Ted Cruz likes to tell a story about how he and his wife Heidi financed his scrappy, underdog campaign for the United States Senate four years ago together, out of pocket. This, according to a report from the New York Times, is pretty much a lie.
“Sweetheart, I’d like us to liquidate our entire net worth, liquid net worth, and put it into the campaign,” Cruz said he told his wife. “What astonished me, then and now, was Heidi within 60 seconds said, ‘Absolutely,’ with no hesitation.”
Altogether, the couple put $1.2 million in “personal funds” into Cruz’s campaign—$960,000 before the May 2012 Republican primary and another couple hundred thousand before the scheduled runoff. This, Cruz said, was “all we had saved.”
That, however, is not exactly true. Ted and Heidi Cruz, the Times reports, in the early part of 2012, obtained two low-interest (3 percent) loans: one from Goldman Sachs, where Mrs. Cruz worked (currently on leave, she was making six figures as a managing director in Goldman’s Houston office; her husband was making $1 million per year as a law partner); and one, in the form of a line of credit, from Citibank. Together, they amounted to as much as $1 million.
The Cruz campaign paid Ted Cruz back for the money he lent it—again, his own campaign—by the end of 2012, and his personal financial records show that he and Heidi paid Citibank back that same year as well. They still owe Goldman Sachs between $50,000 and $100,000, though. (While he did disclose the loans—without stating their purpose—in personal financial reports filed with the Senate, the Times reports that Cruz did not disclose the loans in his actual campaign finance reports.)
This is all a bit inconvenient for Cruz, who has attempted to position himself as a populist skeptical of the financial industry’s power and influence. “Goldman is one of the biggest banks on Wall Street, and my criticism with Washington is they engage in crony capitalism. They give favors to Wall Street and big business and that’s why I’ve been an outspoken opponent of crony capitalism, taking on leaders in both parties,” he said last March.
“Like many other players on Wall Street and big business, they seek out and get special favors from government,” Cruz added. “I think they’re entitled to practice their business, but without subsidies or special benefits.”
Incidentally, not only is Heidi Cruz on leave from Goldman, Cruz’s campaign chairman, Chad Sweet, worked at the multinational investment bank for ten years, from 1996 to 2006. (Before that, he worked at Morgan Stanley, and before that he worked at the CIA. After Goldman, he worked at the Department of Homeland Security, where he ultimately became chief of staff.)
In a radio interview on Tuesday, Ted Cruz said that Donald Trump “embodies New York values,” which may or may not have been coded anti-Semitism. On Wednesday, however, Kellyanne Conway, a Republican strategist at pro-Cruz SuperPAC Keep the Promise, clarified the Texan’s comments to Fox News reporter Dan Gallo: “New York is home to many wonderful people and places, but the emphasis is more on money than morality, on self-aggrandizment than humility. The line to get in Abercrombie & Fitch is a mile longer than the line to get into St. Patrick’s Cathedral.”
Maybe so! But it is still difficult to think of a New York institution that emphasizes money over morality more than Goldman Sachs.