Members of Congress are getting wealthier
January 16th, 2013
10:14 AM ET
1 year ago

Members of Congress are getting wealthier

(CNN) - There's one thing many Democratic and Republican members of Congress have in common: They're rich.

The 113th Congress, which convened the first week of January, has slightly more wealth than members of Congress the previous year, according to new research from the Center for Responsive Politics.

The median estimated net worth of all members of the current Congress was $966,000 in 2011, the latest year of financial disclosure data available, compared to a median net worth for members of the 112th Congress of $886,000 in 2010.

When looking at just the 94 new members of the House and Senate that number jumps. At $1,067,500, the median net worth of the freshmen in Congress was almost $1 million more than the average American household, which came in around $66,700.

And Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas has taken fellow Republican Rep. Darrell Issa's spot as the wealthiest member of Congress. McCaul, whose wife's father is chairman of Clear Channel Communications, has an estimated average net worth of $500.1 million, while the comparable number for the congressman from California, Issa, is $480.3 million.

With an average estimated net worth of $235.9 million, the wealthiest Democrat is Sen. John Kerry, who will soon undergo confirmation hearings as President Obama's nominee for Secretary of State. Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia comes in second at $228.1 million.

Among the new members, Rep. John K. Delaney, D-Maryland, is the richest freshman, with an average estimated net worth of $139 million. Delaney co-founded CapitalSource, a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange.

On the other end of the wealth spectrum, the "poorest" member of Congress is freshman Rep. David Valadao, R-California. He has an average estimated net worth of negative $15.6 million due to large lines of credit related to his dairy farm, according to the CRP.

Which party is the wealthiest?

Unlike in the last Congress, the Democrats overall had a higher median estimated net worth ($990,000) compared to Republicans at $907,000. In the year prior, during the 112th Congress, the numbers were flipped and Democrats were worth about $79,000 less than Republicans.

Breaking it down by chamber, senators are wealthier than House members. According to the data, the median estimated net worth for lawmakers in the upper chamber was $2.52 million, while U.S. representatives came in at $856,000.

The estimates are based on financial disclosure forms for the year ending December 31, 2011.


Filed under: Congress
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Jean

    No surprise here, the politicians, dem, repub, independent, all hypocrites out for one thing, themselves and their power. On another note about personal wealth, mine to be specific – first paycheck of the new year is the lowest I have ever received since being at this job even with raises – thank you Mr. Obama – you are an amazingly poor excuse for a President. 2016 cannot come soon enough.

    January 16, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  2. Moose

    And none pay bam care, its hard at this point to see which is worse the house or the Senate. Inc the big banna ive never seen so many pieces of crap, yes both sides. Yet they get a raise un freaking believeable !!!!

    January 16, 2013 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  3. Sniffit

    "Members of Congress are getting wealthier"

    The USA Is Officially A Plutocracy.

    FIFY

    January 16, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  4. GuestAgain

    That cant be...you mean the democrats are a bunch of fat cat, corporately sponsored , wall street self serving politicians too??? I thought that was only reserved for conservatives, my entire democratic/liberal agenda has been.... a lie!

    January 16, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  5. vic , nashville ,tn

    “112th Congress, the numbers were flipped and Democrats were worth about $79,000 less than Republicans.”
    That mean party in power gets rich (112th congress got worst rating and got rich)

    January 16, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  6. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Freeze their pay until we get past the debt ceiling and our fiscal matters.

    January 16, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  7. Thomas

    Public service pay's !

    Then after you leave office , you set up a office and Lobby !

    January 16, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  8. James Bond

    Here's your sign

    January 16, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  9. Natalie

    Yes, they can really feel our pain, right? Why in the hell do they get lifetime FREE benefits when the rest of us who work far more hours and get probably more done in a year, pay through the nose for ours? Worst Congress in US history...hands down. They are the most destructive force on our economy.

