AOC blames staffer for not paying 2021 Met Gala expenses amid House probe into improperly accepted gifts
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., blamed a member of her staff for not paying the “several thousands of dollars’ worth of goods and services” for her attendance at the 2021 Met Gala.
The House Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) opened an investigation into whether Ocasio-Cortez violated House rules by improperly accepting gifts at the Met Gala, but the congresswoman claimed she was unaware and proceeded to let a staff member take the blame.
While speaking to investigators, Ocasio-Cortez said that she was unaware of unpaid expenses related to the dress she wore and stylists that helped her get ready for the Met Gala in 2021. “I just never, ever, ever would have allowed that to happen knowing what I have learned,” she said. “But I wasn’t privy to the invoices, wasn’t privy to the ones that had been sent.”
“And it is just a deeply regrettable situation,” Ocasio-Cortez continued. “I feel terrible for especially the small businesses that were impacted.”
AOC FACES HOUSE ETHICS PROBE OVER MET GALA, WATCHDOG FINDS ‘SUBSTANTIAL REASON TO BELIEVE’ VIOLATIONS OCCURRED
The Ocasio-Cortez staffer, who reportedly is no longer working for the congresswoman, took responsibility for the unpaid dues.
“I think the delay there for me was I didn’t have access to her personal credit card at that moment,” the staffer told House ethics investigators.
NEW YORK REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ UNDER INVESTIGATION BY HOUSE ETHICS COMMITTEE
“Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may have accepted impermissible gifts associated with her attendance at the Met Gala in 2021. If Rep. Ocasio-Cortez accepted impermissible gifts, then she may have violated House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law,” the complaint read.
House Rule XXIII, clause 4, state that “a Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee of the House may not accept gifts except as provided by clause 5 of Rule XXV.” The House ethics office report details that under House rules, “the term ‘gift’ means a gratuity, favor, discount, entertainment, hospitality, loan, forbearance, or other item having monetary value. The term includes gifts of services, training, transportation, lodging, and meals, whether provided in kind, by purchase of a ticket, payment in advance, or reimbursement after the expense has been incurred.”
According to the report from the OCE, “in 2021, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez was invited to and attended the Met Gala with Mr. Roberts. As part of her attendance, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez was provided with a couture dress, handbag, shoes, and jewelry. She also received hair, makeup, transportation, and ready-room services. Riley Roberts received a bowtie and shoes in advance of the event.”
While the outstanding balance was eventually paid, it was not until after the congresswoman was contacted by the OCE.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
“While Rep. Ocasio-Cortez appears to have now paid for the rental value of the attire she wore to the Met Gala and for the goods and services she and her partner received in connection with this September 2021 event, payment for these goods and services did not occur until after the OCE contacted her in connection with this review,” the ethics office said.
Fox News’ Adam Sabes and Chad Pergram contributed to this report.