The congressional ethics investigation into Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the latest scandal for the 33-year-old progressive firebrand since entering public life.
Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat, is being investigated by the House Ethics Committee over an undisclosed matter. The committee does not comment on ongoing investigations, but is expected to issue a report next year detailing the matter and explaining whether federal law or House rules were violated.
While it’s unclear what the committee is investigating, Ocasio-Cortez and his team have been the subject of several high-profile complaints over the past few years. In 2019, his then-chief of staff was investigated by a federal agency after the center-right National Law and Policy Center (NLPC) filed a lawsuit.
The NLPC alleges that between 2016 and 2017, a political action committee run by an aide funneled more than $1 million to employee-run shell companies. A conservative watchdog group claims the transfers could run afoul of federal election rules.
New York REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ WILL BE REVIEWED BY THE HOUSE ETHICS COMMITTEE
The investigation never reprimanded Ocasio-Cortez’s assistant.
Around the same time, she came under fire after it was revealed that her significant other had been given a House email account. The news raised concerns in his office that he was the most important person on the payroll, which later turned out to be untrue.
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His office said at the time that his significant other had a home email, mostly to access his official schedule, which is allowed under congressional rules.
“From time to time, members, spouses and partners are requested to provide home email accounts to view the member’s calendar,” a congressional administration spokeswoman said.
In addition to these minor incidents, Ocasio-Cortez was hit with an ethics complaint earlier this year for attending the Met Gala in New York. According to The Associated Press, tickets to the gala will cost more than $30,000.
The Foundation for American Accountability alleged that the congresswoman violated House rules by accepting free tickets to an event known to attract members of New York’s high society.
The foundation said the ticket was a gift because Ocasio-Cortez described attending the event as part of her official duties. House rules prohibit members of Congress from accepting gifts worth more than $50.
Both the top Republican and Democrat on the ethics panel this week were quick to point out that the mere fact that an investigation has been launched “does not indicate any wrongdoing.” Ocasio-Cortez’s office did not respond to requests for comment for this story.
Ocasio-Cortez has been under intense scrutiny since winning the 2018 Democratic primary for a House seat. In that campaign, Ocasio-Cortez defeated longtime Rep. Joe Crowley, who was then chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.
Since entering Congress, Ocasio-Cortez has burnished her public image by becoming a leading member of a small group of far-left House Democrats known as her “squad.” The group has tried to push California Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Biden to the left in recent years.
“He’s a rising star, he’s defeated an entrenched Democratic heavyweight in Congress,” a senior Democratic aide said. “Given his age, his politics and his background, it’s no wonder he’s attracted so much attention.”