THAT WAS SOME PARTY: Many want in on the Met Gala, and Rep. Carolyn Maloney is no exception.
The Manhattan Democratic politician, who serves as the House Oversight Committee chairwoman, is the subject of an investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics. Having lost a reelection bid, Maloney is set to retire next month, but the matter is still under review. The focus of the investigation is how she came to attend the 2016 after initially being crossed off the list.
Maloney, a supporter of the arts and the fashion industry, has attended the annual benefit for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute several times through the years.
As disclosed in the report that was released this week, Maloney called Emily Rafferty, a former president of The Met, after being taken off the list. In an e-mail to The Met’s director and a trustee, Rafferty reportedly shard that displeasure and noted how Maloney and reminded them “how much she does for The Met.”
House members are allowed to attend charitable events for free as long as the event’s primary purpose is to raise funds for an organization that is qualified to receive tax-deductible contributions, and if the organization, and not another source such as a corporate sponsor — extends the invitation, according to the U.S. House’s Committee on Ethics’ gift guidance guidelines. Maloney and her lawyers have denied that she did anything improper.
The investigation into Maloney’s 2016 Met Gala attendance has been gaining media attention in recent days. The Met is expected to continue to invite local officeholders to the Met Gala, as it has for years. As for whether the museum will reevaluate the manner in which that is done, a Met spokesperson declined to comment Wednesday.
Maloney was unavailable to discuss the matter, her spokesperson said Wednesday.
Mayor Eric Adams was on the guest list this year’s Met Gala, following in the footsteps of some of his predecessors, such as Rudy Giuliani. Last fall, Bill de Blasio was among the local politicians in the crowd along with Maloney and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attracted international media coverage by wearing a “Tax the Rich” gown from Brother Vellies. That event raised a record-breaking $16.75 million, according to The Met. All three faced some online backlash for attending the gala, where individual tickets are $35,000 and tables cost $200,000 to $300,000. While Ocasio-Cortez gained global attraction for the “Tax the Rich” dress, Maloney turned heads with a cape embroidered with “Equal Rights for Women.”
In a lengthy statement issued after this article posted Wednesday, Maloney’s spokesperson said the Congresswoman is “confident” that the House Ethics Committee will dismiss the matter, and noted it “has not made any determination a violation occurred.” In addition, the spokesperson said Maloney “is disappointed by the unproven and disputed allegations in the report and strongly disagrees with its referral.”
The statement referred to her “three decades of honorable service in Congress” and how she had never been accused of any ethical improprieties. The spokesperson also referenced how Maloney “led” the effort to create the National Women’s History Museum in Washington, is a member of the Congressional Arts Caucus, and how The Met is an “important institution in her community.” She also lives blocks away from the Upper East Side museum. Post-Congress as a private citizen, Maloney “will continue to support the arts and humanities in New York City and around the country.” according to the statement.
Editor’s note: This article was updated on Nov. 23 at 6:40 p.m. EST.