NY Representative AOC under ethics investigation after Met Gala attendance


John Angelillo

Strutting the runway in such a bold dress practically guarantees to ruffle a couple of feathers. “Tax the rich”, plastered on the back of Democrat representative of New York City’s 14th Congressional district Alexandria Ocascio-Cortez, remains under investigation over her ability to afford the participation fee in her political stunt; the House of Representatives ethics committee has suspected that she used campaign Political Action Committee (PAC) money. If this assumption proves true, this could result in drastic repercussions for the rising star in American politics.

Zioni Moore, Copy editor

Beginning December 7, 2022, the House of Representatives began their investigation on New York’s 14th district Democrat Alexandria Ocascio-Cortez’s (AOC) alleged misuse of campaign donation money to fuel her political stunt at the 2021 Met Gala. She infamously attended the world-renowned fashion show in a mermaid-tail white dress, a slicked bun and detailed in a smeared red ink, “TAX THE RICH”. Creating controversy even as the incident occurred, her reputation as a representative dangles on a thread with the release of the cost of the stunt, showcasing a major part in modern-day politics: dark money.

“It’s all a matter of perspective. AOC’s ethics and complications are nothing new; just think about the last time where she staged a political arrest. As Nancy Mace said, performance, not politics, is the name of the game,” AP U.S. Government and Microeconomics teacher Steven Butler said. 

AOC represents the 14th District of New York; particularly, she speaks on behalf of New York City’s boroughs of Queens and the Bronx. Known for her elevated progressivism, AOC exemplifies for millions outside the district one who could constitute a political celebrity. Her youthful, powerful and engaging speeches and out-of-the-norm—for the Democratic party, anyway—positions place her on the national stage for the deciding individuals on Capitol Hill

Like Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, AOC repetitively showcased her engagement with relatability to the masses for years. The Met Gala proved no different. Formally known as the Costume Institute Benefit, the fundraising event brings the spotlight to the most massive celebrities in the country. Held at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, invitations for the event carry a $30,000 entry fee. Notable to the Ethics Committee, however, the event would have taken a substantial amount of her $174,000 annual salary. Ironically, the public did not heed the hypocrisy of her attendance at the Met Gala in the first place, considering the hefty price tag to simply attend. This created the allegation of the young Democrat using donation funds from her previous 2020 election, distinctly from Political Action Committees (PACs), deeply undermining the morality of her actions in office if she becomes convicted.


The expenditures Alexandria Ocascio-Cortez received noticeably decreased from her 2020 election, potentially highlighting the pool of donations that, if proven guilty, she pulled from.

“It’s not like she’ll get off scot-free if she really decided to use PAC money to pay for the dress, though. They’re going to kick her off of committees, which doesn’t sound like a whole lot to the average person, but in Congress, that’s how things get done. She won’t be able to serve her constituency, and if true, all of this is gonna crash down on her like a noose, feeding a political suicide,” Butler said.