As our friend Seton Motley often observes “College IS for Dummies.”
As our friend Seton Motley often observes “College IS for Dummies.”
According to a study conducted by the Center for Responsive Politics, financial disclosure forms reveal that out of the ten richest members of Congress, a whopping total of seven are Democrats.
Collectively, the total wealth of the seven richest Democrats in Congress amounts to $1.1 billion.
The richest member of Congress is a Republican: Rep. Darrell Issa, whose wealth totals $330,050,015. The other two Republicans, Rep. Dave Trott of Michigan and Rep. Vernon Buchanan, rank at number 5 and 6.
Four of the 10 richest members (Issa, Pelosi, Peters, Feinstein) hail from California.
The majority of Congress are still millionaires, but Senators increased their net worth in 2015 at a far greater rate than Congress as a whole.
In 2015, the median net worth of Senate Republicans rose 13 percent from $2.9 million to $3.3 million, according to personal financial disclosure data filed by congressional members and reviewed by CRP researchers.
Over the same period, the median net worth of the Senate Democratic Caucus, on the other hand, rose 9 percent – still far greater than the 4.5 percent increase in combined net worth of U.S. households and nonprofits in 2015, according to a report this year from the Federal Reserve.
In 2015, more than 70 percent of Senators were millionaires, meaning most never needed to worry about the pressures that most middle-class American face – from securing gainful employment to saving for unforeseen financial shocks. At at a time when Congress is considering changes to the tax code and healthcare legislation, this disparity calls into question their ability to adequately represent their constituents.
In the House, median net worth of members increased only about 1 percent, from $860,000 in 2014 to $875,000 in 2015.
In 2015, three Senate Republicans at least doubled their wealth in a single calendar year.
The list includes Sens. Mike Rounds of South Dakota (up 490 percent); Roger Wicker of Mississippi (326 percent); and Thad Cochran of Mississippi (124 percent); according the personal financial disclosures filed with the Senate.
Rounds was worth an estimated $2.7 million in 2014 and $16.2 million a year later, mostly due to his wife selling her real estate and insurance company. Wicker sold his stake in his timber company. Cochran remarried into wealth.
When members of Congress file their annual personal financial reports, they’re allowed to list the value of their assets and liabilities in broad ranges. In practical terms, that obscures exactly how much each member of Congress is worth. And the larger the value of the asset, the broader the allowable range.
To account for those ranges, CRP’s researchers establish a minimum and maximum net worth, and then use the average as an estimated net worth for each member of Congress.
In 2014 and 2015, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) was again the wealthiest member of Congress. Issa, who made his fortune in the car alarm business, had an estimated net worth of about $330 million in 2015.
At least six other lawmakers had an estimated net worth in excess of $100 million as well. That included House Democrats Jared Polis of Colorado ($314 million), John Delaney of Maryland ($233 million) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California ($101 million) as well as House Republicans Dave Trott of Michigan ($177 million) and Vernon Buchanan of Florida ($116 million).
Virginia Sen. Mark Warner (D), whose estimated net worth of $238 million in 2015 was roughly one-quarter of the combined wealth of his 99 colleagues, was both the wealthiest senator and third wealthiest member of Congress in 2015. Democrats Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut ($81.7 million) and Dianne Feinstein of California ($79 million) were the year’s next wealthiest senators.
The least wealthy member of Congress in 2015 was again Rep. David Valadao (R-Calif.), who reported an estimated net worth of negative $24 million, “up” from $25 million in net liabilities in 2014. Valadao’s disclosures and previous interviews with CRP indicate his debt is tied to loans for his family’s dairy farm.
The second “poorest” member of Congress was Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), a United Methodist pastor and former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Despite the growth in the number of congressional millionaires, total net worth of members — the value of all their assets minus liabilities — declined from $4.5 billion in 2014 to $4.2 billion in 2015.
Expect More Data to Come
While the scope of this report is limited to 2015, CRP is continuing to update the personal finances section with the more current 2016 data that was filed by members of Congress this summer. We currently have some 2016 data and are working to process the remaining filings for those members who filed for extensions and submitted later in the year. Follow us on Twitter to be the first to hear about future updates.
Researcher Alex Baumgart contributed to this story.
(See more here at OpenSecrets.org) Republished under a Creative Commons license.
There is a live action international mystery novel being played out on Capitol Hill. It is a mystery the Democrat Party and the mainstream media are trying desperately to ignore. However, the mystery appears to be unraveling and it is ensnaring one of the most powerful Democrats on Capitol Hill.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.) has had a rough year. First, Wasserman-Schultz was forced out of her position as Democratic National Committee Chairwoman. After a series of email leaks on Wikileaks, it was revealed Wasserman-Schultz backed Hillary Clinton over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the 2016 primary. The head of the DNC was supposed to be a neutral party in the primary. After being forced out of a position of power and humiliated in the general election, the next shoe dropped for Wasserman-Schultz.
