A conservative watchdog group has asked the Office of Congressional Ethics to “immediately open an investigation” into Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D., N.Y.) attendance at the Met Gala on Monday night.
Ocasio-Cortez wore a white dress that read “tax the rich” at the opulent event in New York City where tickets cost at least $30,000 each.
The progressive “Squad” member defended her attendance at the event in a tweet saying that “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.”
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.🤗
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) September 14, 2021
However, she did not say whether she was given a free ticket to the event.
The American Accountability Foundation (AAF) filed an ethics complaint calling for a probe into whether Ocasio-Cortez accepted an “impermissible gift” to attend the gala or violated any campaign finance laws, according to Fox News.
“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 complaint says.
It argues that since the congresswoman said her presence at the Met Gala was part of her official duties that the “receipt of the gift” must fall under either the widely attended event or charity event exemptions outlined in the House rules.
The group contends that Ocasio-Cortez’s invite was not covered by either exemption because the gala was not widely attended and the invitations are overseen by Conde Nast, a for-profit company.
The congresswoman and other attendees also received separate criticism for going maskless at the gala while event staff wore masks. Guests at the event had to be vaccinated, but under New York City’s vaccine mandate for workers — which includes museum employees — so did staff. It is unclear why, then, staff were required to wear masks while attendees were not.