Did AOC hire her boyfriend or is he just looking at her calendar?

Some days Twitter will produce some awesome catfights. Yesterday was one of those days. A tweet claiming that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) hired her boyfriend as a staffer caught my attention. A podcaster and former NRSC staffer, as well as a Jeb! supporter, Luke Thompson sent out a tweet that brought a speedy reply from AOC herself. Why has Riley Roberts been given a mail.house.gov email account? It sure looks like AOC lists him as a staffer.

In response, AOC denied she hired Mr. Roberts and instead, he’s just been given access to her calendar. She tweeted that Congressional spouses do it all the time. Not to nitpick but her boyfriend isn’t her spouse. Then she told him to check his facts next time. He later noted this reprimand brought him amusement.

Then AOC’s chief of staff pounced on behalf of her boss. “And spouses are allowed to know what their partner is doing.” Again not her spouse but you get the idea.

So, this communications guy tweets the actual policy and no, spouses are not included in the list of authorized users of the House electronics system and resources. I’ve sure never heard of a Congressional member doling out a government email address so someone could “know what their partner is doing.” I mean, everyone has a cell phone and knows how to use it, right? Or, at the very least a spouse can text if a question comes up. You know, like normal folks do during their work days.


And, oops. Thompson tweeted out part of a directory that sure appears to list Roberts as a staffer.

Thompson even tweeted out Roberts LinkedIn info. It looks like the guy is an IT consultant who does web design. Roberts deleted his profile after that. Meanwhile, Thompson paid the price for daring to question the freshman socialist darling in social media and was kicked off Twitter for a while. Never fear, he’s back and pushing buttons as usual. Good for him.

I thought AOC was all about not being a swamp person on Capitol Hill. So much for transparency. She’s adjusting to the swamp quickly. The couple has been profiled in a couple of national women’s magazines.

According to a piece in the NY Post, Congressional spouses get some perks on a regular basis, like parking privileges and a pin to bypass security but a spokesman for the House administrative office says email accounts are requested “from time to time”, which doesn’t sound like it’s as common as AOC’s office claims.

Spouses of members of Congress are afforded privileges, such as a House email address, a congressional pin to bypass security and a House license plate to enter Capitol grounds and enjoy parking privileges, House aides say.

While he’s not officially a spouse, Roberts can have access to House email for calendar purposes, according to the office of the Chief Administrative Officer of the House.

“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,” said David O’Boyle, a spokesman for the administrative office.

So, is he a staffer or not? Probably not and the Washington Post was only too happy to make light of the question. They got a quote from AOC’s chief of staff, too.

Her chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti, told The Post that, “Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s partner, Mr. Roberts, has no official position, paid or otherwise, with her congressional office. Members of Congress have very tightly scheduled calendars that their family members and partners are allowed to access to make personal plans around official schedules.”

AOC’s a public servant. It just seems like the spouse/partner/significant other of an elected official can keep up with that person like the rest of us do it and not using a government email account. The former representative from Utah says it’s not standard behavior and shouldn’t be. That falls into the job description of a congressional office’s scheduler.

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.

“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.”

This doesn’t happen in the corporate world and shouldn’t in Congress, either. I don’t know that the ethics committee needs to investigate but the practice should stop. A government email address shouldn’t be a perk for a spouse.