The riches of the freshman class
March 9th, 2011
05:06 PM ET
11 years ago

The riches of the freshman class

(CNN) - The old adage of the Senate being a millionaires club still holds true among freshmen lawmakers in both chambers of Congress, according to a new study.

A Center for Responsive Politics analysis found 60 percent of Senate freshmen and more than 40 percent of House freshmen are millionaires. For newly elected members of the Senate, the median estimated wealth is $3.96 million. For House freshmen, it's $570,418.

Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut tops the list with an average estimated wealth of $94.87 million. Republican Tennessee Rep. Diane Lynn Black came in second with $49.4 million followed by Republican North Dakota Rep. Rick Berg with $39.2 million and Republican Texas Rep. Blake Farenthold with $35.8 million.

But the annual personal financial disclosure reports federal lawmakers are required to file with the federal government reveal not all legislators are wealthy.

Republican Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois is the only member of the freshman class with an estimated worth in negative territory, with an average estimate of -$317,498. Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has a minimum net worth of -$210,989 and a maximum net worth of $135,999. Freshman Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah reported assets with a range from a minimum of -$32,995 to $193,998.

By law, members of Congress are only required to report their assets in broad figures, which accounts for the ranges in the study, according to the Center.

"Some are Democrats, some are Republicans, many are Tea Party conservatives while others are unabashedly liberal," said Dan Auble, who manages the Center's personal financial disclosure database said in a statement. "What unites these freshmen is that, on balance, they're rich."

Filed under: Congress
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. ingrid

    Tax cuts for the wealthy...hmmm...what a surprise that came to play!

    March 9, 2011 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  2. A Real American

    It would be very interesting to see what percentage of their income they pay in taxes on average after all the loopholes and shelters. I betcha half a peach it's less than what I pay. Government of the rich, by the rich, for the rich.

    March 9, 2011 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  3. once upon a horse

    hmmmm....and we wondered why many in Congress approved of the Bush tax cuts for the upper 2%.

    March 9, 2011 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  4. Video Guy

    Now I know why Mr Berg of North Dakota does not return e-mails. I was not able to give a millionaire club ID number.

    March 9, 2011 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  5. Inmyopinion

    There are or have been more Democrats serving with more money than Republicans, look at John Kerry, Jon Corzine, Jay Rockefeller, Mark Warner, Herb Kohl, Jane Harman, President Bill Clinton, they are the richest politicians.

    March 9, 2011 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  6. can't handle Vitriol of Obama

    Where's Claire Mckaskill who became instant millionaire as soon as she was elected at the US Senate?

    March 9, 2011 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  7. Rick McDaniel

    The rich are totally in control of this country. Something to give some serious thought to, for certain.

    March 9, 2011 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  8. catmom

    So, is there any wonder why the rich get richer and the middle class is disappearing?

    March 9, 2011 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  9. linda iowa

    No wonder they want to protect the wealthy, they are the wealthy.

    March 9, 2011 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  10. bearced

    Of the people, by the people, for the people?

    March 9, 2011 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  11. Clwyd

    But how appropriate that is! these newly elected republican freshmen were bought and paid for by the rich and that is the only block they are there to represent!

    March 9, 2011 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  12. IAB

    Do you really think the wealthy, the ones who makes the laws are going to make laws that would benefit anyone other than themselves? If they were builders, patriots, loved America and the people they are sent to Wash. DC to serve they would
    invest in this country, put American back to work. They would get their money back b/c Americans would have have money to spend. They would buy Cars, homes, clothing, (made in America) so much more. There no absolutes but the
    newly rich/ wealthy are selfish , greedy, power hungry, heartless people. People like Boehner, Kasick, Palin, Bauchman, are users, figureheads, pawns. We need BUILDERS, PATRIOTS, PEOPLE WHO LOVE OUR COUNTRY, WHO WANT AMERICA TO BE ON TOP AGAIN, RESPECTED BY THE WORLD. The GOP are SPIN MASTERS. They preach lies,
    deception, division, hate, fear. The less knowledgeable vote against their self interest.

    Americans want jobs. The wealthy are trying very hard to destroy unions. KOCH BROTHERS.

    March 9, 2011 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  13. IAB

    OH, pay taxes, pay DOWN the deficit , secure MEDICARE, SS, SSI and help the less fortunate, people in need. It is in the bible. Matt: 24

    March 9, 2011 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  14. am i really surprised

    The difference I see between the wealthy dems vs the republicans is that the democrats are not against the tax cuts to their own pockets. I think that says A LOT!

    March 9, 2011 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  15. Ann Beauchamp

    You, too, can become a millionaire, just as these people have. All you need to do is work hard at school and come up with a good idea that you can profit – yes PROFIT – from. Then, you can hire people (create jobs) to work for you. No one is stopping anyone in the country from becoming rich. There are no limits on any of you, so stop complaining. Why don't you just do something productive, besides complain. Of course, it takes a lot of hard work, risk, and ingenuity to be successful. There are no limits to any of that in the U.S., except for those you place on yourselves. Obviously, this president believes that others' money belongs to you – nothing is further from the truth. You want to give your money to people who aren't as well off as you are? No, of course not.

    March 9, 2011 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  16. they call me "tater salad"

    That's why they like giving the rich a free ride...........THEY ARE THE RICH!

    March 9, 2011 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  17. rezen

    The agents are busy working for their principals. How about working for our principles.

    March 9, 2011 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  18. anthony

    And they are supposed to understand and fight for the common worker and middle class based on what experience?
    For the rich, by the rich.

    March 9, 2011 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  19. Name king

    Oohh that why these folk are willing to high jack the country for their tax cuts, the bush tax cuts have reached havoc on the economy, and these millionaires are willing to close their eyes on the carnage and take from the middle class and poor and stuff it down the rich throught. I have to give cuddles to all the rich dems in congress they are willing to pay their fare share just to see the country get out of this tax cut carnage on our economy, the repugs put us in with tax cuts

    March 9, 2011 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  20. beccaa

    Perhaps they need a decrease in pay and benefits. Which one will volunteer first "for the people"?

    March 9, 2011 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |