Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) expressed doubts last week about how she would be able to afford a Washington, D.C. apartment before receiving her congressional salary, but a Financial Disclosure Report has raised questions about whether she was actually in a place of financial uncertainty.
According to a report filed April 30, 2018, Ocasio-Cortez had a checking account worth between $15,001 and $50,000 and two investment accounts worth between $1,001 and $15,000. She also took a salary from her campaign (a common move), drawing about $6,200 between August 15 and October 15, according to Federal Election Commission data.
This is important because: Ocasio-Cortez accused Fox News hosts who joked about her situation of mocking working class people and laughing at the U.S. housing crisis. "It reveals what they actually think about us," she wrote on Twitter on Friday. However, the account balances shown on the report are not typically associated with the "working class."
What she really said was: While it has been widely reported (and not corrected by Ocasio-Cortez) that she said she could not afford an apartment in Washington, D.C., that's not exactly what she said.
The story began with a quote in a New York Times article. Here is the excerpt:
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said the transition period will be "very unusual, because I can't really take a salary. I have three months without a salary before I'm a member of Congress. So, how do I get an apartment? Those little things are very real." She said she saved money before leaving her job at the restaurant, and planned accordingly with her partner. "We're kind of just dealing with the logistics of it day by day, but I've really been just kind of squirreling away and then hoping that gets me to January."
The way she worded her answer is somewhat ambiguous. It's possible she saved $15,000 before leaving her restaurant job in February, and spent the money between then and when she began taking a campaign salary in August. But, it's also possible that she's in a much more comfortable financial position than she implied to the New York Times and in her Twitter responses.
Ocasio-Cortez will earn $174,000 annually beginning next year.