On Monday, Axios reported that the House Ethics Committee is investigating Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), chair of the House Oversight Committee, over allegations that she improperly solicited invitations to the gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, while in charge of Congressional efforts to pass grant money that could benefit them.
"According to the report, Maloney made a call to an unidentified former Metropolitan Museum of Art president in 2016 to request an invitation to that year's Met Gala after she had been left off an invitation list," reported Andrew Solender. "It also cites evidence that suggests she may have requested an invite in 2020" — although, the report noted, the 2020 event was canceled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The report details Maloney's long-running connection to the Met, including steering grants and federal funds towards it and other museums and even pressing redistricting officials to keep it within her district's lines," said the report. "In an interview with the OCE, Maloney said that 'from 2015 to present, she did not recall a year in which she was not invited to the Met Gala,' according to the report, but the Met turned over a document that showed her name crossed off the 2016 list of invited political figures."
According to Maloney's attorneys, there was no quid pro quo or specific request that she be invited, and she merely expressed confusion at her lack of invitation after having been invited in previous years. They also argued that the Met Gala falls under an exception to House rules prohibiting gifts, as a "widely attended" event.
Per the press release of the Ethics Committee, the matter is still under review.
"In order to gather additional information necessary to complete its review, the Committee will review the matter pursuant to Committee Rule 18(a)," said the statement. "The Committee notes that the mere fact of conducting further review of a referral, and any mandatory disclosure of such further review, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee."