AOC’s appearance at the Met Gala failed to meet any definition of ‘official duties,’ says a conservative watchdog group
Representative Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez has been slapped with an ethics complaint by a conservative watchdog group for accepting tickets to appear at the Met Gala.
The American Accountability Foundation – which describes itself as a non-partisan conservative research organisation intending to hold public representatives accountable – filed the complaint on Tuesday, accusing Ms Ocasio-Cortez of a violation of ethics.
The watchdog group also asked the Office of Congressional Ethics to launch an investigation into her appearance at the glitzy event on Monday.
Ms Ocasio-Cortez, informally known as AOC, wore a white gown to the event with the text “Tax the rich” emblazoned on it in red. The look went viral, but also resulted in some criticism.
She was questioned in part for her own attendance at the event, which costs $35,000 (£25,000) per ticket.
In a letter written to the congressional ethics board, the group’s founder Thomas Jones said Ms Ocasio-Cortez “violated” the rule known as the Gift Rule, by accepting free tickets to the extravagant annual gala “without having a permissible exemption to allow the acceptance of the lavish gift”.
“We filed a formal complaint against AOC for her blatant ethics violations at the NYC Met Gala. Her $35,000 ticket and custom designer gown fail to meet any definition of ‘official duties’, and warrant a full investigation into her attendance,” the group wrote on Twitter.
While representatives are allowed to attend charity events as per the House rules, Mr Jones argued in his letter that “AOC’s invite fails on both” exemptions.
“Without prompt investigation and enforcement of Congressional Rules, the American people are likely to lose faith in the ability of Congress to police its members,” the letter said.
The congresswoman, who has fired back at her critics for discussions around her dress and its messaging, wrote in a tweet: “And before haters get wild flying off the handle, New York elected officials are routinely invited to and attend the Met due to our responsibilities in overseeing and supporting the city’s cultural institutions for the public. I was one of several in attendance in this evening.”
Ms Ocasio-Cortez also took to Instagram to address criticism of her appearance at the event. “I thought about the criticism I’d get, but honestly I and my body have been so heavily and relentlessly policed from all corners politically since the moment I won my election that it’s kind of become expected and normalised to me,” she said in response to a question on her Instagram story.
The socialist congresswoman attended the event as a “guest of the museum,” according to a statement from an event spokesperson.
She wasn’t the only public representative there. Carolyn Maloney, her fellow New York Democratic representative, was also present at the event.