The House Office of Congressional Ethics has found that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez might have violated federal law in relation to her 2021 appearance at the Met Gala.
Ocasio-Cortez notably appeared at the star-studded event wearing a dress emblazoned with the words “Tax the Rich.”
The House Ethics Committee announced in December that it was looking into the New York Democrat. The OCE confirmed on Thursday that it had recommended an investigation into Ocasio-Cortez’s appearance at the Met Gala, according to the Washington Examiner.
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The office’s initial investigation found that there was “substantial reason to believe that she accepted impermissible gifts associated with her attendance at the Met Gala in 2021.”
The lawmaker did not pay some vendors until the ethics office inquired about the matter, which she acknowledged through an attorney.
The OCE produced an interview it had conducted with Ocasio-Cortez in May and correspondence regarding her attendance at the gala.
The office voted 5-0 in June to recommend a further review of the matter.
In a letter to the ethics office, David Mitrani, counsel for Ocasio-Cortez, said his client did not break the law.
“Though no Ethics violation has been found, the Office of Congressional Ethics (‘OCE’) did identify that there were delays in paying vendors for costs associated with the Congresswoman’s attendance at the Met Gala,” Mitrani wrote.
“The Congresswoman finds these delays unacceptable, and she has taken several steps to ensure nothing of this nature will ever happen again,” he continued.
Mitrani said Ocasio-Cortez’s actions “definitively [do] not rise to the level of a violation of House Rules or of federal law.”
“Even after OCE’s exhaustive review of the Congresswoman’s personal communications, there is no evidence that she ever intended to avoid these expenses,” Mitrani wrote.
He concluded, “To the contrary, the record clearly shows that the Congresswoman always understood that she had to pay for these expenses personally. … We are confident the Committee on Ethics will dismiss this matter.”
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