AOC Is in Hot Water Again…Again!

Ron Adar /
Ron Adar /

Whether it’s posing for a photo op sobbing in front of an empty parking lot, rewriting history to place herself in danger on January 6, or costing her constituents millions of dollars in revenue by blocking Amazon from bringing jobs to her city, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez finds new and exciting ways to stay relevant.

In 2021, Ocasio-Cortez broke the internet by appearing at the event in a white dress with the words Tax The Rich” written across the back in red letters. Even though she could have purchased the dress at a thrift shop and painted the letters on it for around $5, the cost of renting this dress was inexplicably nearly $2300.

She went on to charge up just over $5,500 in transportation costs and a hotel room used to prepare for the gala. She wasn’t done yet, however, and spent nearly $500 for hair and another $340 for makeup services.

Not one to be left out of the fun, Ocasio-Cortez’s partner, Robert Riley, received shoes and a bow tie for the function. 

The Met Gala itself is a top-society event, with tickets costing $35,000 each.

Initially, Ocasio-Cortez claimed that attending the charity event was part of her official duties. The Ethics Committee expressed doubt about this claim and opened an investigation in 2022. Somehow, this investigation has been ongoing until March 2023.

With all the cleverness the former bartender could muster, Ocasio-Cortez blamed a staffer for dropping the ball on the payments to the vendors, and coincidentally, paid the bills in February 2022, two days after the committee launched its investigation. 

She feigned ignorance, a believable ploy for Ocasio-Cortez, but the plot thickened when numerous communications were uncovered, each making it clear that she was responsible for the payment of the outstanding bills.

Ocasio-Cortez is not the first congresswoman to be under fire for this pricey event. In 2022, then-representative Carolyn Maloney (D) New York became the subject of an ethics investigation after attending the Met Gala in both 2016 and 2020.

At the heart of the matter is the code of congressional ethics, which in this case forbids lawmakers from accepting gifts.

Code of ethics violations are nothing new for congress, with both sides eager to receive a handout or take advantage of their position in any way possible. Back in 2010, Maxine Waters was accused of aiding a bank to help her husband, a board member at the institution at the time. In 2021, 7 lawmakers came under investigation when they failed to disclose stock trades. 

Most recently, George Santos (R) New York for lying on his resume and failing to disclose financial reports.

For Ocasio-Cortez, on the surface, there is no apparent violation. Lawmakers can accept tickets to charity functions and, in fact, do so every day. A closer look at the Met Gala reveals that this “charity event” was hosted by Conde Nast, a media conglomerate and decidedly not a charity,

Look even closer, and the dress itself might be considered a violation due to the controversial “Tax The Rich” print on the back. This makes the gown impermissible as a gift because it is directly related to a political stance.

Dress designer Brother Vellies sent a modified rental bill to Ocasio-Cortez, reducing the rental price by $1000 and bringing her total down to just under a thousand dollars. This price reduction has raised a few additional concerns.

Ocasio-Cortez may have paid the outstanding bills, but that isn’t slowing the investigation. The Office of Congressional Ethics is pushing forward, stating: “While Rep. Ocasio-Cortez appears to have now paid for the rental value of the attire she wore to the Met Gala and for the goods and services she and her partner received in connection with this September 2021 event, payment for these goods and services did not occur until after the OCE contacted her in connection with this review.” 

Ocasio-Cortez’s economics degree hasn’t helped her make wise choices for her constituents, and it certainly hasn’t paid off in any meaningful way regarding her view on the economy. At the very least, her teachers should have emphasized the importance of paying bills on time.

Considering her desire to wipe student loans clean, however, she doesn’t seem to take financial obligations seriously at all.