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Everything that you are about to read might be wrong.
Roll Call’s annual attempt to rank the riches of Members of Congress is hampered by one fundamental flaw: It is based on the lawmakers’ financial disclosure forms, which are extraordinarily unreliable sources of information.
The disclosure rules allow Members to report assets in broad categories, so there is no way to tell the difference between a $20 million investment and a $5 million investment. The top category on the Members’ forms is “over $50 million,” so it is impossible to accurately account for anything worth more than that — like a professional sports team, for example. There is also a gaping loophole for assets owned by the Members’ spouse or dependent children; anything worth more than $1 million in value can be reported as “over $1 million.” There is no way to tell whether that is $1.2 million or $1.2 billion.
The rules also don’t require reporting things of value that are not used to produce income — most notably any primary residence or other home that is not used for rentals. That loophole removes from most Members’ portfolios hundreds of thousands of dollars and in come cases millions of dollars worth of assets. Airplanes, fancy cars, antiques or other valuable items are not reported.
In filing a detailed disclosure form on behalf of Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), his accountants added this editorial note, which sums up the problem: The form is meant to comply with Senate disclosure rules but “is not intended to be a complete presentation of Senator Corker’s financial position.”
Beyond all of these flaws, there remains the fact that many, many financial disclosure forms filed by Members of Congress are simply inaccurate. A check mark placed in the wrong box can inflate or deflate a Member’s apparent net worth by millions of dollars, and misunderstandings of the rules have led Members to understate some assets, overstate others and claim additional assets they no longer own.
Where the errors are obvious or have created noticeable discrepancies from prior-year filings, Roll Call has attempted to contact the offices to get a proper understanding of the actual value of the asset or assets in question.
What remains below is a ranking of the 50 wealthiest Members of Congress based on the minimum net worth reported on their financial disclosure forms. To achieve these numbers, Roll Call totaled the assets listed on financial disclosure forms filed in 2008 (covering calendar year 2007) using the lowest number in the ranges in which Members are required to report. An asset from $500,000 to $1 million is counted as being worth $500,000, unless the Member has provided a brokerage statement or other documentation that offers more specific detail.
Liabilities, which are also reported in ranges, are calculated based on the minimum value, and are subtracted from total minimum assets to establish total net worth.
Assets that are not included on the forms but have values that have been established by Roll Call or other publications are not included for the purposes of assembling this ranking, because the Members are not required to report these numbers. This ranking is based only on what is reported on the annual disclosure forms.
1. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.)
The Massachusetts Senator claims the mantel of richest Member in the 110th Congress. Kerry’s actual holdings, however — including those of wife Teresa Heinz Kerry, widow to ketchup heir Sen. John Heinz (R-Pa.) — are likely much greater.
In an April 2008 article, Forbes.com estimated Heinz Kerry’s net worth at $1 billion.
Kerry’s disclosure forms list the value of more than 180 assets — including Heinz family trusts and investment funds — only as “over $1 million,” rather than the more specific ranges including $1 million to $5 million. Senators are allowed to list assets in the “over $1 million” category only if the items are held independently by a spouse or dependent child.
2. Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.)
The wealthy Californian, who remains heavily invested in Harman International Industries, has seen her wealth increase nearly $10 million since filing her 2006 report.
Harman’s report lists three accounts, including one held solely by her husband, totaling a combined minimum of $125 million in stock and options in the company. Harman’s spouse founded the company, which manufactures electronics under the brand names AKG Acoustics, Harman Kardon, Infinity and JBL, among others.
In addition, Harman, who has no outstanding debts, lists a trust fund worth $1.8 million and an additional $2 million in multiple hedge fund accounts.
3. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.)
The Golden State lawmaker added $2 million to his bottom line in 2007, increasing his fortune by a little more than 1 percent.
Issa, founder of the Vista, Calif.-based Directed Electronics, which manufactures car alarms, claims an investment worth at least $50 million in DEI and $25 million to $50 million in Greene Properties Inc. Both corporations own and operate office and industrial properties in California.
His portfolio also comprises numerous investment funds, including a dozen valued at a minimum of $5 million each.
4. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.)
A descendant of oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, the West Virginian’s vast assets remained stable in 2007, as his net worth increased by a little more than 1 percent.
Rockefeller’s fortunes are stored primarily in three blind trusts with JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wachovia Corp. and United National Bank, valued at more than $50 million, $25 million to $50 million, and $5 million to $25 million, respectively.
Another family trust is listed at simply “over $1 million.”
The Senator lists at least $5.5 million in debt on two loans, down from $6.5 million in 2006, when he listed an additional $1 million loan from United National Bank in Charleston, W.Va.
