Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is telling critics to check their facts after yet another right-wing conspiracy theory about the congresswoman. On Friday, Feb. 15, a Republican political consultant revealed via Twitter that Ocasio-Cortez’s longtime boyfriend Riley Roberts apparently has an official House email account, which he claimed was due to the congresswoman giving her partner a job as a congressional staffer. The 29-year-old, who has touted an anti-corruption policy since the day she took office, wasn’t about to let this theory fly, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s response to Riley Roberts’ congressional email controversy clapped back at her critics by pointing to precedent. Elite Daily reached out to Ocasio-Cortez’s office for further comment on her response to the claims and whether Roberts is employed as a member of her staff, but did not hear back by the time of publication.
Ocasio-Cortez is no stranger to fielding near-constant criticism and speculation since being sworn into the House of Representatives, and on Friday, Feb. 15, she was forced to defend herself once again. Republican strategist Luke Thompson claimed that American taxpayers were unknowingly paying a staffer salary for Roberts, who has reportedly been dating Ocasio-Cortez since college, per Marie Claire. Elite Daily reached out to Ocasio-Cortez’s representation for comment how long the congresswoman and Roberts have been in a relationship, but did not hear back at the time of publication. His reasoning? The fact that the web developer apparently has an official House email account, which Thompson shared in a screenshot on Twitter.
He captioned the since-deleted photo:
While you were having a nice Valentine’s Day, @AOC decided to put her boyfriend on staff – drawing a salary on the taxpayer’s dime. Nice to see her adapting to the swamp so quickly.
Soon after, the tweet was reportedly taken down by Twitter because it included Roberts’ email and phone number, which is in violation of the social media platform’s rules.
Actually this cal designation is a permission so he can have access to my Google Cal. Congressional spouses get Gcal access all the time.
Next time check your facts before you tweet nonsense.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 15, 2019
Despite the fact that Ocasio-Cortez said that Roberts was not an employee and his access was granted to allow him to view her Google Calendar, following established precedent regarding calendar access for spouses and longtime partners, Thompson pressed on with his theory that the congresswoman’s SO was still doing government work.
“He’s not your spouse. Is he being paid? At what level? It says ‘staff’, not spouse or boyfriend,” he wrote. “Furthermore he doesn’t appear to be in any groups and the House doesn’t use Google. Are you giving him access to your official calendar? Why does he have his own email address?”
I’d also like to know, if he’s not a government employee, in what capacity he’s doing government work. Are you having campaign volunteers handle duties in your official office?
Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti responded, letting Thompson know once again that no, Roberts was not an employee on payroll, and no, he was not doing any government work.
“He’s not paid. We have no volunteers in the office. He’s not doing any government work,” he wrote. “He can see her calendar just like spouses/partners/family members in other congressional offices. Check your damn facts before you report bulls**t. Lazy journos need to learn to do their jobs.”