Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) office says that she has never been married — but according to a new report from The Washington Free Beacon, she has identified her fiancé as her “spouse” on several forms filed with the House Ethics Committee.
The report, written by investigative journalist Andrew Kerr, detailed forms pertaining to the congresswoman’s official travel in 2022 and 2023 that were submitted to the committee — in which Riley Roberts, Ocasio-Cortez’s fiancé, was listed as her “spouse.” Also submitted were the New York Rep’s financial disclosure statements — on which Roberts was also referred to as her “spouse,” but his finances were not disclosed.
The issue, Kerr explained, is fairly simple: if the pair are not married, then Roberts cannot be named her “spouse” on official travel forms. And if they are, Roberts must disclose his finances according to House rules.
The congresswoman’s office told the Free Beacon that Ocasio-Cortez and Roberts have never been legally married. However, spokeswoman Lauren Hitt appeared to brush the criticism aside – claiming that “House Ethics has commonly recognized the term spouse to extend to long-term partners.”
According to the report, that is not true — the House Ethics Committee defines marriage specifically as “someone to whom you are legally married.”
According the the Free Beacon’s report, Hitt could have been referring to the Office of Congressional Ethics, which considers a long-term romantic partner to be “synonymous with a spouse” — but her actions would be governed by the committee.
But the question was still raised in the report: if Roberts was Ocasio-Cortez’s “spouse” for the purpose of overseas travel, why would he not also be her “spouse” for the purposes of financial disclosures?
With regard to their finances, as long as Ocasio-Cortez and Roberts remain unmarried, the boyfriend loophole exempts Roberts from financial disclosure requirements.
“If they were married then she would be required to disclose his finances on her 2022 financial disclosure,” Kendra Arnold, executive director of the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, told the Free Beacon. “There is no exception to this rule.”