News & Politics

Did AOC's Met Gala Stunt Violate Federal Ethics Laws?

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez got a lot of buzz for the dress she wore at the 2021 Met Gala Monday evening. Many have called her out for the blatant hypocrisy of presenting such a message while hobnobbing with the super-rich at an event where the cost of an individual ticket was $30,000-$35,000.

AOC tried to preempt the criticism in a tweet on Tuesday, shortly after midnight. “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,”

But, the apparent hypocrisy of her message isn’t the only issue. As has been pointed out, AOC wasn’t alone at the Met Gala, she brought her boyfriend with her.

So, that means AOC spent $60,000 just on the tickets for the event.

Or did she?

Members of Congress make $174,000+ in salary—which means that the tickets she needed to get into the event cost more than a third of her salary. How did she pay for the tickets? And then the dress on top of that? Her dress wasn’t bought off the bargain rack at TJ Maxx—it was custom-made by an “immigrant designer,” according to AOC. The designer immigrated from Toronto.

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But, let’s just focus on the tickets.

Did she pay for the tickets, or did she receive them as a gift?

Given that AOC likely could not have afforded the tickets on her own, an ethics complaint has been filed. Thomas Jones of the American Accountability Foundation filed the complaint, alleging that AOC broke House rules by accepting “an impermissible gift” of free tickets to attend the annual gala.

“Although House rules allow members to accept free tickets to charity events directly from event organizers, Jones argues that the Met Gala doesn’t count because the guest list is curated by a private company, media giant Condé Nast,” reports the New York Post.

“[W]hile the individual’s invitations may bear the name of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum has ceded control over the invitations to a for-profit company, specifically Condé Nast, and to its Chief Content Officer, Anna Wintour,” Jones wrote in his complaint.