Talk about income inequality! The net wealth of an average federal lawmaker is 18 times more than that of the median household in America, according to the political watchdog site OpenSecrets.org.
The organization’s Center for Responsive Politics said that the average wealth of a member of Congress was $1,029,505 in 2013 — a 2.5 percent increase from 2012, which contrasts heavily with an average American household’s median net worth of $56,355.
The research of 2013 figures showed that a little more than half the senators and representatives are millionaires — 271 of the 533 members in office, or 50.8 percent.
While seven members have assets worth more than $100 million, there are two dozen Washington, D.C., politicians whose net worth is worth less than zero, the analysis of lawmakers' financial statements revealed.
Although the average worth of an American family has fallen by a third from 2007-13, members of Congress have fared significantly better.
The Senate’s median net assets increased from $2.3 million to $2.8 million during those years, while for members of the House the figure grew from $708,500 to $843,507, according to Open Secrets.
"At a time when income inequality is much debated, the representatives we [voted for] are overwhelmingly affluent," said CRP’s Executive Director Sheila Krumholz.
"Whether voters elect them because they are successful or because people of modest means do not run, or for other reasons, is unclear, but struggling Americans should not assume that their elected officials understand their circumstances."
Republicans are slightly better off than Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics' research.
In 2013, the median net worth of Democratic members decreased 14.3 percent in a year to under $1 million, while the median net worth of Republicans increased 10.1 percent to $1.1 million.
California GOP Rep. Darrell Issa, who made his fortune in car alarms, keeps his title as the wealthiest member of Congress, with a net worth around $448 million, which is $15.6 million less than last year. However, he does owe up to $100 million on two personal loans.
The second richest member of Congress is Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, with $254 million in 2013, slightly less than the previous year.
Two Republicans and three Democrats make up the rest of the seven members who are worth nine figures or more, Open Secrets reported.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi increased her average net worth from $87.9 million in 2012 to $100.8 million in 2013, due to a rise in the value of her properties in northern California.
For the third year in a row, GOP Rep. David Valadao of California had the dubious honor of being the poorest member of Congress, with a net worth in 2013 of negative $11.5 million, mainly due to large revolving loans to support his family’s dairy farms.
Democratic Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow retained her position as the poorest member of the Senate, with assets of just $32,500 in her checking account, the report said.
Financial disclosure forms don’t insist that lawmakers report the values of their primary residences, Open Secrets said, while adding that in some cases they have been included.
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