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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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    Tonic Dog | August 2, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    Can we have an open and transparent government? I’d like a detailed list of all of their investments.

    And notice within 24 hours of something anyone in Congress invests in (assuming it’s even something us peons could invest in).

    Better yet, they should have to release what they PLAN to invest in and that trade can only take place a week AFTER public notification.

    Share the wealth.

    /Damn, I sound like some ignorant, envious fascist…but I stand by my statement.

    BarbaraS | August 2, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    All this proves the republicans aren’t on the gravy train so much. I wonder if these dims were this wealthy or anywhere near it when they entered office. Remember Lyndon Johnson. Poor guy from the sticks without one nickel to rub against the other wound up a millionaire. If he lived today, I’ll bet he would give John Kerry a run for his money in these stakes. Get rich quick…win a seat in the House, the senate or the whitehouse. Or all three for the jackpot.

    BarbaraS | August 2, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    With this much money Jon Cary tried to bilk Massachusetts out of taxes and fees for his boat? Talk about a cheapskate.

    […] Legal Insurrection posted an article today about what has happened to the wealth of Americans over the past three years. It is interesting to note that 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. […]

    Henry Hawkins | August 2, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    It’s good to be the king.

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