    January 16, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  10. plain&simple

    Tell us something we didn't already know!! Not to say you can't be wealthy and have an understanding of the common working classes everyday issues.....it just takes an extraordinary individual to do so. Don't see congress as full of those types!

    January 16, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  11. jpmichigan

    How very true! This is one reason they are in congress beyond the ability to function , to line their pockets, and then leave rich, at tax payers expense. No wonder the approve rate is so low for them.

    January 16, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  12. Gurgyl

    ......at the cost of innocent Americans. Becoming ruthless, greedy, nasty, wild, sold-out, morally bankrupt.

    January 16, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  13. Boo

    We need term limits....after two terms...THROW THE BUMS OUT...ALL OF THEM..

    January 16, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  14. James Bond

    No wonder republicans like kerry, he has mass wealth, or his wife does anyway, he is a strange looking one, thats for sure..why the long face?

    January 16, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  15. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    Blame ourselves. We voted for this sorry lot allegedly called Congress.

    January 16, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  16. Ancient Texan

    Do you get the feeling that none of these "public servants" have any idea what the average voter is enduring or mentally coping with during these past years of economic uncertainty?

    January 16, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  17. Mitchell

    There's one thing many Democratic and Republican members of Congress have in common: They're rich.

    Is anyone surprised!

    Washington D.C. is about creating laws that keep the rich from paying taxes. These fat cats should serve without any compensation.

    January 16, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  18. Larry L

    The vast majority of Americans would support a law stopping the pay and benefits for Congress and their staffs on October 1st of each year, (never to be returned) if the Congress fails to deliver a complete federal budget to the President's desk for signature. This budget would be free of all "strings" – like sequestrations, fiscal cliffs, deferred debates, ill-defined tax rates, etc. This is their most basic duty and they fail nearly every year – yet we still pay them. Why? That's no way to plan and operate a federal government.

    January 16, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  19. mekie

    And these people represent the citizens of the US? They think that Social Security is a handout when workers for years put into mandated accounts. Give me back what I put in now so I can invest it for the future. It is clear they intend to take it away. Our Founding Fathers must be sickened to see this. We broke from England because of similar attitudes and now the attitudes we so hated actually run our country.

    January 16, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  20. MrBeenThere

    And you wonder why any of them can not identify with our wants, need's or concerns. They (more so the GOP) are only looking out for themselves and more power. Funny they tell us we need to watch out for Mr. Obama...............

    January 16, 2013 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  21. Sniffit

    "That cant be...you mean the democrats are a bunch of fat cat, corporately sponsored , wall street self serving politicians too??? I thought that was only reserved for conservatives, my entire democratic/liberal agenda has been.... a lie!"

    How predictable. Let's be clear about jsut how much fail is involved in your cute little attempt to throw the hypocrisy card:

    Rich Dem worth millions votes to raise his own taxes just like he said we should for the good of the country.

    Grow up.

    January 16, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  22. rs

    Ancient Texan

    Do you get the feeling that none of these "public servants" have any idea what the average voter is enduring or mentally coping with during these past years of economic uncertainty?
    __________
    For once, we are in complete agreement!

    January 16, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  23. AK_steve

    They also have great health care, huge pensions, discounted (if not free) college for their kids, etc. Yet they have the nerve to cut "entitlements" on the poor and the middle class. It's sad that today's congress represents the worst of humanity.

    January 16, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  24. Malory Archer

    Jean must be very young and working her first job ever (how exciting for you!!!) as she is totally unaware of the expiration of the Payroll Tax holiday. Your taxes didn't increase and if you've been in the workforce for more than 2 seconds you know that but hey, any excuse to hate on the President works for you, right?

    January 16, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  25. J'Cincinnati'Redd

    Nothing wrong with having alot of money.if you are upset because you want more wealth, get off the cnn blogs and go invent something or start a small business. Get out of debt. Alot of you are broke because you want to look and dress like the very people you hate.get a life.

    January 16, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
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