Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the young Democratic representative from New York, has done anything but sit quietly during her first few years in office. Her strong opinions and unflinching way of expressing them have garnered strong criticism as well as loyal supporters.
"AOC," as Ocasio-Cortez is often called in the media, is considered a progressive Democrat. While representing the 14th Congressional District of New York, the congresswoman has earned the regular salary of a representative. Claims in Mar. 2021 began circulating on social media about AOC being a millionaire. What's AOC’s actual net worth?
AOC's education and career
Ocasio-Cortez earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations and economics from Boston University in 2011. During her undergraduate years, she served as an intern at Senator Ted Kennedy’s immigration office, followed by time working in the Bronx in the restaurant business.
Prior to beginning her political career, Ocasio-Cortez also founded a small publishing company and worked as a lead educational strategist at GAGEis, Inc. She worked for the nonprofit National Hispanic Institute as well.
Ocasio-Cortez won the office of representative against powerful incumbent Joe Crowley. Her first term began in Jan. 2019. That year, she also received a Boston University Distinguished Alumni Award for her contributions.
AOC's net worth and salary
Legislators, particularly those who argue fervently about financial issues such as student loan forgiveness and income inequality, are subject to scrutiny of their own finances. Like most members of Congress, Ocasio-Cortez earns a salary of $174,000.
Higher-ranking legislators earn more, with the Speaker of the House’s salary set at $223,500. President pro tempore and majority and minority leaders in the House and the Senate earn $193,400 per year.
Since AOC was earning very little as a bartender before taking office and has only been in office for two-and-a-half years earning $174,000, her net worth is certainly far below $1 million. Some estimate her net worth to be $200,000, which makes sense given her income and student loan obligations.
Rumors began circulating on Facebook last spring of her having a million-dollar net worth. A Facebook user posted, “2 years ago AOC was broke when elected,” and questioned how she could possibly have a $1-million net worth already. Numerous sources refuted this claim via fact-checking, including Reuters and USA Today.
Congressional financial disclosures
Members of the U.S. Congress are required to provide financial disclosures of their income, including the source, type, amount, or value of any income they have earned. The STOCK Act of 2012 changed the law to require greater financial transparency for publicly elected leaders.
AOC’s financial disclosures for 2017 and 2018 included:
Between $1,001 and $15,000 in a brokerage account.
Between $1,001 and $15,000 invested in a 401(k) plan.
$3,588 in restaurant wages the previous year.
$21,875 earned from her 2018 congressional campaign.
Ocasio-Cortez has also publicly stated she was still paying off student loan debt, which financial reports showed to be between $15,001 and $50,000.