5. Rep. Robin Hayes (R-N.C.)
The Tar Heel State lawmaker’s wealth more than doubled since 2006, when he identified about $36 million in assets.
According to Hayes’ office, the increase, including more than $36 million in new trust funds, is the result of an inheritance. Hayes’ mother passed away in 2007.
Among the holdings in Hayes’ numerous trust funds are a mix of stocks and bonds, as well as properties including land in Lake County, Minn., and Sheldon, S.C., valued at least $5 million and $1 million, respectively.
The funds include at least $1 million in stock in corporations such as Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, Merck, Pfizer, General Electric and Altria, the parent company of Philip Morris USA.
The North Carolinian also lists a commercial loan of at least $1 million to finance his private airplane.
6. Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.)
Buchanan, the owner of several car dealerships, watched his wealth dip slightly in the past year, dropping $1.74 million, or more than 2 percent below his 2006 total.
While the Florida lawmaker’s empire — comprising several automobile dealerships, an aircraft charter business, real estate holdings and investment accounts — amounts to $102.34 million, it carries with it nearly $37 million in debt.
Included in that figure are new purchases in 2007: a King Air 350 aircraft and a Learjet, both listed as debts valued at $5 million to $25 million from SunTrust Leasing of Baltimore.
He also lists an Embraer Legacy from the same creditor for $5 million to $25 million.
7. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.)
Lautenberg, who made millions from the payroll processing company he created five decades ago, reported that his total minimum assets jumped about 24 percent, from $45 million in 2006, but that number is still not very revealing. Lautenberg’s two biggest assets are two blind trusts that he set up for himself, each worth $5 million to $25 million. Together they count for $10 million of his assets for this list, though they could be worth five times that amount.
The major increase over last year appears to be in his wife’s assets. She has several family trusts in her name, mostly holding real estate, and between 2006 and 2007 she received additional assets from her mother, Lautenberg’s office said.
So in 2006, Lautenberg reported that through an entity called LCBS Corp. his wife held “over $1 million” of Mira Loma Associates, a company holding residential real estate in Riverside, Calif. In 2007, Mira Loma was listed twice at “over $1 million” — once as part of LCBS and once as a separate asset in Bonnie Englebardt Lautenberg’s name. Several of her family trusts also purchased real estate and other assets worth more than $5 million in 2007.
8. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)
Together with her husband, financier Richard Blum, Feinstein claims a diversified portfolio that grew by $1.8 million, or an increase of just under 4 percent, since 2006.
The Californian lists assets with her husband that include ownership of all or part of numerous limited partnerships.
Among those, the Blum Family Partners, owned entirely by Blum, claims “over $1 million” in stock in RAE Systems, a manufacturer of chemical and radiation detection equipment. The fund also includes “over $1 million” in a real estate investment trust.
In addition, Feinstein lists a $5 million to $25 million investment in Carlton Hotel Properties in San Francisco and owns condos in both Tahoe City, Calif., and on Kauai in Hawaii, both valued at $1 million to $5 million.
Feinstein also lists at least $2 million in debt to Bank of America for two loans made to Blum Capital Partners.
9. Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.)
Much of Kennedy’s wealth stems from family trusts, and the Massachusetts Senator reported almost no change in 2007, with an increase of less than 1 percent.
Kennedy lists one family trust valued from $25 million to $50 million, as well as four trusts worth at least $5 million each and a blind trust totaling at least $1 million.
The Bay State lawmaker also owns a rental property in Hyannisport, Mass., valued at at least $1 million and lists a plot of undeveloped land in Lafayette, La., owned by his wife, worth from $500,000 to $1 million.
Kennedy lists $1 million in mortgage debt from Northern Trust Co. for his Hyannisport property.
10. Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.)
If you take financial disclosure forms seriously (never a good idea), you might be led to believe that Smith’s net worth tripled last year. His 2006 financial disclosure form disclosed net assets of about $8.5 million.
But Smith’s worth is largely derived from Smith Food Sales, a purveyor of frozen vegetables. In 2006 he listed that asset as being worth $5 million to $25 million. In 2007, the value has jumped to the next category, $25 million to $50 million, so even if the value of the asset rose from just under to just more than $25 million, the effect on the disclosure form is to add $20 million to Smith’s minimum net worth. Since Smith doesn’t have to report the assets of the corporation, his actual net worth may be far above what is reported on the Congressional form.
11. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas)
The Lone Star State lawmaker saw his wealth increase by more than $6 million in 2007, largely thanks to his wife’s investment in a San Antonio real estate partnership.
