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Calls For Ethics Investigation Into Ocasio-Cortez After She Threatens Donald Trump Jr.

Benny Johnson | Columnist, Viral Politics

Commenters online are calling for an ethics investigation into Democratic Socialist Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez after she threatened Donald Trump Jr. for posting a meme making fun of her.

Donald Trump Jr. shared a meme that featured Ocasio-Cortez on his Instagram that claimed the policies of socialism will cause Americans to eat their dogs. The meme shows two images: one of Ocasio-Cortez with the text, “Why are you so afraid of a socialist economy?” and another image beneath Ocasio-Cortez of President Donald Trump with an overlay of text saying, “Because Americans want to walk their dogs, not eat them.”

In response to a Washington Post write up of the meme, Ocasio-Cortez threatened to use the “subpoena power” of Congress against Trump Jr.

“I have noticed that Junior here has a habit of posting nonsense about me whenever the Mueller investigation heats up,” Ocasio-Cortez said, “Please, keep it coming Jr [sic] — its definitely a very, very large brain idea to troll a member of a body that will have subpoena power in a month.”

I have noticed that Junior here has a habit of posting nonsense about me whenever the Mueller investigation heats up.

Please, keep it coming Jr – its definitely a “very, very large brain” idea to troll a member of a body that will have subpoena power in a month.

Have fun! https://t.co/oQ6MsdJYCk

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) December 7, 2018

Win McNamee/Getty Images

Commenters pointed out that the act of threatening to use the power of Congress against other Americans for partisan gain is prohibited by ethics rules.

Sean Davis of the Federalist pointed to House Ethics Manual stipulations that members of Congress are “prohibited from threatening” due to partisan politics and cited the statute.

Are you threatening to use your power as a federal official to subpoena anyone who mocks or otherwise disagrees with you on the Internet? https://t.co/6Ymzqb2Y6Y

— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) December 7, 2018

Its worth noting that the official House Ethics Manual explicitly prohibits the kind of threat that @Ocasio2018 just issued against @DonaldJTrumpJr for his refusal to support her political agenda. https://t.co/rJ83EeZXGY

— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) December 7, 2018

“Members…are not to take or withhold any official action on the
basis of the campaign contributions or support of the involved individuals, or their partisan affiliation. Members…are likewise prohibited from threatening
punitive action on the basis of such considerations.”

— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) December 7, 2018

The House prohibition on the very kind of threat that @Ocasio2018 just made to @DonaldTrumpJr couldnt be clearer: lawmakers are “prohibited from threatening punitive action” against people/groups for not politically supporting the lawmaker. Ethics Committee should investigate. pic.twitter.com/NNIPp1vsyv

— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) December 7, 2018

Other commenters on Twitter chimed in:

Did you just threaten to subpoena someone for criticizing you? As a lawyer and former prosecutor I find this deeply troubling. https://t.co/OqIpBkbsIS

— Kimberly Guilfoyle (@kimguilfoyle) December 7, 2018

Sorry, did this fool just threaten to use the power of government to punish a citizen because he posted a meme? https://t.co/gnlpGAAiKs

— Brandon Morse (@TheBrandonMorse) December 7, 2018

I tend to be nice about you and defend you from silly attacks quite a bit, but I also found it concerning and threatening. In fact, I dont see how what you expressed could be taken any differently than someone threatening to abuse their power. https://t.co/oZLaSt5CzP

— Brandon Darby (@brandondarby) December 7, 2018

Ocasio-Cortez later tweeted in response to backlash, “For the GOP crying that this is a threat — I dont have power to subpoena anybody. Congress as a body, GOP included, has the power. No [individual] member can issue a subpoena unless they are a chair (which, as a freshman, I can assure you I will not be). Also must be under purview.”

For the GOP crying that this is a “threat” – I dont have power to subpoena anybody.

Congress as a body, GOP included, has the power. No indiv. member can issue a subpoena unless they are a Chair (which, as a freshman, I can assure you I will not be). Also must be under purview.

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) December 7, 2018

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