A spokesman for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., admitted to the Washington Examiner that the congresswoman is defying congressional financial disclosure rules.
Communications Director Lauren Hitt said Ocasio-Cortez is in no rush to file her disclosure as required by federal law because she can wait another 20 days before risking a fine.
As of Wednesday morning, AOC had not reported her 2021 finances to the House Ethics Committee despite being required do so by Aug. 13.
"The Committee provides a 30-day grace period before fines are levied. The Congresswoman plans to file before the period expires," Hitt told the Examiner on Tuesday.
Even if Ocasio-Cortez fails to file during the 30-day grace period, the penalty simply would be a $200 fine.
Nearly every member of the House had reported 2021 financial disclosures as of Wednesday morning. The disclosures are publicly available for review on the House Clerk's website.
Ocasio-Cortez was one of 10 House members who had not filed 2021 financial disclosure. Other notables include Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, and Peter Meijer, R-Mich.
AOC said in April that American democracy is undermined when lawmakers are perceived to have acted improperly with their personal finances.
"It is our responsibility to ensure that we eliminate, again, that perception of impropriety because it is these perceptions that can be exploited to undermine our most sacred institutions," she said during an April press conference in which she called for a congressional stock trading ban.
This is not the first time AOC has exploited the 30-day grace period to delay publicly disclosing her finances. In 2020, she avoided a House Ethics Committee fine by filing her 2019 financial disclosure precisely 30 days late.
"Not only is she an admitted scofflaw, she's a repeat offender," Paul Kamenar, an attorney for the National Legal and Policy Center, told the Examiner. "One must wonder whether she also files her income tax returns past the deadlines.
"Just like AOC did in 2020 when she filed her 2019 disclosure report 30 days late after the 90-day extension, she's at it again, blowing off the deadline for filing her 2021 filing that was due on August 13."
Ocasio-Cortez disclosed last year that her net worth was between $3,000 and $45,000 as of the end of 2020. She reported owning no stocks, the Examiner said.
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