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10 richest members of Congress

By Kay Bell ·
Thursday, August 22, 2013
Posted: 4 pm ET

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who for the last few months has dedicated himself to finding a link between the Obama White House and the Internal Revenue Service's scrutiny of Tea Party groups seeking tax-exempt status, is back in the news.

This time, though, it's not his tax-related tenacity that's getting attention. It's his personal wealth.

Darrell Issa

Darrell Issa is the richest member of Congress.

Issa is the richest member of Congress, according to The Hill's latest analysis of lawmakers' wealth. Each year, the Capitol Hill newspaper compiles a list of the 50 richest representatives and senators. The lawmakers' minimum net worth is based on financial disclosure forms that members of Congress must file each year. Those reports, however, provide only value ranges instead of exact figures. Still, the documents give us a rough idea of how much each public servant pockets.

In the latest accounting, 37 representatives made the list, with the remaining 13 coming from the Senate. Overall, and for the third consecutive year, more Republicans than Democrats made the wealth cut.

Issa is No. 1

Issa, who serves as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, saw his fortune increase to $355.4 million in 2012, enough to take the crown. Before coming to Washington, D.C., Issa was a co-founder of Directed Electronics, the maker of the Viper anti-auto-theft system. Now, says The Hill, most of Issa's wealth is kept in large investment funds. And his current bottom line was helped by eliminating some debt. According to the newspaper, Issa no longer shows around $100 million in personal notes and loans as liabilities on his financial disclosure forms.

Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, was bumped from the top of the Capitol Hill richest list. McCaul is now second, with a net worth of "only" $101.9 million. While most of us would take that relatively paltry amount in a New York minute, it's a $200 million drop from McCaul's value last year. The reason for the reduction, says The Hill, is that McCaul opted to report his wife and family's holdings differently in 2012.

Coming in third this year is Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va. He's worth $88.5 million. The former Virginia governor co-founded the company that later became Nextel and has continued to invest in tech start-ups. He also had no debts to report.

A familiar name when discussing wealth came in fourth, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va. The great-grandson of oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller is worth $83.8 million. Did refinancing help Rockefeller's bottom line last year? Maybe. The Hill reports that Rockefeller's wealth increased slightly from 2011 after a mortgage held by his wife on their New York condo fell by a half-million dollars.

Taking the fifth spot is newcomer Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. The first-term Democrat from the Constitution State counts trusts and real estate investments, including office buildings, apartments, warehouses and shopping centers, as part of his $76.6 million net worth.

The rest of the rich

Rounding out the top 10 are Rep. John Delaney, D-Md., worth $68.4 million; Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., worth $60.2 million; Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif., worth $44.7 million; Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., worth $41.6 million; and Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Ohio, worth $35.9 million.

And who is the poorest, relatively speaking, member of Congress?

Eking onto the list in the 50th spot is Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., with his net worth of $6.5 million.


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Veteran contributing editor Kay Bell is the author of the book "The Truth About Paying Fewer Taxes" and a co-author of the e-book "Future Millionaires' Guidebook."

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T Egizi
September 04, 2013 at 3:36 am

Treasonous pigs should all be swinging from the oaks as is our rights as citizens of US. When are we going to stop singing Kumbaya and start raising our rifles? One can only hope these thousands of disenchanted soldiers will come back trained and ready to fight our real enemies. The US government and the Pigs in blue. Take back our country. But alas, Syria will be the end of us all. Say good night Gracie.

September 03, 2013 at 5:56 pm

@ chris merrow

UUUMMMMM, there are 100 Senators...2 for each State.

September 03, 2013 at 9:19 am

You made sure to mention there were more R's than D's in the top 50 list;however 7 out of the top 10 are Democrats! Typical.

September 02, 2013 at 11:23 pm

John Kerry is obviously protected by you.

chris merrow
September 02, 2013 at 3:23 pm

You have a factual error in your piece. There 50 Senators and around 435 members of the House that together constitute the congress. So Kelly is not eking in last, he ekes into the top 10%.

That is not to say that the Congress of the United States is not owned lock, stock and barrel by special interest groups, lobbyists, and most importantly of all campaign contributors. The US indeed, is not a democracy, but a cashocracy.

Colonel C. E. Rogers
September 02, 2013 at 3:10 pm

And on another thought, the wealth of our Congresspersons and Senators is a prime viable reason as to why we should have Term Limits placed on all of them. No one who serves in the Congress or the Senate should be lagally eligible to remain on these jobs longer than 12 years. They must all be reminded that contrary to their personal belief, serving in the Congress & Senate was never meant to be a career for anyone. It's nothing more than a Paid Public Service job.

September 02, 2013 at 1:26 am

This is so PATHETIC. How can we ever expect to get a fair deal if we elect a bunch of millionaires to Congress?

Does anyone think, for one minute, they could care, or even KNOW ANYTHING about what is happening on Main Street?

The ONLY things millionaires care about is money and power.

Donna E Turner
September 01, 2013 at 7:39 pm

This would be more interesting if you showed how much the members were worth BEFORE they became public servants.

Orrin Hatch
August 30, 2013 at 4:58 am

What is his net worth

August 29, 2013 at 4:03 pm

Since insider trading is legal for congress, its not at all surprising to see how wealthy these people are. Had Martha Stewart been a member of Congress she could not have been charged with the crime she went to prison for.