AOC Gets Hit With Ethics Complaint For Accepting Tickets To NYC’s Met Gala

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez just got hit with an ethics complaint for allegedly violating Congressional guidelines by accepting free tickets to New York City’s exclusive Met Gala.

To keep her base in her pocket, so as to not upset her racket, she wrote ‘tax the rich’ on her dress. Thomas Jones, founder of the American Accountability Foundation, is asking the Office of Congressional Ethics to launch an investigation of AOC and her Met tickets.

The complaint says: As has been widely publicized, Representative Ocasio-Cortez on September 13, 2021 attended the Met Gala. She proactively stated that she attended the as part of her official duties conducting oversight.

Since Representative Ocasio-Cortez is defining her attendance at the Met Gala to be part of her official activities, the receipt of the gift must fall under the widely-attended event or charity event exemptions as defined in House Rule 25.5(a)(4):

(4)(A) A Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee of the House may accept an offer of free attendance at a widely attended convention, conference, symposium, forum, panel discussion, dinner, viewing, reception, or similar event, provided by the sponsor of the event, if—

(i) the Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee of the House participates in the event as a speaker or a panel participant, by presenting information related to Congress or matters before Congress, or by performing a ceremonial function appropriate to the official position of such individual; or

(ii) attendance at the event is appropriate to the performance of the official duties or representative function of the Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee of the House.

(B) A Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee of the House who attends an event described in subdivision (A) may accept a sponsor’s unsolicited offer of free attendance at the event for an accompanying individual.

(C) A Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee of the House, or the spouse or dependent thereof, may accept a sponsor’s unsolicited offer of free attendance at a charity event, except that reimbursement for transportation and lodging may not be accepted in connection with the event unless—

(i) all of the net proceeds of the event are for the benefit of an organization described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and exempt from taxation under section 501(a) of such Code;

(ii) reimbursement for the transportation and lodging in connection with the event is paid by such organization; and

(iii) the offer of free attendance at the event is made by such organization.

(D) In this paragraph the term “free attendance” may include waiver of all or part of a conference or other fee, the provision of local transportation, or the provision of food, refreshments, entertainment, and instructional materials furnished to all attendees as an integral part of the event. The term does not include entertainment collateral to the event, nor does it include food or refreshments taken other than in a group setting with all or substantially all other attendees.

AOC’s invite fails on both the widely-attended event exemption and the charitable entity exemption. On the widely-attended event exemption, House Ethics Guidance states, the event, “be open to the public or to a wide range of individuals.”

The New York Times quickly puts to rest any misunderstanding that the public or a wide range of individuals are invited to this event stating: 

Who does get to go? This year, about 400 Chosen Ones, on a guest list guarded with the obsessive secrecy of the Illuminati members roll. But keep an eye out for Tracee Ellis Ross, ASAP Rocky, Lourdes Leon, Taraji P. Henson and Simone Biles.

There has been speculation that Representative Ocasio-Cortez may have paid for the tickets to the Gala with campaign funds, if this is true, then she has violated FEC guidelines and the matter should be referred to the Federal Election Commission for an enforcement action.

The Met Gala was clearly an entertainment event, evidenced by the fact that its participants are nearly entirely in the entertainment industry. As Vogue points out this is an event that centers  around entertainment, “The event welcomes stars, young creatives, and industry paragons.”

Were there any doubt that last night’s event was an entertainment function: [Justin Bieber] took the stage at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Temple of Dendur to perform four of his biggest hits, including “Lonely,” “Hold On,” “Anyone,” and—a real throwback treat—“Baby.”

As the FEC notes, Entertainment expenses are not a permissible use of campaign funds: Entertainment. The campaign may not pay for admission to sporting events, concerts, theater and other forms of entertainment. Campaign funds may be used, however, if the entertainment is part of a specific officeholder or campaign activity. They may not be used for a leisure outing at which the discussion occasionally focuses on the campaign or official functions.

Unless the organizers of the Met want to convert the Met Gala to an event centered on Representative Ocasio-Cortez campaigning (which would be impermissible under their Section 501c(3) status) or an official Congressional function, it is impermissible for campaign funds to be used to pay for the Representative’s attendance at a Gala and Justin Bieber concert in Manhattan,” the complaint says.