Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee

Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York at the Capitol on November 15, 2022.
Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York at the Capitol on November 15.Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images
  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is being investigated by the House ethics panel for an unknown matter.

  • It may pertain to a complaint from a conservative group over her attendance at the 2021 Met Gala.

  • "We are confident that this matter will be dismissed," an Ocasio-Cortez spokesperson told Insider.

Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee, a statement released Wednesday said.

The committee said it had received a referral from the Office of Congressional Ethics, a separate office that reviews misconduct allegations, on June 23. That means a majority of that body decided the matter was substantial enough to refer to the committee, which is chaired by Democratic Rep. Susan Wild of Pennsylvania.

They committee said the disclosure of the investigation was mandated by the panel's decision to extend the amount of time it's investigating the matter. It added that it had not made a judgement on whether an ethics violation had occurred. It also said it would "announce its course of action in this matter" next year after the 118th Congress convened.

The committee did not indicate why the congresswoman was under investigation, and in a statement to Insider, Lauren Hitt, her spokesperson, did not offer further details.

"The Congresswoman has always taken ethics incredibly seriously, refusing any donations from lobbyists, corporations, or other special interests," Hitt said. "We are confident that this matter will be dismissed."

It's possible that the investigation was spurred by a September 2021 complaint from the conservative American Accountability Foundation accusing the congresswoman of accepting an impermissible gift by attending the 2021 Met Gala, where the cost of attendance for many guests is $35,000. Ocasio-Cortez was invited to the event as a guest of the Met and did not pay for her ticket.

The congresswoman notably wore a dress emblazoned with "TAX THE RICH" at the event. She was not permitted to keep the dress, Hitt told PolitiFact last year.

Ocasio-Cortez wearing a dress emblazoned with “Tax the Rich” at the 2021 Met Gala in New York City on September 13, 2021.
Ocasio-Cortez wearing a dress emblazoned with "TAX THE RICH" at the September 2021 Met Gala in New York City.Ray Tamarra/GC Images

Ocasio-Cortez has said she attended the event in her official capacity as a member of Congress and that lawmakers from New York were routinely invited. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a fellow New York Democrat, has attended multiple Met Galas, and the Office of Congressional Ethics recently opened an investigation into whether Maloney solicited a ticket to the event in 2016.

House rules state that members may not accept gifts, except under exemptions for widely attended events or charity functions.

The conservative group said Ocasio-Cortez's attendance violated those rules because the event was exclusive and run by Condé Nast, a for-profit media company.

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