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Ocasio-Cortez receives second ethics complaint for Met Gala appearance

New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been hit with a second ethics complaint after she accepted a free $35,000 ticket for her Met Gala appearance on Monday night.

Ocasio-Cortez, 31, has been accused of possibly violating the House Gift rule for accepting lavish gifts, including her controversial 'Tax the Rich' dress and a stay at the luxury Carlyle Hotel on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

The complaint, which was filed by Paul Kamenar of the National Legal and Policy Center, to the Office of Congressional Ethics on Thursday, was obtained by Daily Caller News Foundation.

'Representative Ocasio-Cortez may have violated the House Gift Rule by accepting free admission for herself and boyfriend to the Met Gala event and receiving related gifts before, during, or after the event, including the use of custom-designed dress, limousine service, the use of the Carlyle Hotel, professional hair and makeup services, and any other related services or goods,' the NLPC complaint stated. 

New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had a second complaint filed against her by the National Legal and Policy Center on Thursday 

The complaints come after she allegedly broke the House Gift rule as she accepted lavish gifts including a free ticket to the Met Gala and and the controversial 'Tax the Rich' dress she wore to the event

The complaint filed states: 'Representative Ocasio-Cortez may have violated the House Gift Rule by accepting free admission for herself and boyfriend to the Met Gala event and receiving related gifts before, during, or after the event, including the use of custom-designed dress, limousine service, the use of the Carlyle Hotel, professional hair and makeup services, and any other related services or goods'

The complaint criticized her acceptance of a seat at a sponsored table that costs between $200,000 and $300,000.

'In short, it is the table sponsor who is gifting or underwriting a coveted seat to AOC at the Gala,' the complaint states. 

'And if the sponsor of the table where AOC sat was one paid for by one of the corporations attending the event, such as Instagram or Facebook, AOC has received a prohibited gift from the corporation that also lobbies Congress.' 

The complaint also criticized AOC for bringing boyfriend Riley Roberts to the event as the House states that the second free ticket, if given, must be given to charity, spouse, or child. 

'Thus, because her boyfriend is not her 'spouse or dependent,' her acceptance of an 'invite plus one' to the Met Gala would violate the Gift Rule unless AOC or her boyfriend paid for his $35,000 ticket, an unlikely scenario,' the complaint said. 

Ocasio-Cortez defended her attendance at the Met Gala after receiving criticism for it as political figures are not routinely invited to the event, as stated in the complaint

The complaint was filed by NLPC Counsel Paul Kamenar, who criticized Ocasio Cortez's acceptance of the free ticket alongside her boyfriend, sitting at a sponsored table, and wearing the controversial 'Tax the Rich' dress  

The value of the dress has not been determined as dress designer Aurora Jones told CNN that the she had not calculated the cost but said that lots of salvaged material was used to make it, according to the complaint. 

Despite being a personal friend, gifts can only be given in this relationship if it is 'not related to the position of your house.'  

In defense of her attendance, AOC tweeted: '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.'

It was noted that political figures are not often routinely invited to Met Gala events.  

This complaint comes after another one was filed by The American Accountability Foundation for accepting 'an impermissible gift' of free tickets to attend the annual gala. 

'Without prompt investigation and enforcement of Congressional Rules, the American people are likely to lose faith in the ability of Congress to police its members,' the complaint said, filed by AAF founder Thomas Jones. 

He also wrote: '[W]hile the individual's invitations may bear the name of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum has ceded control over the invitations to a for-profit company, specifically Condé Nast, and to its Chief Content Officer, Anna Wintour.'

He added that 'the New York Times outlines that the Met does not have control over who is invited to the event, but rather the for-profit company, is in control of who gets invited.'

According to House ethics information available online, members of Congress can only accept $100 worth of items per year from a specific source.  

In addition, Congress members can also borrow works of art — in this case the 'Tax the Rich' dress AOC wore by Aurora James — as long as there's a written agreement with the owner specifying it will be returned.

'The Met Gala is seen as elite and inaccessible...As a working class woman, [I] wanted to enjoy the event but also break the fourth wall and challenge the industry,' AOC proudly told Vogue at the event.

In an ethics complaint, Thomas Jones, founder of the American Accountability Foundation, (pictured) said he believes Ocasio-Cortez, who represents parts of the Bronx and Queens, broke House rules by accepting 'an impermissible gift' of free tickets to attend the annual gala.

 On Tuesday morning, AOC boasted about the surge in Google searches for the words 'tax the rich'.

She wrote on Instagram: 'Surge in people looking up and discussing our f****d up tax code is and how we fix it so we can fund childcare, healthcare, climate action and student loan forgiveness for all? Aurora James understood the assignment.' 

 AOC has been very vocal in the past about her stance on taxing millionaires.

AOC with her boyfriend Riley Roberts (far right), her dress designer Aurora James and Benjamin Bronfman (far left)

In 2019 she advocated to raising taxes of to 70percent for the wealthy in order to fund measures against climate change.

'As a working class woman, [I] wanted to enjoy the event but also break the fourth wall and challenge the industry, Ocasio-Cortez told Vogue.

'When Aurora and I were first kind of partnered, we started having a conversation about what it means to be working class women of color at the Met,'

'And we said, you know, we can't just play along, but we need to break the fourth wall, and challenge some of the institutions.

'And while the Met is known for its spectacle, we should have a conversation about it,' she added.

In a 2019 Tweet, AOC wrote: When we say 'tax the rich,' we mean nesting-doll yacht rich. For-profit prison rich. Betsy DeVos, student-loan-shark rich.

'Trick-the-country-into-war rich. Subsidizing-workforce-w-food-stamps rich.

'Because THAT kind of rich is simply not good for society, & it's like 10 people.'

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