Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is facing ethics questions after revelations the freshman lawmaker's office gave her boyfriend a congressional email account.
The 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.
“Actually this calendar designation is a permission so he can have access to my Google Calendar. Congressional spouses get Gcal access all the time,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote, after political consultant Luke Thompson tweeted the picture showing Roberts having an official account like other staffers on the Hill. "Next time check your facts before you tweet nonsense."
Asked about the arrangement, David O'Boyle, the spokesperson for the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer, told Fox News: "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."
But Jason Chaffetz, former chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said Ocasio-Cortez' claims don’t stack 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 told Fox News.
"It’s totally naïve and inappropriate – you wouldn’t allow it in most companies, let alone the House of Representatives."
“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 added. “... It should be referred to the ethics committee for further investigation.”
Meanwhile, Thompson's tweet touched off a Twitter battle with the congresswoman's staff.
Saikat Chakrabarti, the congresswoman’s chief of staff, insisted that the boyfriend isn’t on the payroll and that he’s not doing any work related to 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 wrote, adding in another tweet, “Spouses and partners normally get http://mail.house.gov e-mail addresses for the purpose of getting calendar access.”
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 said.
Ocasio-Cortez’s office did not respond to Fox News’ requests for comment.