Executive at PR firm representing the designer of AOC’s Met Gala dress refuses to cooperate with ethics probe

The ethics probe into Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) has implicated a leftist public relations firm after the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) revealed the team behind her infamous Met Gala “Tax the Rich” dress “refused to cooperate” with investigators.

In September 2021, the socialist New York congresswoman literally wore her hypocrisy out on the town as she attended the exclusive $30,000 per ticket event while portraying herself as a hero of the working man. Since that event, Ocasio-Cortez has faced an ethics probe for the suspicion of accepting “impermissible gifts associated with her attendance.”

Now, according to the OCE’s report to the House of Representatives, the unanimous agreement to further investigate alleged violations from the “Squad” member includes the need to further question the PR team that arranged AOC’s look that evening.

As set forth by the report, BerlinRosen executive vice president Janna Pea, the publicist for designer Aurora James’ Brother Vellies brand which created the “Tax the Rich” dress, was not only less than forthcoming with questions on invoice discrepancies, “The OCE sought to interview Ms. Pea on these matters, but she declined to cooperate.”

On Sept. 19, Pea had sent an Ocasio-Cortez campaign staffer a bill for $2,283.93 which included $1,300 for the dress rental from Brother Vellies and $635.00 for purchasing the shoes worn that night. However, the next day a new bill was reportedly produced following a conversation that took $1,000 off the price of the dress and almost $500 off the shoes, leaving the representative only on the hook for $990.76, an amount left unpaid until the OCE probe began.

Previously, it was reported that Ocasio-Cortez’s attorney had defended her on this point by noting payments were eventually made and, “The Congresswoman finds these delays unacceptable, and she has taken several steps to ensure nothing of this nature will ever happen again…and she even worked with the undersigned counsel prior to the event to ensure that she complied with all applicable ethics rules.”

Despite those claims, the report concluded that “The Board recommends that the Committee on Ethics issue subpoenas to Aurora James, Brother Vellies, and Janna Pea.”

The BerlinRosen website described Pea as having “deep experience advising high-profile clients and is known for her calm navigation of crisis communications situations,” a skill she will no doubt need to employ should a subpoena be issued.

Worth noting, the PR and marketing agency was founded by Valerie Berlin and Jonathan Rosen who worked as a staffer for community organizers ACORN and former Mayor Bill de Blasio respectively.

According to the New York Post, BerlinRosen had been paid more than $530,000 by de Blasio’s defunct non-profit Campaign for One New York which was itself investigated as part of a federal criminal probe related to accusations of pay-to-play schemes, trading donations for favors.

Neither Pea nor her firm had returned requests for comment to the outlet at the time of this posting.


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Kevin Haggerty


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