Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) is facing accusations that she has violated congressional ethics rules after it was discovered her congressional office created an official government email account for her boyfriend, Riley Roberts.
What are the details?
Conservative Luke Thompson made the discovery this week and tweeted it Friday, quickly generating a response from Ocasio-Cortez herself.
While you were having a nice Valentine's Day, @AOC decided to put her boyfriend on staff - drawing a salary on the… https://t.co/vlRsZLrajF— Luke Thompson (@Luke Thompson)1550238841.0
"Actually this cal designation is a permission so he can have access to my Google Cal. Congressional spouses get Gcal access all the time," Ocasio-Cortez replied. "Next time check your facts before you tweet nonsense."
For the record, Roberts is not Ocasio-Cortez's spouse; he is only her boyfriend.
The discovery led to widespread scrutiny and accusations that Ocasio-Cortez violated House ethics rules, which allow "only U.S. House of Representative Members, Officers, Employees, Fellows, Interns, and Contractors who have received permission under the appropriate Hiring Authority are authorized users of the House's electronic mail systems and resources."
But according to Saikat Chakrabarti — Ocasio-Cortez's chief-of-staff — Roberts is not on Ocasio-Cortez's congressional payroll, nor is he a member of her staff in any capacity.
"He's not paid. We have no volunteers in the office. He's not doing any government work. He can see her calendar just like spouses/partners/family members in other congressional office. Check your d**n facts before you report bull***t. Lazy journos need to learn to do their jobs," Chakrabarti wrote on Twitter.
Indeed, David O'Boyle, the spokesperson for the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer, told Fox News:
From time to time, at the request of members, spouses and partners are provided House email accounts for the purposes of viewing the member's calendar.
Still, many were left scratching their heads because Roberts similarly appeared in the staff database for Ocasio-Cortez's congressional office.
Hey @AOC - A friend of mine who works in the House just sent me this screenshot of your staff directory from the in… https://t.co/6MsT4iXELZ— Andrew Surabian (@Andrew Surabian)1550257360.0
Do Ocasio-Cortez's claims make sense?
Former top House Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Calif.) told Fox News they do not.
"It's totally naïve and inappropriate – you wouldn't allow it in most companies, let alone the House of Representatives. There should be real consequences," he said.
"When I was in the House, my scheduler would forward my wife my schedule once a week. But you're not allowed unfettered access. And he isn't even her spouse. ... It should be referred to the ethics committee for further investigation," he explained.
How did the mainstream media cover the story?
The Washington Post claimed it was merely another instance of conservatives "obsessing over" Ocasio-Cortez.
Conservatives can’t stop obsessing over Ocasio-Cortez. Their latest target: her boyfriend. https://t.co/6I6pScdL9f— The Washington Post (@The Washington Post)1550292062.0