AOC under Investigation by House Ethics Committee

The House Committee on Ethics said Wednesday it is investigating Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.).

The panel released a statement saying the Office of Congressional Ethics forwarded its inquiry into the progressive congresswoman to the panel in June, which typically suggests the office believes an ethics law was violated. It was not immediately clear what the investigation was about.

“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 panel said.

A spokesperson for Ocasio-Cortez brushed off the investigation in a statement provided to Forbes.

“The Congresswoman has always taken ethics incredibly seriously, refusing any donations from lobbyists, corporations, or other special interests,” the spokesperson said.

The committee said in its statement that it plans to “announce its course of action in this matter following its organizational meeting and adoption of Committee Rules in the 118th Congress.”

The panel will take up the issue in the new year, when Republicans assume control of the House.

The American Accountability Foundation previously requested that the Office of Congressional Ethics open an investigation into Ocasio-Cortez for “accepting an impermissible gift to attend the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala,” though it was not immediately clear if Wednesday’s announcement was in connection with that request.

The group wrote in its September 2021 complaint, “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.”

Ethics watchdog Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust also called for a review of Ocasio-Cortez’s Met Gala attendance at that time.

On the same date the Office of Congressional Ethics forwarded its inquiry on Ocasio-Cortez, the office also sent a referral to the House committee regarding Representative Carolyn Maloney (D., N.Y.), for her own attendance at the Met Gala in 2018, 2019 and 2021, the Washington Examiner noted.

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