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Tags: carolyn maloney | ethics | met gala | investigation

Ethics Office: Dem Rep. Maloney May Have Improperly Sought Met Gala Tickets

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., at the 2021 met gala
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y. (Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 21 November 2022 07:57 PM EST

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., might have broken House rules and federal law on the solicitation of gifts by asking for tickets to the Met Gala, The Hill reported.

The Office of Congressional Ethics said it found a "substantial reason to believe" Maloney improperly solicited an invitation to the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute Benefit, known popularly as the Met Gala, according to the report.

The action might have violated both House rules and federal law governing the solicitation of gifts.

The report was made public in a press release Monday after the House Ethics Committee decided to extend the review of the report it received in June.

Maloney denied violating any ethics rules, The Hill reported, and her legal counsel said she did not solicit an invitation.

Two emails are the heart of the case, both showing Maloney appeared to be unhappy about not being invited to the 2016 edition of the prestigious event for the rich and famous.

"I received a call this past week from Carolyn. She is unhappy to say the least that she is not receiving an invitation to the party of the year," wrote former Met President Emily Rafferty in an April 2, 2016, email to the then-director and CEO of the museum. "She went on about how much she does for the Met, always responsive when you call, and proactive re the institute's concerns in D.C. She has been coming to the party for years, and it is the one thing she cares about."

The report noted Maloney got $2.75 million in federal funding for Met improvements between 2003 and 2011. She also spearheaded a request in 2020 for $4 billion in nonprofit aid related to COVID relief for museums including the Met.

An email from 2018 from another Met official "suggests that in future years, Rep. Maloney's 2016 outreach requesting attendance continued to impact her invitation status to the Met Gala," according to the report.

"When she learned she would not be attaining [sic] that year's gala (2015) she actually pushed back. Carolyn made calls personally to [redacted] and even [redacted]. We have ultimately secured one seat for her each year," the email read.

Maloney's legal counsel said in a letter to the House Ethics Committee that her requests about the status of her invitation were not a request for an invitation. The counsel added no witnesses in the case ever asserted Maloney requested an invitation.

In 2020, Maloney asked her staff if she was invited to the Gala that year and the staff told her the Met chief government relations officer would be invited to St. Patrick's Day breakfast where they could talk to him. Maloney asked for the officer's contact information.

In an Ethics Office interview, Maloney said that she wanted to know about the event because of COVID-19.

"People were asking whether things were happening or not," she said.

"Rep. Maloney is confident that the House Ethics Committee will dismiss this matter. Although the Committee has not made any determination a violation occurred, she is disappointed by the unproven and disputed allegations in the report issued by the Office of Congressional Ethics and strongly disagrees with its referral," a spokesperson for Maloney told The Hill.

"In three decades of honorable service in Congress, Rep. Maloney had never before been accused of any ethical improprieties. Nevertheless, she understands that the Ethics Committee is required to review and release the OCE Report, which includes only one allegation related to inquiring about an event invitation six years ago to the Met Gala, a widely attended event to which she was invited by The Met and not by specific Met donors," the spokesperson said.

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Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., might have broken House rules and federal law on the solicitation of gifts by asking for tickets to the Met Gala, The Hill reported.
carolyn maloney, ethics, met gala, investigation
Monday, 21 November 2022 07:57 PM
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