The House Ethics Committee has launched an investigation into New York Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, according to a press release issued December 7. The committee has noted that the investigation does not imply a violation has occurred.
The short statement concluded by stating that its course of action will be announced in the incoming 118th Congress, when Republicans will gain control of the lower chamber by a narrow margin.
The brief statement comes after a number of conservative groups have requested that the committee look into AOC’s attendance at the Met Gala in September 2021 where she comped $35,000 tickets and sported a designer-made “Tax the Rich” dress, according to Daily Mail.
A spokesperson for the congresswoman said that she was confident the case would be dismissed.
“The Congresswoman has always taken ethics incredibly seriously, refusing any donations from lobbyists, corporations, or other special interests,” AOC’s spokesperson said.
At least three conservative groups reportedly filed complaints with the House Ethics Committee after the event. Kendra Arnold, the executive director of the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, said that AOC’s attendance violated the House gift rule.
The congresswoman reportedly sat next to Vogue’s editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, who organizes the event to fundraise for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute.
“This is a case where the Member’s own words should trigger an investigation—not only did she state that she did not pay for an item, she also implied that she was given the ticket because of her ‘responsibilities in overseeing’ the gift-giver,” Arnold said, adding that the House’s gift rule was designed to prevent such a situation.
The National Legal and Policy Center (NPLC) and the American Accountability Foundation also filed complaints to the committee.
The NPLC complaint stated that the congresswoman violated the House gifts rule when she and her boyfriend accepted the invitation, including gifts before, during, and after the event, such as “the use of custom-designed dress, limousine service, the use of the Carlyle Hotel, professional hair and makeup services, and any other related services or goods.”
The House Ethics Committee did not specify if these complaints triggered the investigation.
The committee is also looking into allegations that New York Democrat Rep. Carolyn Maloney solicited an invitation to the 2016 Met Gala. When she had been cut from the list that year, she reportedly made a call to Emily Rafferty, who was then the president of the Met.
Maloney claims that she does not recall making the call. A spokesperson also said that she is confident the case will be dismissed.