So says the New York Post, adding a new level of hypocritical perfection to this demonstration of debutante dilettantism. Not only did Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez violate House ethics rules in accepting the Met Gala tickets, not only did she offer a cliché power-to-the-people slogan undermined by her own obvious desire to join the elite, but apparently her office didn’t bother to vet the source of her gifted gown, either. Designer Aurora James reportedly has trouble paying the taxes she’s withheld on behalf of her employees — repeatedly, apparently:
The 37-year-old fashionista who made waves at the Met Gala with Democratic-Socialist AOC last week is a notorious tax deadbeat with unpaid debts dogging her in multiple states, records show.
Most of luxe-living James’ arrears center on Cultural Brokerage Agency, an LLC she formed in 2011 to serve as the parent company of her fashion brand, which today is known as Brother Vellies. It’s a favorite of people like Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Meghan Markle.
The company racked up three open tax warrants in New York state for failing to withhold income taxes from employees’ paychecks totaling $14,798, the state Department of Taxation and Finance told The Post. The debts — which were incurred before the pandemic — stem from 2018 and 2019. The company has been hit with 15 warrants in total since 2015.
The company got into a deeper hole with the feds. Between April 2018 and April 2019, the Internal Revenue Service placed six federal liens on Cultural Brokerage Agency totaling $103,220. The liens specifically cite the company’s failure to remit employee payroll taxes.
That’s actually a much bigger problem than billionaires playing by the rules to reduce their tax burden. If true, then James’ employees were/are still on the hook for paying those taxes, even if James kept the money. James’ flavor of tax deadbeat status directly harms the workers that Ocasio-Cortez professes to care about with her sloganeering at Anna Wintour’s annual Panemfest. You know … the workers forced to wear masks while Ocasio-Cortez and the rest of the elites can smile for the cameras.
Some of AOC’s defenders on social media pushed back over the weekend, arguing that she had no way of knowing the person who loaned her the dress was a tax deadbeat. Er, why didn’t Ocasio-Cortez think to check it out? She is, after all, a member of Congress, for whom gifts and loans and favors carry significant political and legal costs. There’s a big question as to whether Ocasio-Cortez should have accepted either favor even shorn of the other issues in play.
But when someone repeatedly in trouble with the IRS starts supplying a member of Congress with gifts, that’s an especially big problem. Even if the theme is for more aggressive taxation and collection. Come to think of it, perhaps the problem becomes even more acute under those circumstances. Posing next to a popular member of Congress sends a message to the IRS that James may be untouchable, no? That’s why members of Congress need to vet these arrangements more carefully, and why they should account for such violations.
This is the reason we have a House Ethics Committee. Excuse me, that’s inaccurate — this is the reason we have ethics rules in the House of Representatives. The House Ethics Committee exists to excuse those violations among the popular kids. Congress is like high school, except with the power to print money. Ocasio-Cortez wants to play at being a rebel, but the rest of us are the ones singing “At Seventeen.”