Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, widely known as AOC, is under investigation for a possible violation of Rule XXV of the House Rules. 

The House of Representatives Ethics Committee is in charge of the case and will announce its “course of action” sometime in January as every new Congress is required to pass a new set of House rules before the Committees are allowed to conduct investigations.

In September 2021, the American Accountability Foundation (AAF) filed a complaint against AOC to the Office of Congressional Ethics. 

“The American Accountability Foundation is writing today to request that you immediately open an investigation of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14) for accepting an impermissible gift to attend the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala (the Met Gala),” read the complaint. 

In 2021, AOC attended the $35,000-a-ticket Met Gala event with a white dress stained with red ink on the back: “Tax the Rich.” Posing side by side with some of the richest members of New York’s elite, AOC attempted to impress the public by calling out tax evasion scandals. 

However, the design fell short of a “slay” moment and was treated as yet another example of political hypocrisy. 

“I noticed that AOC chose not to wear her “tax the rich” dress when she voted today to give millionaires in blue states a tax break. Democrats don’t do a lot right, but they excel at hypocrisy and empty virtual signaling,” tweeted GOP’s co-chair Tommy Hicks. 

AAF claims that AOC’s attendance at the 2021 Met Gala is a violation of congressional ethics. 

In an Instagram post, the politician wrote that “NYC elected officials are regularly invited to and attend the Met due to our responsibilities in overseeing our city’s cultural institutions that serve the public,” implying that her $35,000 ticket was paid for given her ‘guest’ status.   

“She was invited as a guest of the Met,” stated AOC’s spokesperson, Lauren Hitt. “She also did not get to keep the dress.”

“Though claiming her attendance to the $35,000 a plate event was part of her “official duties,” there are serious questions about whether or not her ticket – donated or purchased with campaign funds – was permissible under the code of congressional ethics,” reads the AAF complaint. 

According to the complaint, it is still unclear if AOC used campaign funds to pay for the ticket. If that is the case, the Representative would have also violated the FEC prohibition on campaign funds being used for entertainment purposes. 

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

The investigation announcement drew mixed reactions on the internet. Some users find that the complaint is “nonsensical.” 

Writer Miguel A Nunez Jr tweeted “US Rep. AlexandriaOcasio-? @AOC ? “IGNORANTLY”under investigation by some dumb person on the  House Ethics Committee.  Allllll the ethics being shattered by Republicans every day.. you go after a fighter. ?@SpeakerPelosi @POTUS”

On the other hand, some are in support of AAF’s accusation. 

“She is going down. Make AOC a Bartender Again,” tweeted commentator Terrence K. Williams. 

Although it is evident that AOC’s dress speaks to the fraudulent nature of politicians, it is hard to know this far into the investigation if the AAF complaint will generate any legal punishments against the congresswoman’s 2021 Met Gala attendance. 

Suppose AOC was indeed given the ticket to the event as she claims. In that case, it is yet to be seen if the AAF allegations would be strong enough to take down the 11th most popular Democrat and the 13th most popular politician in the country. 

“Tax the Rich” memo hit a bit too close to home 

AOC is not the only one involved in her 2021 Met Gala appearance subject to criminal allegations. The designer of the “Tax the Rich” dress, Aurora James, has been accused of, believe it or not, tax evasion. 

According to a New York Post report, James has unpaid debts in multiple American states. Her 2011 company, Cultural Brokerage Agency, known as Brother Vellies, has three open tax warrants in the state of New York.

The Department of Taxation and Finance told The Post that the company failed to withhold income taxes from employees’ paychecks totaling $14,798. The company has amassed a total of 15 warrants since 2015. 

Moreover, even though James prides herself on the progressive dress design, calling it a “powerful message,” former Brother Vellies interns have accused the brand of not properly paying its workers. 

“I experienced a lot of harassment when I worked for her,” one former employee told The Post. “Aurora would ask me to do things that were not in anyone’s job description, like scheduling her gynecological appointments. The work environment was so hostile that I was afraid to ask for my check.”  

This story confirms that words are just that, words.

Those in positions of power rarely align with the big and beautiful discourses they use to gain influence and credibility. When politicians have the chance to actively follow through with their commitments, they often fail miserably, and the public is exposed to their true colors. 

Regardless of the House Ethics Committee investigation, the disgusting hypocrisy behind a “leftist-socialist” Congresswoman’s attendance in a $35,000-a-ticket event with a “Tax the Rich” dress designed by a tax-evader artist will remain painfully obvious.

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