The House Ethics Committee has announced that it will continue its investigation into whether Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez violated ethics rules by accepting impermissible gifts related to her attendance at the 2021 Met Gala, Just the News reports.
The bipartisan committee made the decision to extend its review after receiving a referral from the Office of Congressional Ethics in December 2022.
An 18-page report released by the Office of Congressional Ethics on Thursday indicates that Ocasio-Cortez may have violated House rules, standards of conduct, and federal law.
The report found “substantial reason to believe” that the New York lawmaker accepted impermissible gifts.
House rules prohibit lawmakers from accepting gifts such as “a gratuity, favor, discount, entertainment, hospitality, loan, forbearance or other item having monetary value.”
According to NBC News, during the September 2021 Met Gala, Ocasio-Cortez received “a couture dress, handbag, shoes, and jewelry,” as well as hair, makeup, transportation, and ready-room services.
Her partner, Riley Roberts, also received a bow tie and shoes for the event.
The ethics report indicates that 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.”
However, the payment was not made until after the ethics office contacted her for its review.
The report also reveals that bills related to the event went unpaid for months, including one from a hair stylist who charged about $477 and was not paid until February 2022.
When asked about the delayed payments for goods and services related to the gala, Ocasio-Cortez has stated, “There was a ball that was dropped,” and called the matter “deeply regrettable.”
In response to the extended review, her office reiterated her apology but expressed confidence that the delayed payments “do not rise to the level of a violation of House Rules.”