A nonpartisan congressional agency found "substantial reason to believe" New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez broke federal law by receiving "impermissible gifts" associated with her appearance at the Met Gala in 2021.
The House Office of Congressional Ethics declared on Thursday that AOC "may have accepted impermissible gifts associated with her attendance at the Met Gala in 2021."
"Rep. Ocasio-Cortez received a series of goods and services which she did not pay for until the OCE opened this review," the House Office of Congressional Ethics proclaimed in its report.
The report found that Ocasio-Cortez was provided a dress, handbag, shoes, jewelry, hairstyling, makeup, transportation, and ready-room services at no charge as part of her attending the Met Gala.
AOC made headlines for attending the fashion event for elites while wearing a Brother Vellies white dress with "Tax the Rich" written in red on the back.
The report also found that AOC's longtime partner, Riley Roberts, received a bowtie and shoes for the event attended by Hollywood glitterati.
The ethics report noted that Ocasio-Cortez paid for the goods and services — but only after the House Office of Congressional Ethics contacted her after opening a probe into her Met Gala gifts. The ethics watchdog suggested that AOC may not have paid for the gifts worth thousands of dollars unless the probe was launched.
The ethics probe into the Democratic socialist's gifts associated with the $35,000-a-plate Met Gala, where she was hobnobbing with in-vogue celebrities, was initiated in December 2022.
"If Rep. Ocasio-Cortez accepted impermissible gifts, then she may have violated House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law," the report stated.
The Board of the Office of Congressional Ethics advised the Committee on Ethics to investigate the allegations further to determine if any wrongdoing was committed.
"The Board recommends that the Committee further review the above allegation concerning Rep. Ocasio-Cortez because there is substantial reason to believe that she accepted impermissible gifts associated with her attendance at the Met Gala in 2021," the report advised.
AOC allegedly blamed a campaign staffer for not paying for the dress and other items.
"And 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 told investigators, according to Insider. "And it is just a deeply regrettable situation. I feel l terrible for especially the small businesses that were impacted."
Ocasio-Cortez’s office confessed that it was late to make payments for the gifts, but doesn't believe the Democratic congresswoman violated House rules.
"The congresswoman finds these delays unacceptable, and she has taken several steps to ensure nothing of this nature will happen again," AOC's Communications Director, Lauren Hitt, said in a statement.
"Even after OCE’s exhaustive review of the congresswoman’s personal communications, there is no record of the congresswoman refusing to pay for these expenses," Hitt continued. "To the contrary, there are several explicit, documented communications, from prior to OCE’s review, that show the congresswoman understood that she had to pay for these expenses from her own personal funds—as she ultimately did. We are confident the Ethics Committee will dismiss this matter."
The Board of the Office of Congressional Ethics recommended the Committee on Ethics issue subpoenas to three witnesses who did not cooperate in the investigation — Aurora James, Brother Vellies, and Janna Pea.
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