Study: Nearly Half of Congressional Members Are Millionaires

Wednesday, 16 Nov 2011 02:07 PM

By Greg McDonald

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Nearly half of Congress is made up of millionaires, with most senators better off financially than their counterparts in the so-called lower chamber of the House. According to a new analysis of 2010 financial disclosure data by the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, at least 249 out of Congress’ 535 members are millionaires.
 
The analysis — released Tuesday — is based on the median value of each lawmaker’s assets and liabilities, which members are required by law to report every year.
 
But since they are only required to disclose their financial worth in non-specific, broad range numbers, determining their true wealth is almost impossible. Still, the reporting does provide a wide-angle glimpse of personal finances.
 
“The vast majority of members of Congress are quite comfortable, financially, while many of their own constituents suffer from economic hardships,” noted Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics.
 
“It’s no surprise that so many people grumble about lawmakers being out-of-touch,” she said. “Few Americans enjoy the same financial cushion maintained by most members of Congress — or the same access to market-altering information that could yield personal financial gains.”
 
The center’s analysis of 2010 member disclosure reports found that 36 Democrats and 30 Republicans in the Senate reported a median net worth of more than $1 million. In the House, the same was true of 110 Republicans and 73 Democrats. 

Among Senate Republicans, the median net worth was estimated at about $2.43 million and among Senate Democrats it was $2.58 million.
 
Meanwhile on the House side, the median net worth of Republicans was reported by the center to be $834,250 last year and $635,500 among Democrats. For House members overall, the median net worth was found to be $756,765 based on 2010 disclosure reports.
 
The center said that figure is about 17 percent higher than it was in 2008, when the Wall Street crash was at its worst.
 
The center report also named names in terms of Congress’ richest members.

In the House, California Rep. Darrell Issa ranked as the wealthiest Republican with an average net worth of about $448 million.
 
Colorado Rep. Jared Polis drew the distinction as the richest Democrat, with an average net worth estimated by the center at $143 million.
 
In the Senate, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry holds the distinction of being the wealthiest Democrat, with an estimated average net worth of $232 million, according to the center. On the Republican side, Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee was listed as the richest lawmaker with an average net worth of $60 million.

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