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The Congressional Wealth Gap

The Congressional Wealth Gap

Ballotpedia has compiled data on the average net worth of our elected officials for the years 2004 to 2010. As the average net worth of Congress has increased since 2004, and held about even from 2007 to 2010, the average American family net worth dropped 40 percent from 2007 to 2010 to an average of $77,300.

In 2010, the average net worth for a U.S. senator was $13,224,333. The average net worth for a Democratic senator was $19,383,524, compared to $7,054,258 for a Republican senator. That’s a difference of $12.3 million.

The top ten richest senators, the highest seven of which are Democrats, from this Ballotpedia table:

Top 10 Senators in 2010

Senator Average Net Worth
John Kerry (D-Mass) $231,722,794
Mark Warner (D-Va) $192,730,605
Herb Kohl (D-Wis) $173,538,010
Jay Rockefeller (D-WVa) $99,057,011
Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) $85,572,116
Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn) $73,151,590
Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif) $69,046,622
Bob Corker (R-Tenn) $59,550,022
James E. Risch (R-Idaho) $54,088,026
Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) $27,213,024

Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) came in as the caboose with a -$32,500 net worth.

The Republicans rule the House, however, in terms of average net worth. The 2010 average net worth was $5,992,869 for a Congressman overall, but the Republican average was $7,561,133, compared to the Democratic average of $4,465,875, which is a difference of $3.1 million.

Ballotpedia’s table of the highest net worth congressman reveals Nancy Pelosi and “Colorado Model” originator Jared Polis in the top ten, with Darrell Issa standing out as the highest net worth public servant in Congress:

Representative Average Net Worth
Darrell Issa (R-Calif) $448,125,017
Michael McCaul (R-Texas) $380,411,527
Jane Harman (D-Calif) $326,844,751
Jared Polis (D-Colo) $143,218,562
Vernon Buchanan (R-Fla) $136,152,641
Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) $101,123,032
Alan Grayson (D-Fla) $93,896,519
Kenny Marchant (R-Texas) $49,340,275
Gary Miller (R-Calif) $46,008,028
Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) $42,900,594

Another democrat is deepest in the red in the House; Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) has the lowest negative net worth at -$4,732,000.

We have never been a country to bemoan the success of others; the wealth of others offers hope for us and the next generation. This wealth gap does provide a backdrop for understanding our legislators and their influences, or lack thereof.

One of my first jobs, working for U.S. Senator Peter Fitzgerald, afforded me the opportunity to see how a Senator who could eschew kowtowing to donors and special interests could legislate from principle rather than pleasing those with money. We could use more of the Peter Fitzgerald brand of leader–and brand of Republican–in Illinois and across the country.


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I guess all that insider trading has been paying off.

How do you end up with a negative net worth of $4.7 Million?

I suppose if you had VAST real-estate holdings which are now upside-down via financial leveraging or were subject to some enormous judicial imposed liability I could possibly see it, or if he personally guaranteed some loan and put all of his assets into his wife’s name so that he’s effectively judgment-proof, but still, that’s a big number.

He better have FANTASTIC cash flow from whatever other side businesses he’s got running, or else some creditor is going to be knocking on his door after this asking for a “guarantee.”

    Ragspierre in reply to Chuck Skinner. | August 2, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    His congressional financial disclosure form indicated that, as of 2010, Hastings did not have any earned income, he had a bank account with a balance in $1,000 to $15,000 range, and he owed several million dollars in legal fees to several attorneys stemming from 1981-1989 charges.

    Hastings attracted attention after it was reported that incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi might appoint him as head of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Pelosi reportedly favored Hastings instead of the ranking Democrat Jane Harman due to policy differences and support for Hastings by the Congressional Black Caucus.

    Can. You. Imagine.

    Crazy Nanny Pelosi wanted this thug heading Congressional Intelligence. Sometimes, even I forget how insane these people really are…

      Congressional salary doesn’t count as “earned income?” That’s one I had not heard before.

      And I NEVER forget that Democrat Party members are utterly insane. The daily reminders via their policy statements and economic ineptitude are just too glaring for me.

      As for the impeached and convicted former Judge, now Rep. Hastings, I can see a trial of that magnitude and subsequent impeachment costing that much. Like I said above, all his assets are likely in his wife’s name, thus protected and making him “Judgment Proof.”

        Ragspierre in reply to Chuck Skinner. | August 2, 2012 at 11:00 pm

        Could be, Chuck. If he transferred any assets fraudulently, I could get ’em. But I reckon his wife is righteously the only one with any assets. I also bet his lawyers have very SPECIAL arrangements and are getting paid.

Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) came in as the caboose with a -$32,500 net worth.
Maybe Stabenow is broke from her husband overpaying for hookers on craigslist… nothing screams fiscal responsibility like paying $150 for something advertised for $100 … but such is liberalism.

casualobserver | August 2, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Hey, following the progressive logic, we should be demanding that more of their wealth be returned back to “us”. After all, they have been using OUR buildings built with tax dollars using the people’s labor, OUR underground trolleys, OUR benches and chairs, OUR computers and offices, etc., etc. It would be interesting to see a plot of exactly how much the average net worth increases while using OUR stuff!!! It’s bound to be heart stopping, the increase in wealth WHILE in office.

Seems only fair….

I don’t begrudge them their money. I just wonder how they can possibly relate to an average family?

So Senator Debbie Stabenow is pretty much worthless.

    Anchovy in reply to punfundit. | August 2, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    This would be the case even if she had a net worth of several million dollars. Don’t confuse wealth with worthiness (see Kerry, John).

