The Democratic head of the House Oversight Committee is under investigation after it was claimed that she solicited or accepted improper gifts in order to get on the guest list for the luxurious Met Gala in 2016.
In June, the House’s Office of Congressional Ethics unanimously decided to launch an investigation into Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D., N.Y.) after speaking with and reviewing emails from Metropolitan Museum of Art executives, which hosts the gala in New York City. These emails showed the potent Democrat attempted to use her connections to gain entry.
“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. She went on about how much she does for the Met, always responsive when you call, and proactive re the institution’s concerns in DC. I highly recommend you include Carolyn,” said Emily Rafferty, the museum’s former president, in an email to multiple museum executives from 2016 that the ethics office was able to get.
The communications that suggested Maloney attempted to use her position as a congresswoman to the museum’s advantage in order to attend the gala—a lavish event that attracts stars like Beyoncé, Kanye West, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez—led the ethics office to rule that there is strong evidence that Maloney acted improperly.
The probe is yet another stain on the Oversight chair’s record; she was defeated by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D., N.Y.) in the Democratic primary in August and has been accused of seeking revenge in the committee’s investigation into the Washington Commanders NFL club. She caused controversy in 2009 when she described a phone conversation she received by using the n-word.
Maloney has obtained millions of dollars in money for the museum since 2003, and the ethics office stated in its report that she successfully advocated for billions in coronavirus funding for nonprofit museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in March 2020. According to documents retrieved by the ethics office, Maloney’s staff has also pressured New York’s redistricting panel to include the museum within her district’s boundaries.
In an interview with the ethics office, Maloney denied having any recollection of asking for an invitation. Maloney’s legal team portrayed her conversations with museum staff as an effort to clarify any misunderstandings regarding her absence from the invite list and simply to ascertain her invitation status.
Evidence that Maloney may have attempted to attend the gala in 2020 was discovered by the ethics office. Maloney sought a staff member for a means to get in touch with a museum official after being told via email that she had not gotten an invitation to the gala.