Many woke politicians who lobbied for student loan forgiveness are themselves deeply in debt to the school, according to federal records reviewed by The Post.
Most members of “The Squad” — the coterie of socialist lawmakers led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.) — fall into this category. Collectively, they owe between $180,004 and $400,000 in student loans, records show.
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez had between $15,001 and $50,000 in federal student loans in 2020, according to her latest personal financial disclosure.
Despite her annual salary of $174,000, the economics major hasn’t paid off her balance, despite having zero percent interest and no payments due since March 2020.
“I’m 32 now, I have over $17,000 in student debt. And I didn’t go to college because I knew getting another degree would put me in debt,” she said in December. The daughter of a Westchester architect, AOC graduated from Boston University in 2011.
Critics said student loans presented a potential conflict for lawmakers in the ongoing debate over whether federal loans should be cut or canceled.
“It definitely strikes me as a conflict of interest,” said Harmeet Dhillon, California member of the Republican National Committee and former legal adviser to President Trump.
“Rep. Ocasio-Cortez is single, has no children, and earns nearly $200,000 in salary and benefits. She should set an example for her constituents and pay off her debts,” she said. added.
“I certainly think that presents a conflict of interest, and I don’t know how anyone can realistically … tell me how that’s substantially different from insider trading,” Rep. Scott Perry (R) said. -Pa.) to the Post. “The important thing is that, firstly, they are committed and, secondly, [debt cancellation] personally enrich them.
“What does this mean for all the people who fought, made the pledge and honored their pledge?” said Perry, the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, a veteran who made his way to Pennsylvania State University.
AOC did not return requests for comment.
Other members of “The Squad” are in the same boat.
Rep. Jamaal Bowman (DN.Y.), 45, has a loan balance between $100,001 and $250,000, according to his 2020 financial disclosure.
“The president has the power and the moral responsibility to cancel student debt right now,” Bowman, a graduate of the University of New Haven, Mercy College and Manhattanville College, said on the House floor in December.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) disclosed between $50,001 and $100,000 in law school loans, according to her documents, from her time at Western Michigan University.
“We need to stop treating…people who pay for education like they’re buying a spark car,” Tlaib said on the floor.
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), a graduate of North Dakota State University, reported between $15,001 and $50,000 in student loans, according to her latest filing.
They did not return calls.
There are also numerous non-team lawmakers with outstanding loan balances: Reps. Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.) and Grace Meng (DN.Y.) reported between $100,001 and $250,000 in debt , and Veronica Escobar (D-Tex.) between $75,005 and $250,000, according to records.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) disclosed between $30,002 and $50,000 in loans for him and his wife. Representative Mondaire Jones (DN.Y.) disclosed between $15,001 and $50,000.
A group of lawmakers asked President Biden in a Jan. 25 letter to forgive up to $50,000 in student loans per borrower through executive action. The president has so far been reluctant to take such a step, although he has requested a memo from the US Department of Education legally justifying it.
Additional reporting by Mary Kay Linge