Election 2012

The 15 Richest Members of Congress 2012

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The Richest Members of Congress

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For the first time, the richest member of Congress, as determined annually by Roll Call, had a net worth of more than $300 million. This year's list also included many names who had made the list before.

The rankings are based on minimum net worth based on assets and liabilities that are cited in broad ranges, so the actual net worth of each representative is not precise.

Roll Call determines net worth by consulting the annual financial disclosure reports from all House and Senate lawmakers, and for each one, subtracts the total minimum value of all liabilities from the total minimum value of their assets.

These disclosures can include assets and liabilities, loans and credit card debt, stock holdings, rental properties, mortgages (reported for the first time this year) and more, but other factors like the values of personal properties and retirement savings are not counted in their assets.

Roll Callpoints out a theme for the 2012 list: About half of the 50 wealthiest members of Congress reported a lower minimum net worth than last year. It says this can be attributable to new mortgage disclosures.

And now, a look at the 15 richest members of the 112th Congress.

By CNBC.com and Roll Call
Posted 23 Oct. 2012

15. Rep. Rick Berg, R-N.D.

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Minimum net worth: $23.78 million

Much of Berg's growing fortune is in real estate.

The first-term North Dakotan owns dozens of apartment units and commercial properties that contributed to a minimum net worth of $23.78 million in 2011.

Berg's stake in multiple buildings held by Old Abe Capital LLP were worth more than $8.9 million, according to his most recent filing.

Berg also reported as assets multiple outstanding loans that he has made to individuals, businesses and his campaign.

Published with permission from CQ Roll Call.

14. Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn.

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Minimum net worth: $24.79 million

The first-term lawmaker's 2011 minimum net worth nearly rebounded to that which she reported as a candidate after dropping precipitously last year to $10.63 million.

The Tennessean's reported minimum net worth is $24.79 million.

One of Black's largest listed assets is $5 million to $25 million in Aegis Sciences stock that also generated $100,000 to $1 million in income last year after a merger.

According to the company's website, Aegis started as a sports anti-doping laboratory at Vanderbilt University and is now a full-service forensic sciences company. Black's husband, David Black, is president and CEO.

A rental property in Nashville worth $5 million to $25 million and a money market account held by David Black were the couple's other largest assets.

The Blacks also purchased two new rental properties in Nashville during 2011, which had minimum reported values of $500,000 and $1 million. The reported mortgages for the properties fell into the $500,000 to $1 million range, nearly offsetting their value.

Published with permission from CQ Roll Call.

13. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

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Minimum net worth: $26.43 million

The House minority leader's reported minimum net worth dropped by almost $9 million last year but had little effect on where she landed among Congress' wealthiest.

The California Democrat now has a reported minimum net worth of $26.43 million.

Pelosi's husband, Paul, invested more heavily in the United Football League last year, reporting 27 separate purchases. His stake in the league is now valued at $1 million to $5 million, and he has a separate interest in the Sacramento Mountain Lions worth $5 million to $25 million.

Much of the couple's wealth comes from real estate. A vineyard in St. Helena, Calif., had a reported worth of $5 million to $25 million and generated at least $50,000 in grape sales. A San Francisco commercial property was also worth at least $5 million, as was a commercial rental property Paul Pelosi owns in San Anselmo, Calif.

The Pelosis reported about $12.85 million in liabilities, including newly disclosed mortgages on their residences and a brokerage collateral loan with City National Bank that was taken out in 2011 for $1 million to $5 million.

Published with permission from CQ Roll Call.

12. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine

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Minimum net worth: $28.58 million

Pingree's marriage to financier Donald Sussman last year catapulted her from the middle of the pack to the upper echelon of congressional wealth.

The Maine Democrat now has a minimum net worth of $28.58 million.

In addition to an asset listed as the Nebo Lodge, an inn and restaurant in North Haven, Maine, Pingree included dozens of spousal assets that were not on prior forms. Many were valued in the "over $1 million" category for assets of senators' spouses that can dramatically deflate the true net worth of a couple by millions of dollars.

Published with permission from CQ Roll Call.

11. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla.

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Minimum net worth: $36.49 million

Buchanan's minimum net worth dropped markedly for the second year in a row.

Just five years ago, the Florida lawmaker's wealth surpassed $65 million. Now it is roughly half that, with a reported net worth of $36.49 million in 2011.

Though Buchanan has sold off some of the auto dealerships that generated his fortune in the first place, he still owns at least part of three that are together worth a minimum of $12 million.

Some of the three-term lawmaker's other notable assets are an aircraft ownership and leasing operation valued at at least $5 million and VB Motor Yachts, which is also worth at least $5 million.

Though Buchanan reported more than $63 million in assets, he also had at least $26 million in liabilities, including at least $7 million related to the purchase of aircraft and a mortgage on a yacht with a value of at least $1 million.

Buchanan also disclosed two liabilities to law firms of at least $100,000 and $50,000. He has been the subject of two investigations by the House Ethics Committee, one of which is ongoing.

Published with permission from CQ Roll Call.

10. Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Ohio

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Minimum net worth: $36.67 million

Renacci's minimum net worth remains relatively unchanged from the year before, rising just slightly to $36.67 million.

