Thursday, January 9, 2014
Congress Is Now Mostly A Millionaires’ Club
For the first time, more than half of congressional lawmakers are worth at least $1 million
A furloughed federal employee holds a sign on the steps to the U.S. Capitol after the government shut down on Capitol Hill on Oct. 1, 2013.
Congress is loaded, if you weren’t already aware.
The Center for Responsive Politics analyzed the personal financial disclosure data from 2012 of the 534 current members of Congress and found that, for the first time, more than half had an average net worth of $1 million or more: 268 to be exact, up from 257 the year earlier. The median for congressional Democrats was $1.04 million and, for Republicans, $1 million even.
To calculate the net worth of lawmakers, the Center added together members’ significant assets, such as corporate bonds and stocks, then subtracted major liabilities such as loans, credit card debt and property mortgages.
Here’s the breakdown: the median net worth for all House members was $896,000 (Democrats averaged $929,000 to Republicans’ $884,000) and, for Senators, $2.5 million. The median net worth for Senate Democrats was $1.7 million, down from $2.4 million in 2011; for Republicans: $2.9 million, up from $2.5 million in 2011.
Richest and Poorest Members
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Oversight Committee who made his millions in the car alarm business, was the richest lawmaker in Congress with an average net worth of $464 million in 2012.
The least-wealthy member was Rep. David Valadao (R-Calif.), who reported an average net worth of negative $12.1 million. Valadao is in the red, the Center found, due to loans for his family’s dairy farm.
Who’s Investing In What
The group also analyzed the members’ investments. General Electric was the most popular holding; the minimum Democratic investment was $927,777 and the smallest Republican investment was $2,130,657. The top five rounded out with Wells Fargo, Microsoft Corp., Procter & Gamble, and Apple Inc.
The full list of 2012 personal financial disclosures from members of Congress can be found here.