The House Office of Congressional Ethics found “substantial reason to believe” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) “may have accepted impermissible gifts associated with her attendance at the Met Gala in 2021,” according to documents released on Thursday.
“Rep. Ocasio-Cortez received a series of goods and services which she did not pay for until the OCE opened this review,” according to the review, which cited her dress, makeup, hair styling and transportation.
Ocasio-Cortez’s office acknowledged the tardy payments, but didn’t think they constituted a violate of House rules.
“The congresswoman finds these delays unacceptable, and she has taken several steps to ensure nothing of this nature will happen again,” said Communications Director Lauren Hitt in a statement.
“Even after OCE’s exhaustive review of the congresswoman’s personal communications, there is no record of the congresswoman refusing to pay for these expenses,” said Hitt. “To the contrary, there are several explicit, documented communications, from prior to OCE’s review, that show the congresswoman understood that she had to pay for these expenses from her own personal funds—as she ultimately did. We are confident the Ethics Committee will dismiss this matter.”
The House Committee on Ethics will continue to review the matter. Unlike the independent Office of Congressional Ethics, that 10-member panel is empowered to subpoena and sanction House members.
In December, the bipartisan panel disclosed that it was investigating Ocasio-Cortez after receiving a referral from the nonpartisan Office of Congressional Ethics. But it did not provide a reason. At the time, the congresswoman’s office declined to share details about the inquiry, citing the ongoing investigation.
This story is developing and will be updated.