Reports: Lawmakers' Median Net Worth Tops $900K

Monday, 02 Jan 2012 12:32 PM

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Median net worth for a member of Congress “is $913,000 and climbing” while for families in the country at large, it’s “$100,000 and has dropped significantly since 2004,” according to several in-depth stories published over the last week in leading newspapers.

Summing up the work in The New York Times and Washington Post, author and political journalist Thomas B. Edsall offers some of the the staggering resources available to a newly elected lawmaker, and the cushy jobs that await them if they ever lose their public job:
  • “Members of the House and Senate are treated with inflated deference throughout their working days on Capitol Hill. They have their own police force, a research service, and a cast of thousands of subordinates and special services including doorkeepers, committee aides, private restaurants, free mailing privileges, television studios, airport parking without charge and more.
  • “Each member of the House can hire a personal staff of 18 full-time and four part-time workers, all of whom devote their entire working lives to their bosses. Each representative controls his or her own annual budget, ranging from $1.4 million to $1.7 million depending on the distance from Washington that the member needs to travel.
  • “Senators’ personal staffs range from 26 to 60 depending on the size of their state. Each senator controls an office budget that runs from $2,960,726 for those representing Delaware to $4,685,279 for each of the two senators from California.
  • “There are, all together, a total of 6,804 House employees and an estimated 7,000 Senate staffers, all of whom are there to pay assiduous attention to the wishes of members. Unlike the average worker who now faces hard times if laid off, a member who loses re-election (or voluntarily retires) is virtually certain to have the option of a job paying in the $1 million-plus range in Washington’s influence-peddling industry.
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