Democratic socialist Julia Salazar lived off trust fund during campaign

July 19, 2019

Democratic socialist Julia Salazar was living off a trust fund while she campaigned as a champion for the working-class, The New York Post reported.

The 28-year-old Brooklyn state senator, who previously was accused of identity fraud for posing as the child of poor immigrants, was living off a trust fund worth $10 million, according to a campaign finance report. But Salazar later told the Post that the huge amount she reported was mistakenly inflated.

Trust fund baby

The Post reported that Salazar, in a Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) form on May 18, disclosed that she received $18,000 from her late father’s trust. She used the code “Category DDDDD” to signify that the fund was worth $10 million.

But Salazar told the Post that the amount reported was an error. She told the paper that she meant to write “Category D,” which means between $5,000-$20,000. She told the paper that she misread Category DDDDD, which is for amounts of “10,000,000 and over,” as saying it was for “$10,000 and over.”

“I looked at it in a cursory way,” she told The Post, adding, “I mistook the comma versus the decimal point, so it added it extra zeros.”

Salazar told the paper that the fund is actually valued at less than $400,000. However, the Post noted that Salazar followed the instructions correctly on the next line, where she reported her income from her job as a community organizer for Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, which was marked down as Category E, between or $20,000 and $50,000.

“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.”

In 2011, Salazar’s trust fund was valued at $600,000 or more, according to court records, the paper noted.

Champagne socialists

Along with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s upset win, Salazar’s election victory was heralded as an advance for a new generation of Democratic socialists. But also like Ocasio-Cortez, Salazar has been scrutinized for fulfilling the “champagne socialist” stereotype.

Last year, Salazar was criticized after explosive reports alleged that she lied about her just-so story of a working-class immigrant rising up above adverse circumstances. Salazar claimed that her family immigrated from Colombia and that she grew up poor. But Salazar’s family members revealed that she was born in the United States to a comfortable, upper middle-class family in Jupiter, Florida — her father was a pilot earning six figures.

“We were very much middle class. We had a house in Jupiter along the river, it was in a beautiful neighborhood,” her brother Alex Salazar told City & State. “I feel very strongly about my family and I want to tell the truth.”

The Democrat socialist was also outed for formerly being a Republican who held staunchly pro-life, pro-Israel views during college. Salazar has also been accused of fabricating a Jewish upbringing for political reasons — Salazar, as a progressive, is now staunchly critical of Israel.

Salazar defeated the eight-term incumbent, despite all this scrutiny, and went on to serve as a state senator.

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Matthew Boose

Matthew Boose is a staff writer for Conservative Institute. He has a Bachelor's degree from Stony Brook University and has contributed to The Daily Caller and The Stony Brook Press.