A lawyer representing Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has blasted a move to launch an ethics investigation into her expenses in relation to the 2021 Met Gala she attended.
According to reports, the Democratic representative from New York is now under investigation by the House Ethics Committee in relation to her appearance at the Met Gala fundraiser in 2021. The probe was reportedly announced last year but didn’t specify what it was looking into. But in documents released on Thursday (March 2) it was mentioned that Ocasio-Cortez’s “Tax the Rich” dress along with shoes, jewelry and a handbag along with hairstyling for the event was in question.
Her boyfriend Riley Roberts was also provided with a bowtie and a suit for the event. The announcement of the probe came on the same day it was announced that the committee was looking into controversial Republican Representative George Santos.
“This matter definitely does not rise to the level of a violation of House Rules or of federal law. No Ethics violation has been found,” said David Mitriani, a lawyer representing Ocasio-Cortez in a letter sent to the chief counsel of the House Ethics Committee. The congresswoman had previously retained counsel to help her ensure that House rules were followed prior to the Met Gala.
But while the items she and her now-fiancée received are now paid for, there was a delay in those payments until months after the investigation began last year. Vendors involved had sent out invoices to her office which weren’t answered. Ocasio-Cortez stated that “there was a ball that was dropped” and that it was a “regrettable” situation. “I feel l terrible for especially the small businesses that were impacted,” she told investigators. A former staffer with her office accepted responsibility. “I think the delay there for me was I didn’t have access to her personal credit card at that moment,” the staffer said.
A spokesperson for her office, Lauren Hitt, said: “However, while regrettable, these delayed payments definitively do not rise to the level of a violation of House rules. 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. 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.”