Study: Majority in Congress Are Millionaires

Thursday, 09 Jan 2014 08:55 PM

By Cathy Burke

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For the first time in history, a majority of lawmakers in Congress are millionaires, according to an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics.

The analysis found of the 534 current members of Congress, at least 268, just a shade over 50 percent, had an average net worth of $1 million or more in 2012, based on disclosures they filed last year.

The Center reported 257 members, or about 48 percent, had a median net worth of at least $1 million last year.

"Despite the fact that polls show how dissatisfied Americans are with Congress overall, there's been no change in our appetite to elect affluent politicians to represent our concerns in Washington,” said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center.

"Of course, it's undeniable that in our electoral system, candidates need access to wealth to run financially viable campaigns, and the most successful fundraisers are politicians who swim in those circles to begin with."

The Center also found senators are richer than members of the House, with members of the upper chamber boasting an average net worth of nearly $2.8 million, compared with nearly $900,000 for their colleagues on the other side of the Hill.

According to the analysis, the richest congressman, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., has an estimated net worth of $464,115,018 – over $200 million more than the next-wealthiest congressman, Sen. Mark Warner,D-Va., who has an estimated net worth of $257,481,658.

On the other end, Rep. David Valadao, R-Calif., has an estimated $12,167,002 in debt, most of it related to his family's dairy farm, according to the Center.

Lawmakers’ top stock picks include Apple, with 62 investors, and J.P. Morgan Chase with 56 investors, U.S. News and World Report notes.

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