Fact Check

Was AOC Fined a Year's Salary for Skipping the February 2020 SOTU?

A routine review of content labeled satire.

Published Feb. 5, 2020

PERRY, IOWA - JANUARY 26:  Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) speaks during a campaign event with Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) at La Poste January 26, 2020 in Perry, Iowa. A New York Times/Siena College poll conducted January 20-23 places Sanders at the top of a long list of Democrats seeking the presidential nomination with 25-percent of likely Iowa caucus-goers naming him as their first choice. Candidates former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) are polling at 18, 17 and 15-percent, respectively. 
 (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Image Via Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was fined a year's salary for not attending the Feb. 4, 2020, State of the Union address.

On Feb. 5, 2020, the Potatriots United website published an article positing that U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had been fined a year's salary by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for not attending the "mandatory" State of the Union address the day before:

Mitch McConnell Fines AOC One Year’s Salary for Skipping Mandatory SOTU Speech

The United States Constitution is clear about the State of the Union Address. It’s a requirement that the President deliver it, and a requirement that all of Congress attend, unless they have a verifiable illness or emergency. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortisone broke the law when she decided to skip the speech to make a political statement.

The rules set forth by the 103rd Congress make clear that anyone willfully skipping the President’s speech will be reprimanded by the Senate Majority Leader and fined up to one year’s salary for their crime. McConnell made the decision this morning to fine her the full amount.

This item was not a factual recounting of real-life events. The article originated with a website that describes its output as being humorous or satirical in nature, as follows:

Everything on this website is fiction. It is not a lie and it is not fake news because it is not real. If you believe that it is real, you should have your head examined. Any similarities between this site’s pure fantasy and actual people, places, and events are purely coincidental and all images should be considered altered and satirical.

For background, here is why we sometimes write about satire/humor.