The story starts late in early 2017. Five members of one family were banned from the House of Representatives network. Three brothers and two of their wives were accused of stealing equipment and violations of House IT network security protocols. They did this while making over $160,000 per year, a sum slightly below what a member of the House of Representatives makes. Most of the staffers were fired from the offices they worked at, with the exception of Imran Awan. He stayed employed with Wasserman-Schultz.
Imran was recently arrested for bank fraud. The charge stems from a property the family owns. Hina Alvi took out a second mortgage on a house they claimed was their principal residence. Upon investigation, this turned out to be false and the property was being used as a rental, that is bank fraud. There was also no reported rental income on her taxes. The rental checks were supposedly written to Hina Alvi’s mother, Suriaya Begum.
When Imran was arrested, he was attempting to flee the U.S. to Pakistan, as his wife had already done. The attempted escape came just days after the FBI became involved in the case. At one of Imran’s rental properties, the current renter found smashed computer equipment. The renter had served in the Marines, and knew what government property looked like. He called the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and the FBI showed up at the property.
It seems like the FBI decided to act upon learning the subject transferred $300,000 to Pakistan and planned to travel to there. The U.S. is currently having trouble getting Pakistan to extradite a terrorist, it doesn’t seem likely they would extradite someone that might have connections to Pakistani ISI.
Wasserman-Schultz has refused to cooperate with the investigation from the beginning. Even after a majority of the Democrats employing the family cut ties, Wasserman-Schultz continued to pay Imran. Imran was not fired after the Capitol Police launched the criminal investigation. Imran was not fired after it was revealed he was sending Capitol Hill data to an offsite server. He was finally fired by Wasserman-Schultz after the arrest earlier this week.
The former DNC chair is clearly hiding something. She even went so far as to threaten “consequences” against the Chief of Capitol Hill Police investigating her staffer. In case you were wondering, she sits on the committee that controls the Capitol Hill Police budget. Imran hid his office assigned laptop in one of the empty rooms of the Capitol Hill complex. The laptop was found and confiscated by a police officer doing a routine check. It was not in the building Wasserman-Schultz worked in.
Wasserman-Schultz is now invoking the “Speech and Debate clause,” of the Constitution. The Congressional Research Service states, “The Constitution provides that ‘for any speech or debate in either House, [Senators and Representatives] shall not be questioned in any other place’ Commonly referred to as the Speech or Debate Clause, this language affords Members of Congress immunity from certain civil and criminal suits relating to their legislative acts. In addition, the clause also provides a testimonial privilege that extends not only to oral testimony about privileged matters but to the production of privileged documents.”
According to recent reports she, is “negotiating” with Capitol Hill Police, who have the laptop her staffer hid, to allow access to the data. If this was nothing more than a scam to steal equipment and money, why would Wasserman-Schultz risk obstruction of justice, and impede the investigation at every step? Not only did she fight the investigation, she continued to pay him his salary, despite not being allowed on Capitol Hill by the police.
Since the story broke, many IT staffers employed by the House Chief Administrative Office, not the individual members, have voiced concern. Some have even worried over potential blackmail. “I don’t know what they have, but they have something on someone. It’s been months at this point” with no arrests, said Pat Sowers, who has managed IT for several House offices for 12 years. “Something is rotten in Denmark.”
The story continues to get weirder from there. The sleuths that deep dive on Wikileaks documents, have discovered a very interesting email. Keep in mind, the ringleader Imran had access to all of Wasserman-Schultz’ electronic equipment. The group also had unlimited access to the electronic equipment of dozens of other Democrat members of Congress, some of them working for the Intelligence and Foreign Affairs Committees. It now appears he also had access to some of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) electronic equipment. The email stated, “Pelosi is doing [a] closed door meeting. No staff or anyone allowed. Kaitlyn come to Rayburn room and get her iPad for Imran.” What was Awan doing with the Minority Leader’s iPad?
I seem to recall the DNC had some cybersecurity issues last year, but provided no evidence of who did it. Could this be why?
You cannot expect Congress to investigate themselves and reveal the mistakes they made to the world, especially if one side is dead set against it because they made all the mistakes. You cannot expect the Chief Administrative Officer to investigate a fraud that has been going on for years under their nose. If there was ever a need for a special counsel, this is it.
Democrats, the party so adamantly against hate, are sure filled with it.
Here Nebraska Democrats Phil Montag is caught on tape wishing demented Bernie Sanders volunteer James Hodgkinson had finished the job and killed Rep. Steve Scalise during his rampage.
Will Montag become a national figure as the media picks up his hate-filled rhetoric and blasts it into every corner of the country? Or is this the only place where you are likely to ever hear of this incident and nothing will ever happen to Montag?
Caution: NSFW language in video
Maybe I’m just too naïve.
I’d expected that liberals would eventually turn to talk of gun control after Wednesday’s violent, horrible shooting targeting GOP lawmakers.
This was an attack that left House Majority Whip Steve Scalise in critical condition as of Wednesday night, according to the hospital treating him, as well as wounding three others–a lawmaker’s aide, a Capitol Police officer, and a lobbyist. One of them, lobbyist and former Capitol Hill aide Matt Mika, also is in critical condition, according to reports.
