Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 29-year-old Democrat who will represent the 14th Congressional District of New York, is the youngest woman ever elected to Congress and until recently worked in food service. She currently has less than $7,000 in savings, according to her communications director.
Her finances became a talking point after she mentioned to The New York Times that she's struggling to afford an apartment in Washington D.C., where the median rent, $2,700, is twice the national median. Her claims came under fire this week after some news outlets publicized a financial disclosure filed in April that showed she had as much as $15,000 in savings, and more in checking.
In the disclosure, which uses ranges rather than exact amounts, Ocasio-Cortez reported that she had:
- $15,000-$50,000 in a checking account
- $1,001-$15,000 in a savings account
- $1,001-$15,000 in a 401(k)
Her wages in 2017 came to about $26,600, according to the 2018 disclosure, and she's still paying off $15,000-$50,000 in student loan debt.
The 2018 race took its toll on her finances, Corbin Trent, director of communications for Ocasio-Cortez, tells CNBC Make It. "She's had to dip into her savings since that was filed. She's down to well below $7,000 now" in that account, and the amount in her 401(k) hasn't changed as she has not been contributing to it in recent months while she has been living off of her savings. Trent said he was unable to comment on her current checking account balance.
"Some of the money she has was obviously just saved while she was working, but some of it also came from when her parents sold the house. After her dad passed away, her mom gave her some of that money," Trent says.
Her father, who died in 2012, was a small business owner, and her mother, originally from Puerto Rico, cleaned houses, according to the Ocasio-Cortez campaign. The family sold its house in Yorktown in 2016 for $355,000.
Since quitting her job as a bartender in February, Ocasio-Cortez has taken just over $6,000 in salary from her campaign, according to campaign finance records.
The congresswoman-elect ran on a progressive platform that highlighted issues like affordable housing, the cost of college, a jobs guarantee program and Medicare for all.