The first-term Ohioan's portfolio is one of the most diverse in Congress. Renacci reports having significant investments in fast-food chains, consumer electronics companies, drugmakers and oil giants.

Renacci has a stake in the Lancaster, Calif.-based minor league baseball team, the JetHawks, worth $100,000 to $250,000 and loaned the Westerville, Ohio, Gordy's Bar and Grill at least $250,000 in 2010. An investment in a Harley-Davidson dealership dropped in value from at least $500,000 in 2010 to about $4,400 in 2011.

Renacci is one of a handful of members of Congress who opted to disclose the exact value of many assets instead of reporting them within broad ranges. He listed $26,000 in Lululemon Athletica, $89,000 in McDonald's and $281,000 in Chevron stocks, among hundreds of financial holdings.


Renacci has a line of credit of $1 million to $5 million with his primary investment manager, Raymond James and Associates.


Published with permission from CQ Roll Call.

9. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

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Minimum net worth: $41.78 million

Feinstein's minimum net worth dropped about $3.6 million to $41.78 million in 2011.

But the reduction is hardly something to worry about when you're one of the wealthiest lawmakers in Congress.

Much of the apparent decline is due to a mortgage of $1 million to $5 million taken out on Feinstein's San Francisco home in 2010. This year's financial disclosures were the first batch that required lawmakers to disclose mortgages on personal residences that do not generate income.

The California Democrat continues to share a $5 million to $25 million investment in San Francisco's Carlton Hotel Properties with her husband. They also own a Kauai, Hawaii, condominium valued at $1 million to $5 million. Together the properties generated $150,000 to $1.1 million in rental income in 2011.

Like many of the wealthiest lawmakers, much of Feinstein's fortune comes from her spouse. Her husband, Richard Blum, is president and CEO of the private equity firm Blum Capital Partners LP.

Feinstein reported that Blum holds more than a dozen assets valued at $1 million or more, including investment partnerships, limited liability corporations and a stake in OZ Fitness, a health club chain in Washington state.

Assets held independently by spouses do not need to be delineated beyond $1 million on the Senate disclosure forms, so Feinstein's true wealth could be far more than what appears on paper.

Published with permission from CQ Roll Call.

8. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J.

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Minimum net worth: $56.8 million

Lautenberg's minimum net worth rose about $2 million in 2011, to $56.8 million.

The New Jersey senator co-founded Automatic Data Processing, the payroll processing company known as ADP, and received retirement income from the company of almost $185,000 during the period covered by his most recent filing.

Lautenberg and his wife, Bonnie Englebardt, have extensive real estate holdings.

There is a condo in Vail, Colo., with a reported value of $500,000 to $1 million as well as commercial real estate in Norwalk, Conn., and Sunrise, Fla., worth at least $1 million combined. And Englebardt has at least 12 real estate investments valued at $1 million or more.

Since a senator's spousal assets worth more than $1 million fall into a broad category of "over $1 million," Lautenberg's true minimum net worth could be far greater than reported.

Lautenberg also has two blind trusts: one valued at $5 million to $25 million and the other at $1 million to $5 million.

He reported at least $1.75 million in liabilities, including mortgages on two personal residences of at least $1.25 million combined.

Published with permission from CQ Roll Call.

7. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo.

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Minimum net worth: $72.09 million

Polis added at least $6 million to his fortune last year to arrive at a minimum net worth of $72.09 million.

One of the congressman's largest assets remains a blind trust that he created in 2010 that is worth $25 million to $50 million.

In addition to a diverse portfolio of stocks and funds, Polis reported having an array of real estate investments, including properties in Boulder, Colo., Denver and Florida, and sizable stakes in businesses including LifePics, a photo storing, sharing and printing service, and Symbius Medical, a home medical equipment supplier.

Polis reported having mortgages on a personal residence in Boulder and a vacation home in Berthoud, Colo. Another mortgage of at least $1 million on a property in Boulder was paid off sometime in 2011 when the home was sold, according to his most recent filing.

Polis holds dozens of positions at outside organizations, primarily venture capital funds and investment firms at which he is a full or limited partner.

Before coming to Congress, he founded an online offshoot of Blue Mountain Arts, his family's greeting card and publishing business, and the flower sales website ProFlowers.com.

Published with permission from CQ Roll Call.

6. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.

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Minimum net worth: $79.11 million

Like many on Roll Call's list, much of Blumenthal's minimum net worth of $79.11 million comes from the family of his spouse. His wife, Cynthia Blumenthal, is the daughter of New York real estate magnate Peter Malkin.

Many of Cynthia Blumenthal's assets listed in the Peter L. Malkin Family 9 LLC are worth more than $1 million, including a real estate company in Sao Paulo, Brazil, multiple properties in midtown Manhattan and entities that leased and operated the Empire State Building.

When a senator's spouse's assets are worth more than $1 million, they fall into a broad category of "over $1 million" that requires no further delineation, meaning the Blumenthals' actual wealth could be far greater.

The value of assets in family trusts that will eventually go to the Blumenthal's dependent children were also reported in this year's filing and included in the overall calculation of the senator's minimum net worth.

