Opinion| Democratic freshman congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is constantly making headlines, and this time it’s because she’s “facing ethics questions after revelations the freshman lawmaker’s office gave her boyfriend a congressional email account,” according to Fox News.
The self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist “waded into the issue in response to a tweet alleging boyfriend Riley Roberts had been put on staff. The tweet included a screenshot of an official House email address. Ocasio-Cortez insisted that he was only given the email account so he could access her calendar,” Fox reports.
Ocasio-Cortez tweeted in response to a political consultant, Luke Thompson’s, tweet with a picture proving that Roberts had an official congressional account, just as other staffers on the Hill had. She wrote, “Actually this calendar designation is a permission so he can have access to my Google Calendar. Congressional spouses get Gcal access all the time. Next time check your facts before you tweet nonsense.”
Actually this cal designation is a permission so he can have access to my Google Cal. Congressional spouses get Gcal access all the time.
Next time check your facts before you tweet nonsense.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 15, 2019
David O’Boyle, the spokesman for the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer, spoke to Fox News saying, “From time to time, at the request of members, spouses and partners are provided House email accounts for the purposes of viewing the member’s calendar.”
However, Jason Chaffetz, former House Oversight Committee chairman, stated that Ocasio-Cortez’ claims aren’t adding up.
“It’s totally naïve and inappropriate – you wouldn’t allow it in most companies, let alone the House of Representatives. There should be real consequences,” Chaffetz explained to Fox News.
“When I was in the House, my scheduler would forward my wife my schedule once a week. But you’re not allowed unfettered access. And he isn’t even her spouse,” he went on. “… It should be referred to the ethics committee for further investigation.”
In the meantime, a Twitter war broke out among Ocasio-Cortez’s staff after Thompson’s tweet went viral.
Saikat Chakrabarti, chief of staff for Ocasio-Cortez, claimed that the freshman congresswoman’s boyfriend was not placed on the payroll, continuing on to state that the boyfriend is not working for the government.
“He’s not paid. We have no volunteers in the office. He’s not doing any government work. He can see her calendar just like spouses/partners/family members in other congressional office,” he tweeted.
In a subsequent tweet, he wrote, “Spouses and partners normally get http://mail.house.gov e-mail addresses for the purpose of getting calendar access.”
He's not on staff/not paid. Spouses and partners normally get https://t.co/oqBCENJjNX e-mail addresses for the purpose of getting calendar access.
— Saikat Chakrabarti (@saikatc) February 15, 2019
Fox News explains:
House IT rules generally prohibit the use of “the House’s electronic mail systems and resources” by unauthorized members, and only “U.S. House of Representative Members, Officers, Employees, Fellows, Interns and Contractors” with appropriate permission can use the system. Still, O’Boyle cited the practice of sometimes allowing spouses access.
Chaffetz said that Roberts having email access could also create other security issues and the matter should be referred to the Capitol Police for further investigation.
“Being given a password to get into the House computer system has other potentially problematic issues,” he stated.
Fox News requested Ocasio-Cortez’s office to comment, however, they declined.