Democratic New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney is dipping into her retirement fund in order to keep her seat, according to a new report.
The New York Times reported Monday that the 76-year-old Maloney, who has been in Congress since 1992, personally loaned her campaign some $900,000, citing campaign finance filings released Friday. When combined with the $600,000 in outside donations her campaign received in the second quarter of the year and money still unspent, Maloney currently sports a war chest of around $1.5 million, with just a few weeks left before a hotly-contested August 23 primary.
A spokeswoman for Maloney confirmed to NYT that the funds had come out of her House retirement account. Maloney also confirmed the report. “There was never a doubt that I would continue to fight for the people in my district,” she told the paper. “Thus, I decided to use some of my retirement savings to invest in this campaign.”
Maloney is in a heated contest for the newly-redrawn 12th district with fellow Democrat Jerry Nadler. Maloney and Nadler previously served in neighboring districts in Manhattan, but Congressional redistricting maps redrawn by a court-appointed special master put the two colleagues in the same district, setting up a battle for the seat. Both Maloney and Nadler are powerful members of the House Progressive Caucus, and both are chairs on influential committees in the House of Representatives. Maloney currently sits as chairwoman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, while Nadler chairs the Judiciary Committee.
For his part, Nadler’s financial disclosures show that he received $500,000 in donations in the second quarter, but he did not give himself any loans, leaving him with about $1.2 million in cash on hand. Nadler’s campaign co-manager, Julian Gerson assured NYT that “[we] have the resources we need to run a campaign that’ll talk to every voter.”
A third candidate, Suraj Patel, reported a cash-on-hand figure that was just about half of Nadler’s war chest. According to his campaign website, Patel is an attorney and community organizer who served on former President Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns and in the White House. He challenged Maloney for the nomination in 2020, and came within 3 points of defeating her.
NYT notes that Maloney gave out the loan in late May, after the new Congressional maps had been approved by the Courts. The loan likely also came after the Supreme Court sided with Senator Ted Cruz in a lawsuit against the Federal Election Commission over loans he had made to his re-election campaign. In a 6-3 ruling delivered on May 16, the same day New York’s redrawn maps were unveiled, the Court ruled that limitations on the amount of money a candidate can loan to his campaign violates his or her First Amendment right to conduct political speech. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion that limiting how much money a candidate can loan creates risks that inhibits candidates, especially new and unknown ones, from loaning money to themselves in the first place, thus limiting their ability to conduct political expression.
In addition to the heated primary in NY-12, neighboring NY-10, Nadler’s old district, is in the midst of a chaotic primary of its own. A total of 18 Democrats are vying for the now-open seat, including Rep. Mondaire Jones, who currently represents the 17th district, former New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, and former Trump impeachment counsel Daniel Goldman.