New financial disclosures show that Julia Salazar, a New York state senator who campaigned as a democratic socialist, dipped deeply into her trust fund to fund her campaign.
The freshman lawmaker filed papers stating the trust was worth $10 million, according to the New York Post. She later claimed the original number was an error, and that the trust was only worth $400,000, citing a clerical mistake on her part.
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Salazar withdrew $18,000 from the fund during her campaign and told the Post that she needed the money to cover her living expenses while taking leave from work.
"The $18,000 was used to support myself, because I had to stop working in order to campaign, and I had to go on unpaid leave," she said. "Basically seven months of living expenses on top of savings that I had from working."
Salazar is not required to report the fund's full value, but according to media reports, the fund was worth an excess of $600,000 in 2011.
While campaigning in 2018, Salazar came under fire for misrepresenting her background as a Colombian-born "proud immigrant" coming from a poor, working-class family. In reality, Salazar was born in the United States and raised in a middle class Florida family. Salazar also attempted to claim Jewish ancestry on her father's side, though her mother told the Post that her daughter was baptized Catholic.
Salazar's brother Alex Salazar also dispelled her claims about her working class background, telling New York Magazine, "We were probably what you would consider upper middle class.
"My father was a commercial airline pilot and did well, and he had a successful business as well that he had at the same time," she added.
Salazar with the help of the progressive group Justice Democrats, launched her campaign off the success of fellow democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.), who upset longtime Congressman Joe Crowley in a primary election.