House Ethics Committee Investigates Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Over 'Tax the Rich' Dress

Sara Irshad
Photo byPhoto by Ray Tamarra/GC Images

The House Ethics Committee has investigated Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for allegedly accepting gifts that were not permissible as part of her attendance at the Met Gala in 2021. This event made headlines after the congresswoman wore a dress with the words "Tax the Rich" emblazoned.

Although the investigation was announced late last year, it initially did not specify what it was looking into. However, the ethics committee also announced an investigation into Republican Rep. George Santos for alleged violations of federal conflict of interest laws and sexual misconduct on the same day.

According to a report by the Board of the Office of Congressional Ethics, Ocasio-Cortez received a handbag, shoes, jewelry, hair-styling services, and her now-famous dress as part of her attendance at the gala. House rules prohibit members from accepting gifts, making this a serious matter.

Despite Ocasio-Cortez retaining a lawyer to ensure compliance with House rules before the event, she only paid for the items she and her now-fiancé received after months of delay, and the investigation began. As per the report, vendors had repeatedly contacted her campaign office for payment without receiving a response.

Ocasio-Cortez has acknowledged the situation as "deeply regrettable" and stated that "there was a ball that was dropped" over payment delays. She has since paid for the items and taken steps to ensure that nothing of this nature happens again.

The Board of the Office of Congressional Ethics recommended that the ethics committee interview vendors who did not cooperate with the initial probe. In response, Lauren Hitt, a spokesperson for Ocasio-Cortez, stated that the delayed payments do not violate House rules. There are documented communications showing the congresswoman understood that she had to pay for these expenses from her funds.

Given the ongoing investigation into Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over allegedly accepting impermissible gifts at the Met Gala, it remains to be seen what action the House Ethics Committee will take. Although she has since paid for the items, the controversy still lingers. It is essential to follow the outcome of this investigation, which could have significant consequences for the congresswoman.

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