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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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April 11, 2014 at 7:18 pm

Don't think these millionaires should get retirement pay after four years and the Obama's were booted from practicing law.

lloyd lee
April 10, 2014 at 9:38 am

At one point in time 64% of Senators and 43% of representatives were millionaires. Who do you think they hobnob with? The average working person or other millionaires who can support their reelection, Democratic or Republican? You betcha!

April 09, 2014 at 12:25 am

Not at all odd to describe the Democrats as hypocrites...the fact that 7 of the top 10 wealthy members of congress are Democrats is simply the tip of the iceberg...what is not said is that when it come to personal giving the Democrats are the nations tightwads...the conservatives out give the liberals by a large margin...they donate more of their own money to both secular and religious charities by a large margin, they donate more of their time by a large margin and donate more of their blood by a large margin...

April 08, 2014 at 10:52 pm

Most of the extremely wealthy bunch, inherited their wealth...from rich David and Charles Koch, Walton's, etc.,(inherited) and they do NOT want to pay taxes on any of that inherited money, so intense is their greed!)...not so sure that those who didn't inherit their money got it from hard work, many are Wall Street financier's, "K" Street lobbyist's, real Ponzi schemes (Bernie Madoff) or like Newt Gingrich, a con man, or Corporate/pension raiders (like Mitt Romney, etc., check Issa's background, can find his questionable background on Wikipedia..Issa's wealth wasn't "earned" either, his methods were not always above board or completely honest

Chris Good
April 08, 2014 at 8:44 pm

@Gilbert: Why don't you do a little homework? Obama wrote two books, one of which was a best seller. Clinton also wrote a well selling book and worked as a lawyer. Both the Obama's are also highly educated and both worked for firms and Obama taught. But if you write a bestseller you will indeed see your income rise. Some politicians don't see much rise in wealth at all, Joe Biden for example. But others sometimes don't have as many expenses since much of their travel is on the state, or is paid for via a campaign fund.

April 08, 2014 at 7:24 pm

Is there anyone left in Congress (either House or Senate) who is worth less than $1 million? No wonder average Americans don't have a chance at being fairly represented. None of these guys has a clue what it is like to live on a paycheck from week to week.

April 08, 2014 at 11:53 am

You mentioned that more Republicans made the "cut off" for wealthiest, yet failed to note that 7 of the top ten WEALTHIEST were Democrats. What was the actual figure for the "cut off"? How many of each party? - "more" is pretty nebulous - One more? Forty more?

Also, many of the "fat cats" didn't start out that way. "The "rich" in America are a fluid group. You may be in one year and out the next. I applaud people who come from meager circumstances and, through hard work, innovation, and sacrifice, succeed. That should be emulated, not scorned! These people know only too well the obstacles faced by the poor and disadvantaged, and what it takes to overcome these obstacles! I would prefer to have an all-star teach me to play baseball than someone who has never played the game - only read about it!

BTW, It would have been more instructive to see the entire list, how each got his/her money, and also how much each gave to charity.

April 08, 2014 at 11:52 am

Tom the Democrats are supporting policies that keep people poor. Average American has gotten poorer. The working man is not being helped. But the investment guys are doing ok. The guys that already have money are doing better. The Democrats have controlled the economy for 6 years and set in policies that allowed the housing bubble to build and then burst. Look at the facts. Of course I know that the facts do not count if you are a Democrat. It is just how you feel that counts. It feels good to blame someone else like the Republicans or Tea Party people that want less government in peoples lives. I have nothing wrong with people making a lot of money if they to it legally and take risks to do it.

Most Americans will not either get educated enough or take financial risk to become wealthy. They prefer to work for someone else and let that company take all of the risks. I did both and it worked out just OK for me but I never got wealthy as I did not want to risk it all or spend 10 or 12 years in college.

Stop blaming the Koch and others. Look closely at Obama and Clinton the private jobs they had never provided enough money to be come millionaire but they did anyway. Explain that!

I'm sorry you cannot or are unwilling to do that. So I would guess you are another Democratic hypocrite.

April 01, 2014 at 11:50 pm

Is it any wonder why people don’t feel represented anymore Who has anything in common interest with these fat cats

April 01, 2014 at 9:53 pm

Little odd to describe the Democrats as hypocrites. They are supporting policies that are against their interests because they believe those policies are right - morally and socially. Very different from Republicans and big money donors like the Kochs that push legislation that enrich them.