House Democrat accused of ethics violation, faces investigation

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) is facing an ethics investigation. 

The investigation was announced on Monday by the U.S. House of Representatives Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE).

The report reads:

Representative Carolyn Maloney may have solicited or accepted impermissible gifts associated with her attendance at the Met Gala. If Rep. Maloney solicited or accepted impermissible gifts, then she may have violated House rules, standards of conduct and federal law.

Accordingly, the Congressional Ethics Board has recommended a “further review,” stating that there is “substantial reason to believe” that Maloney committed an ethics violation here.

Some specifics

The OCE report goes on to detail the allegations to be investigated. The incident dates back to 2016.

Maloney, according to the OCE, claims that she has always been invited to the MET Gala. But, the OCE has found that she was not invited in 2016. And, apparently, that is when Maloney went about trying to solicit a seat.

The OCE reports:

Witness A stated that she received a phone call from Rep. Maloney, who was “unhappy to say the least that she is not receiving an invitation to the party of the year.” Witness A went into further detail of the conversation citing that Rep. Maloney “went on about how much she does for The Met.”

This may not have been the only solicitation by Maloney either. The OCE reports, “the OCE found evidence indicating that Rep. Maloney may have requested a Met Gala invitation, as recently as 2020.”

The OCE further reports that, “following her 2016 request for a Met Gala invitation, Rep. Maloney appears to have received an invitation to the Met Gala every year thereafter.”

That’s not allowed

The problem with Maloney’s actions here, if what the OCE alleges is true, is that members of the House, under the House Ethics rules, are only allowed to accept unsolicited offers of free attendance to such events as the MET Gala.

The additional problem for Maloney is that this may be a violation of federal law, which prohibits Congress members from “solicit[ing] or accept[ing] anything of value from a person seeking official action from, doing business with, or (in the case of executive branch officers and employees) conducting activities regulated by, the individual’s employing entity.”

Time will tell if anything comes of this. In the meantime, the 76-year-old Maloney, after three decades in Congress, will be exiting the House in January after recently being primaried.