AOC Hit With Ethics Complaint Alleging Use of House Resources for Political Purposes

FACT says Ocasio-Cortez repeatedly violated ethics rules on social media accounts

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez / Getty Images

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y) has been hit with an ethics complaint alleging that the freshman Democrat improperly used House resources for political purposes in violation of ethics rules. 

The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), a Washington, D.C.-based watchdog group, filed the complaint Thursday to the U.S. House of Representative's Office of Congressional Ethics requesting that the committee investigate Ocasio-Cortez's use of official resources on her social media accounts.

"In the first two weeks of February 2019, Ocasio- Cortez posted numerous videos of official House floor and committee proceedings on her political Twitter and Instagram accounts," the complaint reads. "Her posts prominently displayed both official House photographs and video footage, on which she commented and instructed viewers to watch the videos."

"Ironically, in one of the posts she discussed the ethics standards to which she should be held," it continues. "Additionally, on Ocasio-Cortez's political Instagram page, she directly links to her official House Instagram account and includes a link for political contributions, alongside the posts of official video footage and her comments on official action. There are numerous ethics rules violated in this case, all of which require separation between official action and resources and political action and fundraising."

House ethics rules prohibit Members from using official taxpayer-backed resources for any political or campaign-related activities.

The watchdog says that Ocasio-Cortez committed a number of violations.

"In this case, Representative Ocasio-Cortez posted official photographs and video on her political social media accounts," the complaint reads. "This is a straightforward violation: House Ethics Rules prohibit Members from using official taxpayer-funded resources like House video for any political purpose. Second, Ocasio-Cortez also used a campaign social media page to link directly to her official social media page. This is also a straightforward violation: House ethics rules prohibit a Member from posting a link to her official social media site on a campaign social media site. Finally, Ocasio-Cortez solicitated campaign donations on a social media page that used official House video footage and linked to an official Member page."

Numerous exhibits for the alleged violations are included within the complaint.

"Representative Ocasio-Cortez has not only violated the most basic congressional ethics laws on the books, she has done so repeatedly," said Kendra Arnold, the executive director of FACT. "These laws exist so that elected Representatives are not using official business on behalf of the American people to push a political agenda or gain a political advantage. These are clear violations and the Ethics Committee needs to act."

After the Free Beacon contacted Ocasio-Cortez's office, Corbin Trent, her communications director, called but did not want to provide a comment on the complaint.

This is the second complain filed against Ocasio-Cortez this week.

The National Legal and Policy Center filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission earlier this week alleging that political action committees established by Ocasio-Cortez's chief-of-staff, Saikat Chakrabarti, funneled over $1 million in contributions to limited liability companies that he established. Chakrabari acted as Ocasio-Cortez's campaign chair and co-founded the Justice Democrats and Brand New Congress PACs, which sent the money to his respective LLCs.

Both Chakrabarti and Ocasio-Cortez are listed as respondents on the complaint.

Joe Schoffstall   Email Joe | Full Bio | RSS
Joe Schoffstall is a staff writer for the Washington Free Beacon. Previously, he spent three years with the Media Research Center and was most recently with the Capitol City Project. He can be reached at Schoffstall@freebeacon.com. His Twitter handle is @JoeSchoffstall.

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