January 10, 2014
Your member of Congress is not like you. Your member of Congress, most likely, is much, much richer than you.
For the first time, most U.S. lawmakers are millionaires, according to a new analysis from the Center for Responsive Politics. At least 268 current members of Congress, out of 534, had an average 2012 net worth of at least $1 million. That's just a tiny bit more than half of the total. The congressional median net worth was $1,008,767.
Congressional Democrats had a slightly higher median net worth than Republicans, $1.04 million to $1 million. It's not like there's been some kind of major, recent financial sea change, though. The last analysis had those numbers at $990,000 for Democrats and $907,000 for Republicans.
Unsurprisingly, senators on the whole are much wealthier than House members on the whole: The median net worth in the Senate was $2.7 million, compared with a $896,000 median net worth in the House. Senate Republicans are the ones who are truly raking it in, with a $2.9 million median net worth.
As for the individual wealthiest member? House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., has overtaken Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, with an average 2012 net worth of $464 million, compared with McCaul's $143.1 million. McCaul had been worth over $500 million in 2011, but he got bumped down due to a change in financial-reporting rules.
On the opposite side of the spectrum is Rep. David Valadao, R-Calif., the least wealthy member of Congress. He had an average net worth of negative $12.1 million in 2012, due to loans for his family's dairy farm.
The average U.S. household had a net worth of $539,500 in 2012, according to the St. Louis Fed.
You can see the full 2012 financial breakdown here:
This article appears in the January 10, 2014, edition of NJ Daily.
January 10, 2014