Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s failure to pay ‘taxes of the rich’ for couture dress ‘may have broken rules’

Aurora James, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Gemma Chan and Prabal Gurung (LR) attend the 2021 Met Gala in New York – Kevin Mazure/Getty

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the hot-headed left-wing congresswoman, may have broken congressional rules by accepting the customary “tax the rich” dress she wore to the Met Gala, according to a bipartisan watchdog.

The House Ethics Committee said it is expanding its investigation into the hot-headed left-wing congresswoman after the watchdog found “substantial reason to believe she accepted improper gifts.”

Ms Ocasio-Cortez has denied breaking any rules.

The New York Democrat made headlines when she wore a white dress with “Tax The Rich” written in red to attend the prestigious Met Gala in 2021.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez was provided with the “couture dress, handbag, shoes and jewelry” by designer Aurora James and brand Brother Vellies, according to the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE).

It initially resulted in a bill of nearly $2,300, but that was later corrected to about $990. Her partner received a bow tie and shoes.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez also received hair, makeup, and transportation and lodging for the event, according to the OCE.

The cost of car service, a stay at the Carlyle Hotel, bow tie and shoes was $5,579.99.

The congressmen’s hair and makeup were arranged by two separate stylists arranged by Condé Nast, the company behind the gala, at a cost of $477.73 and $344.85, respectively.

The OCE, a bipartisan watchdog, said Thursday, “If Rep Ocasio-Cortez has accepted improper gifts, she may have violated house rules, standards of conduct and federal law.”

It said Ms Ocasio-Cortez later paid the rental value of the clothes and the services she and her partner received, but “only occurred after” the watchdog told her he was investigating the matter.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez claimed responsibility for the late payments during her interview with the watchdog, saying it was “deeply regrettable” and “there was a ball that was dropped”.

Her attorney, David Mitrani, said the congresswoman found the delays in paying expenses related to her attendance at the Met Gala “unacceptable” and that she was taking steps to ensure “this will never happen again.”

Mr. Mitraini added, “While this matter is regrettable, it definitely does not rise to the level of a violation of house rules or federal law.”

The OCE watchdog recommended that the House of Representatives review allegations against Ms. Ocasio-Cortez last June.

The House Ethics Committee announced in December that it was investigating her, but without disclosing the subject of its investigation at the time.

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