This week, some of the most famous faces in the United States gathered at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the annual Met Gala, dressed to reflect the new costume exhibit around which the event was centered, In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.
While there was no shortage of eye-popping looks, one of the most buzzed about ensembles was that of progressive Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.
The Congresswoman—colloquially known as "AOC"—donned a white gown emblazoned with "Tax the Rich" in red, a longstanding slogan of hers.
The look was designed by Aurora James, the activist and designer behind the Brother Vellies label, with whom AOC attended the event.
The medium is the message. https://t.co/b4Ssr6HkYR— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) 1631593932.0
Though many hailed the look, it still generated some criticism from people on both sides of the aisle. Leftists accused her of performing a hollow gesture at an event for the wealthy. Conservatives accused her of hypocrisy, falsely suggesting she paid $35 thousand to attend the event.
Now, a right-wing ethics group, the American Accountability Foundation, has filed an ethics complaint against AOC, arguing that her acceptance of admission amounted to a gift lavish enough to be improper.
The complaint reads in part:
"[W]e believe Representative Ocasio-Cortez has violated clause 5 of Rule XXV of the Rules of the House of Representatives (commonly known as the Gift Rule) by accepting admission to the Met Gala, an event whose per seat costs is reported to range from $35,000 to $50,000, without having a permissible exemption to allow the acceptance of the lavish gift. If Representative Occasion-Cortez has used campaign funds to pay for this ticket, she has also violated FEC prohibitions on campaign funds being used for entertainment purposes."
There's no evidence that Ocasio-Cortez paid to attend the event, nor was she the only elected official to join the soiree. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney of New York was in attendance as well.
Ocasio-Cortez posted a tweet asserting that elected officials in New York regularly attend the Gala, which benefits the Metropolitan Museum of Art—a public institution.
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
AOC's team told NBC news:
"We are confident we complied with all ethics rules."
People dismissed the claim on social media.
This complaint is stupid. Members of Congress, White House staff and other officials are invited to many social gat… https://t.co/PHVWCIP3iG— Richard W. Painter (@Richard W. Painter) 1631752467.0
Not lost on me that while AOC wasn’t the only politician in attendance at the Met Gala, she’s the only one getting… https://t.co/vaQ0rpwsn7— Poli Alert (@Poli Alert) 1631665130.0
@NBCNews GMAFB. They can’t be serious. Goodbye!— Lolita Holder-Agard (@Lolita Holder-Agard) 1631749868.0
Others said there were double standards at play.
I mean I had never seen the Hatch Act mentioned as many times as it was during the Trump Administration but go off… https://t.co/oJf6WXeyxk— Aldy (@Aldy) 1631757785.0
Oh really, ethics? Where were they when their bloated orangutan was violating ethics all day and the weekends too?… https://t.co/D29QFWNl0I— Boyd J. Kills Back ❄️ (@Boyd J. Kills Back ❄️) 1631760019.0
@ameracctfnd Just curious you guys filed complaints against Trump when he kept having events at properties he still… https://t.co/f0hjxzwOEi— Ray Abu Salim 🌐 (@Ray Abu Salim 🌐) 1631733094.0
The group has yet to respond to those complaints.