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    The Congressional Wealth Gap

    The Congressional Wealth Gap

    Ballotpedia has compiled data on the average net worth of our elected officials for the years 2004 to 2010. As the average net worth of Congress has increased since 2004, and held about even from 2007 to 2010, the average American family net worth dropped 40 percent from 2007 to 2010 to an average of $77,300.

    In 2010, the average net worth for a U.S. senator was $13,224,333. The average net worth for a Democratic senator was $19,383,524, compared to $7,054,258 for a Republican senator. That’s a difference of $12.3 million.

    The top ten richest senators, the highest seven of which are Democrats, from this Ballotpedia table:

    Top 10 Senators in 2010

    Senator Average Net Worth
    John Kerry (D-Mass) $231,722,794
    Mark Warner (D-Va) $192,730,605
    Herb Kohl (D-Wis) $173,538,010
    Jay Rockefeller (D-WVa) $99,057,011
    Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) $85,572,116
    Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn) $73,151,590
    Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif) $69,046,622
    Bob Corker (R-Tenn) $59,550,022
    James E. Risch (R-Idaho) $54,088,026
    Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) $27,213,024

    Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) came in as the caboose with a -$32,500 net worth.

    The Republicans rule the House, however, in terms of average net worth. The 2010 average net worth was $5,992,869 for a Congressman overall, but the Republican average was $7,561,133, compared to the Democratic average of $4,465,875, which is a difference of $3.1 million.

    Ballotpedia’s table of the highest net worth congressman reveals Nancy Pelosi and “Colorado Model” originator Jared Polis in the top ten, with Darrell Issa standing out as the highest net worth public servant in Congress:

    Representative Average Net Worth
    Darrell Issa (R-Calif) $448,125,017
    Michael McCaul (R-Texas) $380,411,527
    Jane Harman (D-Calif) $326,844,751
    Jared Polis (D-Colo) $143,218,562
    Vernon Buchanan (R-Fla) $136,152,641
    Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) $101,123,032
    Alan Grayson (D-Fla) $93,896,519
    Kenny Marchant (R-Texas) $49,340,275
    Gary Miller (R-Calif) $46,008,028
    Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) $42,900,594

    Another democrat is deepest in the red in the House; Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) has the lowest negative net worth at -$4,732,000.

    We have never been a country to bemoan the success of others; the wealth of others offers hope for us and the next generation. This wealth gap does provide a backdrop for understanding our legislators and their influences, or lack thereof.

    One of my first jobs, working for U.S. Senator Peter Fitzgerald, afforded me the opportunity to see how a Senator who could eschew kowtowing to donors and special interests could legislate from principle rather than pleasing those with money. We could use more of the Peter Fitzgerald brand of leader–and brand of Republican–in Illinois and across the country.


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    The amazing thing is that the GOP people on the list earned their fortunes. The democrats on the list either inherited it, or married into it. In John Kerry’s case, he married into it, and then made millions on illegally trading with his wife’s money on investments based on Senate inside information:

    Just imagine if we had a House Speaker with a pair of gonads, instead of this abject putz:

    Wally Kalbacken | August 3, 2012 at 2:49 am

    These numbers are reported using a very perverse definition of value (large $ ranges) which obscure actual net worth. I have read that Herb Kohl may be in the $700M range, by normal accounting methods.

    It is nice to see that Darryl Issa has so much F*** Y** money. I think we can safely say, that he is isolated from any intimidation from the Democrats.

    billdyszel | August 3, 2012 at 9:49 am

    Per Sen. Fitzgerald, that seems to support the argument for repealing the 17th amendment – appointed Senators would have no need for campaign “donors.” We could go back to calling that transaction by it’s proper name, “bribery.”

    I hereby propose a “Off The Top” tax for all members of Congress of 50% of all gains in net worth experienced during their time in office, to be paid every January 1, no exceptions.

    Oh, and it needs to include their direct relatives.

    Sauce for the Goose….

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