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AOC ethics investigation results: ‘substantial’ reason to believe she broke federal law

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) speaks during the Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., on June 12, 2019. (Stefani Reynolds/CNP/Zuma Press/TNS)
March 02, 2023

There is “substantial reason to believe” that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) accepted impermissible gifts from her attendance at the 2021 Met Gala, possibly in violation of federal law, according to a newly disclosed report.

The progressive congresswoman has for months been facing an ethics investigation over her attendance at the event. On Wednesday, the House Committee on Ethics published a detailed report on the situation produced by the nonpartisan Office of Congressional Ethics.

READ MORE: Rep. Ocasio-Cortez responds to being investigated by House ethics committee

While attending the gala, Ocasio-Cortez received several thousand dollars’ worth of goods and services, including a custom dress, that she did not pay for until after an investigation was opened, according to the report.

The report said that while attending the gala, Ocasio-Cortez received and did not pay for the following goods and services:

  • Transportation from her home to Carlyle Hotel
  • Access to a ready room at the hotel on the day of the gala, as well as the Saturday prior
  • Hair and makeup services
  • A dress, handbag, shoes, and jewelry from Brother Vellies
  • Transportation from the gala to the hotel

Her now-fiancé, Riley Roberts, also received a pair of shoes and bowtie from Brother Vellies for attending the event, the report said.

OCE stated that Ocasio-Cortez “appears to have now paid” the rental value of her attire and services she and Roberts received, but raised the possibility that she “may not have paid” if investigators had not contacted her.

The OCE referred the matter to the House Committee on Ethics in June, and the committee extended its review of the referral on Dec. 7. The committee noted in a press release that the extension “does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred.”

Ocasio-Cortez attended the Met Gala in September 2021 and drew attention with her white dress that said “Tax the Rich” in large red letters. 

In a statement, Ocasio-Cortez’s legal counsel admitted “delays in paying vendors” for gala costs, adding that the “congresswoman finds these delays unacceptable, and she has taken several steps to ensure nothing of this nature will ever happen again.”

This was a breaking news story. The details were periodically updated as more information became available.