint on Tuesday. Thomas Jones alleged that although the event was hosted by Met, the Museum gained control of the invitations that go to a for-profit company.
This particularly includes Condé Nast and Anna Wintour, its Chief Content Officer. Jones also alleged that Instagram was able to buy Ocasio-Cortez access to the elite event that is not available to average citizens, by giving out tables at the Gala.