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The 'poorest' members of Congress

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'Poorest' members of Congress

These men and women may occupy some of the highest positions in government, but they may be paupers among princes, according to data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics. The senators and representatives on this list disclosed liabilities exceeding their assets. Millions of dollars in legal fees, mortgages and debts on family farms are just some of the forces dragging down these lawmakers' finances.

To tabulate each legislator's net worth, the CRP takes data from financial disclosure forms that members of Congress are required to file every year. But they are required to report only ranges for the values of their assets, not exact figures. For example, one representative had stock in Ford Motor that totaled anywhere from roughly $2,000 to $30,000. Therefore, the CRP came up with three numbers based on these estimates: a possible minimum and maximum amount, and an average of the two. The CRP bases its ranking on that average. We have listed all three. The rankings are based on the average estimated net worth.

Read MoreWho are the richest members of Congress?

These numbers also do not necessarily include a lawmaker's primary home or vacation spots, according to a blog post on the CRP's website. Unless they collect rent on these properties, lawmakers are exempted from reporting these as assets, even if they are worth millions.

Thus these are estimates at best. But they provide an illuminating look into the wealth, or lack thereof, for many of the country's political leaders. The figures are from 2012, the most recent year available from CRP's data crunching. Click ahead to see who's the poorest of them all.

—By staff
Posted Aug. 29, 2014

StA-gur Karlsson | E+ | Getty Images