I’d thought liberals would at least react with sympathy and sorrow that innocent people had been targeted by former Bernie Sanders volunteer James Hodgkinson, the man police say was the shooter, and allow some time to pass before switching to gun control.
And maybe there even would be some honest self-reflection on whether there had been too much levity about comedian Kathy Griffin’s decision to pose with a red-stained replica of Trump’s head, ISIS-style, or a New York theater director’s choice to portray a Donald Trump look-alike’s assassination in “Julius Caesar.”
Now, of course, neither Griffin or “Julius Caesar” director Oskar Eustis is at all responsible for the shooter’s decisions—but, just as I would hope no conservative would have done such things to President Barack Obama, it’s reasonable to ask the left to behave better, to not forget that Donald Trump, too, is a person. (And yes, it was inappropriate when a 2012 version of “Julius Caesar” starred an actor resembling Obama.)
And of course some, perhaps even most, on the left have been acting in a respectful way.
But there’s been some glaring exceptions.
The New York Times, rightly, is getting pilloried for its editorial, published Wednesday, that insinuated Sarah Palin’s target map was to blame for the shooting of Gabby Giffords. Here’s the language from the original editorial (via National Review):
Was this attack evidence of how vicious American politics has become? Probably. In 2011, when Jared Lee Loughner opened fire in a supermarket parking lot, grievously wounding Representative Gabby Giffords and killing six people, including a 9-year-old girl, the link to political incitement was clear. Before the shooting, Sarah Palin’s political action committee circulated a map of targeted electoral districts that put Ms. Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs.
The New York Times has since corrected the piece, noting: “An earlier version of this editorial incorrectly stated that a link existed between political incitement and the 2011 shooting of Representative Gabby Giffords. In fact, no such link was established.” Indeed.
National Review’s David French dismantled the argument, writing: “In its zeal to create moral equivalencies and maintain a particular narrative about the past, the Times flat-out lied. There is simply no ‘link to political incitement’ in Loughner’s murderous acts. The man was a paranoid schizophrenic who first got angry at Gabby Giffords years before Palin published her map.”
And CNN’s Jake Tapper, no conservative, similarly disputed the Times account:
You know what wasn’t mentioned in that Times editorial, which noted their grief in 2011 at “vicious American politics”? Kathy Griffin wasn’t mentioned nor was the “Julius Caesar” play. Oh, sure, the Times offered a pablum take on civility, writing:
Conservatives and right-wing media were quick on Wednesday to demand forceful condemnation of hate speech and crimes by anti-Trump liberals. They’re right. Liberals should of course be held to the same standard of decency that they ask of the right.
But without naming names or calling out any specific instances, that’s a pretty toothless take.
Yeah, f— these people. Scalise voted for the AHCA [American Health Care Act] and got a good chunk of change from insurance and pharmaceutical companies and health professionals. [Republican Rep. Mo] Brooks is a Freedom Caucus member, so he can go to hell, too. Worst thing they’ll have is a traumatic memory, but they have insurance that allows them to get PTSD treated. Scalise will probably have a scar on his hip. No sympathy for these people. (Note: Language edited for decency, in both screenshot and quote.)
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And while many Democrat politicians seem to be acting with humanity (including the wonderful display of Democrat lawmakers praying at a Washington, D.C. baseball field when they heard about the shooting), some almost immediately brought up gun control after the attack at the baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia, just outside Washington.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, had this to say Wednesday: “I think we need to do more to protect all of our citizens. I have long advocated — this is not what today is about — but there are too many guns on the street. We lose 93 million Americans a day to gun violence.”
McAuliffe, who clarified he meant 93 Americans a day after a reporter asked, said those words just a few hours after the shooting.
And Rep. Don Beyer, the Democrat who represents the district that includes the baseball field (and is, sadly, my House member), sent his constituents an email Wednesday afternoon that concluded with this sentiment: “I believe strongly that our nation should rethink its policies regarding gun violence, and I will have more for you soon on that issue.”
While I’m certainly aware of how fast the news cycle moves, could McAuliffe and Beyer maybe have held on to these hot takes, for oh, a whole 24 hours? After all, as of Wednesday night, Scalise was still in critical condition.
Never let a crisis go to waste, indeed.
Let’s refresh: The shooter was a former Bernie Sanders volunteer, who lawmakers said started shooting after confirming those on the field were Republicans, and whose social media use shows a clear liberal tilt.
Hogkinson’s alleged violent actions are his own responsibility, and nobody else’s.
But would it have been so crazy for the left to have taken a step back and reflected on their overheated rhetoric of the past few months, their willingness to depict Republicans and conservatives as monsters who want to hurt minorities and LGBT Americans and take away everyone’s health care? (Instead of people who have different views on appropriate discrimination policies, religious freedom, and the best way to ensure everyone has access to health care, not just insurance.)
No. It wouldn’t have been crazy.
It would have been refreshing.
But unfortunately, that’s not the America we live in today.