The senator reported a single mortgage of $500,000 to $1 million as a liability.

Published with permission from CQ Roll Call.

5. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.

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Minimum net worth: $83.08 million

Even multimillionaires have mortgages.

Rockefeller took out a loan of at least $1 million on a New York condominium in 2011 and disclosed it on the liabilities section of his annual disclosure form. Though in prior years such a purchase would have likely gone unnoticed, lawmakers were required to report mortgages on personal residences for the first time this year under new disclosure provisions in the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge, or STOCK, Act.

Rockefeller is the great-grandson of Standard Oil Co. founder John D. Rockefeller, who was once considered the world's richest man. The bulk of the lawmaker's wealth is held in blind trusts, one of which has a reported value of at least $50 million. Since congressional financial disclosure forms require lawmakers to report the value of assets within broad categories, the highest of which is $50 million or more, the actual value of Rockefeller's trust holdings could far exceed what appears on paper.

Rockefeller's minimum net worth rose from $81.63 million in 2010 to $83.08 million in 2011, according to Roll Call's calculations.

Rockefeller's only other liability is a 1998 demand loan of $5 million to $25 million that he reports year after year from United National Bank.

Published with permission from CQ Roll Call.

4. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.

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Minimum net worth: $85.81 million

Virginia's junior senator increased his wealth by nearly $10 million from the year before, reporting a minimum net worth of at least $85.81 million in 2011.

His most valuable assets include stakes in the Alexandria, Va.-based Columbia Capital, Columbia Capital Investors and Columbia Capital Investment Partners. He also has stock in the Russian search engine Yandex worth at least $6.75 million.

Warner made his fortune as a telecommunications mogul and co-founded Nextel Communications before coming to Congress.

His only liability is a loan from the Virginia Commerce Bank of at least $15,000.

Published with permission from CQ Roll Call.

3. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif.

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Minimum net worth: $140.55 million

Issa's minimum net worth dropped by about $80 million from 2010 to 2011, dropping him one spot on the list, to third place.

It's not a bad place to be: The six-term California Republican still reports having a minimum net worth of at least $140.55 million.

The value of Issa's assets actually increased since last year's filing, from about $295.4 million to $315.55 million. But so did his reported minimum liabilities, which rose from $75 million in 2010 to $175 million in 2011.

The increase in reported liabilities is a bit misleading. Though lawmakers are required to report only the year-end value of all assets, they must disclose liabilities that exceeded $10,000 at any point in the calendar year.

Issa paid off a personal note to Greene Properties of at least $50 million in January of last year. The same month, he paid off a note worth at least $25 million to DEI LLC. Both are still listed as liabilities, along with two personal loans worth at least $50 million each from Union Bank and Merrill Lynch.

Issa describes Greene Properties as a "property management company" that owns California real estate in which he has at least a $5 million stake. DEI LLC is a commercial property management company in which Issa has at least a $500,000 interest.

Before coming to Capitol Hill, Issa founded Vista, Calif.-based Directed Electronics, which manufactures car alarms.

Published with permission from CQ Roll Call.

2. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.

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Minimum net worth: $198.65 million

Kerry has been a mainstay on Roll Call's list of the wealthiest in Congress for more than 15 years, due in large part to the assets of his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, the widow of Sen. H. John Heinz III, R-Pa., of the Heinz ketchup fortune.

Though Kerry's reported minimum net worth of $198.65 million is more than $100 million short of what he'd need to nab the top spot, the actual value of his fortune is likely far more than what is reported each year.

The Senate's financial disclosure form has separate categories for assets held jointly by a couple and those held only by a lawmaker's spouse. While a sizable joint asset has to be reported within a standard range — $5 million to $25 million or $25 million to $50 million, for example — that of a spouse is only recorded as having a minimum value in excess of $1 million.

Kerry listed more than 100 assets that were held by his wife and exceeded $1 million.

Though Kerry reports dozens of liabilities, most are associated with various Heinz family trusts. Only two are personal, one of which is a line of credit of at least $50,000 secured by the Kerrys' personal residence in Providence, R.I.

Published with permission from CQ Roll Call.

1. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas

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Minimum net worth: $305.46 million

McCaul tops Roll Call's list for the second year in a row with a reported minimum net worth that broke the $300 million mark.

The lawyer and former federal prosecutor has placed high on our annual survey since he arrived on Capitol Hill in 2005. But his minimum net worth has skyrocketed while in the House, from $12 million that year to $305.46 million in 2011, according to his most recent disclosure form.

The value of McCaul's fortune rose sharply in 2010, when the congressman reported that his wife, Linda McCaul, had received "certain assets" as gifts from her parents. As a result, McCaul's reported net worth jumped from at least $73.75 million in 2009 to at least $294 million in 2010, according to Roll Call's prior assessments.

Linda McCaul is the daughter of Clear Channel Communications CEO and founder Lowry Mays. Many of McCaul's most valuable assets are held by his wife and in trusts associated with her family.

McCaul's only reported liability is a Bank of America mortgage of $500,000 to $1 million on his personal residence.

Published with permission from CQ Roll Call.