…how a Senator who could eschew kowtowing to donors and special interests could legislate from principle rather than pleasing those with money…

Theoretically. What is more important to look at rather than what they have “now” is the increase in net worth for these Senators and Congressmen since attaining office.

And I’m sure all these Democrats *wish* (with all their hearts and souls) they could just pay more taxes.

Gosh, all that wealth laying about and no way to give it back to the working middle class families. They must lie awake at night fretting over the unfairness of it all.

No wonder they all look so bug-eyed and distemperate.

How did our esteemed minority leader amass his wealth? Does his wife make all the dough. Based on the link, he’s never had much of a real job, but his financial results would make LBJ blush like a schoolgirl with envy. 27 large is pretty stout out here in the real world.

Thought I saw a vote on CSPAN the other day where House voted almost unanimously to tax their own retirement accounts or something.
Sheesh, jus like the private sector.

Of course, baby blue panties Harry Reid would probably not take up the measure in the Senate -safe vote!

I agree with you about Senator Fitzgerald. And I really like Illinois’ 6th district Rep. Peter Roskam.

Next time, look into how many of ’em married into that money. I’m going to guess the Dems run away with that race.

The Tea Party will never become lessened or deemed insignificant, as long as the checks and balances put in place by the Founders, continues to root out political corruption. The Obama Administration wasn’t just an eye opener, it was the biggest fraud brought down on Americans by themselves. It may take time but we will clean up every branch of Government, straight through to the Peoples House.

“…afforded me the opportunity to see how a Senator who could eschew kowtowing to donors and special interests could legislate from principle rather than pleasing those with money.”

Yeah, that’s worked out wonderfully in Mark Warner and John Kerry’s case.

There’s a line between being beholden to big donors and being able to be completely unresponsive to the needs and desires of your constituents.

Mark Warner’s legislative record is in line with the desires of, at best, 1/6th the residents of VA. But, he can self finance his campaigns at whatever level is necessary to assure reelection.

“Look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own.” – Barack Hussein Obama, The WORST PRESIDENT IN AMERICAN HISTORY, 16 July 2012.

This statement applies to form d-cRAT socialist party presidential nominee (no joke!!!!) moneybags John Kerry better than just about anybody else on Earth. Here’s why…

TAX-AND SPENT d-cRAT socialist john kerry evaded the $437,500 one-time sales tax charge in Massachusetts, as well as about $70,000 in annual excise taxes, by docking his newest $7 MILLION New Zealand-built (i.e., NO AMERICAN JOBS) yacht in Rhode Island instead of in massachusetts. When his tax evasion was discovered, lunatic-left hypocrite kerry claimed that paying the tax isn’t the real “problem”. The “problem” is just that he didn’t do the PR on this matter correctly !

Money-grubbing kerry married TWO HOMELY (I’m being very, very generous here – actually they are so ugly their faces cause paint to peal off of walls) MULTI-MILLIONAIRES FOR THEIR MONEY. (Can anybody get lower than that?)

Remember how pompous, elitist kerry voted FOR the Iraq war before he voted AGAINST it ?

And now, we learn that this fat-cat UBBER ONE PERCENTER carries out massive insider stock trading based on healthcare legislation he is helping create to make himself even more millions

D-cRAT socialist kerry has to be a leading contender for the title of lowest, most despicably corrupt elected reprobate in the country.

Can we have an open and transparent government? I’d like a detailed list of all of their investments.

And notice within 24 hours of something anyone in Congress invests in (assuming it’s even something us peons could invest in).

Better yet, they should have to release what they PLAN to invest in and that trade can only take place a week AFTER public notification.

Share the wealth.

/Damn, I sound like some ignorant, envious fascist…but I stand by my statement.

All this proves the republicans aren’t on the gravy train so much. I wonder if these dims were this wealthy or anywhere near it when they entered office. Remember Lyndon Johnson. Poor guy from the sticks without one nickel to rub against the other wound up a millionaire. If he lived today, I’ll bet he would give John Kerry a run for his money in these stakes. Get rich quick…win a seat in the House, the senate or the whitehouse. Or all three for the jackpot.

With this much money Jon Cary tried to bilk Massachusetts out of taxes and fees for his boat? Talk about a cheapskate.

[…] Legal Insurrection posted an article today about what has happened to the wealth of Americans over the past three years. It is interesting to note that average net worth of Congress has increased since 2004, and held about even from 2007 to 2010, the average American family net worth dropped 40 percent from 2007 to 2010 to an average of $77,300. […]

Henry Hawkins | August 2, 2012 at 9:11 pm

It’s good to be the king.

The amazing thing is that the GOP people on the list earned their fortunes. The democrats on the list either inherited it, or married into it. In John Kerry’s case, he married into it, and then made millions on illegally trading with his wife’s money on investments based on Senate inside information:

Just imagine if we had a House Speaker with a pair of gonads, instead of this abject putz:

Wally Kalbacken | August 3, 2012 at 2:49 am

These numbers are reported using a very perverse definition of value (large $ ranges) which obscure actual net worth. I have read that Herb Kohl may be in the $700M range, by normal accounting methods.

It is nice to see that Darryl Issa has so much F*** Y** money. I think we can safely say, that he is isolated from any intimidation from the Democrats.

Per Sen. Fitzgerald, that seems to support the argument for repealing the 17th amendment – appointed Senators would have no need for campaign “donors.” We could go back to calling that transaction by it’s proper name, “bribery.”

I hereby propose a “Off The Top” tax for all members of Congress of 50% of all gains in net worth experienced during their time in office, to be paid every January 1, no exceptions.

Oh, and it needs to include their direct relatives.

Sauce for the Goose….