According to his disclosures, Maychild Ltd. increased in value to at least $5 million, adding $4 million to his minimum net worth under Roll Call’s evaluation method. In 2006, McCaul listed the real estate partnership, which owns a mix of commercial and residential properties, in the $1 million to $5 million range.
Together with his wife and family, McCaul also invests at least $12.1 million in Clear Channel Communications, the company founded by his father-in-law, Lowry Mays. The McCauls also list nearly $1 million invested in Live Nation, a Clear Channel spinoff.
The Texan lists no debts.
12. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.)
The New Jersey lawmaker’s riches shrank almost imperceptibly in 2007, decreasing slightly more than 1 percent.
Frelinghuysen’s assets comprise more than $15 million from several family trusts invested primarily in stocks.
He lists an investment of at least $1 million in Procter & Gamble Co., and one family trust lists an additional $5 million to $25 million invested in the same company.
Frelinghuysen’s holdings in Johnson & Johnson decreased in minimal value by half in 2007, dropping to $500,000 from $1 million last year.
The lawmaker’s investments also include 18 acres in Frelinghuysen Township, N.J., valued at a minimum of $250,000, and a stake in 236 acres in Stockbridge, Mass., worth at least $100,000.
13. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)
McCain’s true value is impossible to estimate because most of the major assets are listed in the name of his wife or children, thereby requiring far less detailed disclosure. Other news outlets have suggested that Cindy McCain’s net worth may exceed $100 million, but there is no documentation to prove that figure.
McCain’s disclosure form lists 12 items with values of “over $1 million” that are owned by his wife and children. In 2007, the family liquidated a trust set up by Cindy McCain’s late mother that had a reported value in 2006 of more than $2.5 million. The proceeds were then distributed to three other trusts, which show a minimum value of $1.4 million. Cindy McCain also liquidated a blind trust in 2007, selling millions of dollars worth of stock, and the reported value of the stock she owns through Hensley & Co. — her family’s beer distributorship — dropped more than $4 million in value last year.
The only assets McCain claims as his own are a checking account with a balance of $15,000 to $50,000, a money market fund worth less than $15,000 and several book deals.
14. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.)
McCaskill watched her net worth grow in 2007, increasing more than 24 percent over her estimated $15.66 million total in 2006.
Among McCaskill’s major assets: approximately 270 limited partnerships in affordable housing real estate and a handful of “enterprise trust investment funds” held by her husband that showed a combined increase of approximately $2.7 million in value from last year.
Her spouse purchased a Kansas City, Mo., housing bond listed in the “over $1 million” category.
The Senator’s husband also identified a loan of at least $1 million, the only liability listed by the couple, from Enterprise Bank.
15. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.)
In 2006, Corker sold off several commercial properties, thereby eliminating more than $20 million in mortgages that had counted as liabilities against his assets. With those liabilities out of the way, Corker’s minimum net worth jumps from about $1.5 million on his 2006 report to more than $19 million on his 2007 report.
One of the liabilities remaining is attributed to Corker’s “dependent child”: a loan from the Senator valued at more than $1 million, payable at 5.05 percent interest.
In 2007, according to an explanatory note attached to his disclosure form, Corker also divested himself of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of publicly traded stock in order to avoid any appearance of conflicts of interest. He consolidated his investments in several funds that are widely diversified and therefore do not have to report their underlying holdings. When one of the funds could not meet the Ethics Committee’s requirements for an “exempt” fund, Corker withdrew from the investment.
16. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.)
The New York lawmaker saw her estimated net worth increase more than 44 percent over the past year, up from $13.18 million.
The jump results from growth in her portion of a real estate development company, which moved up from the $1 million minimum category to the $5 million minimum category, effectively adding $4 million to Maloney’s bottom line.
Maloney listed a value of at least $5 million for Bosher Family, a partner of the real estate development company HPB Enterprises.
She also lists a separate $1 million entry for HPB Enterprises in Hertford, N.C.
The Democrat also owns a “rental property and residence” in New York valued at $5 million to $25 million, a rental property in New Canaan, Conn., ($1 million to $5 million) and a Washington, D.C., house ($1 million to $5 million).
Maloney also has about $2 million in mortgage debts and real estate loans on those properties and an Arlington, Va., condo.
17. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)
The Californian’s net worth rose nearly 16 percent in 2007, adding $2.5 million to her personal wealth.
Among her assets, Pelosi lists a Norden, Calif., town house valued at $1 million to $5 million and a real estate investment in Napa, Calif., worth at least $500,000.
In addition, her husband owns a commercial property in San Francisco valued at $5 million to $25 million. In 2006, the property was listed as worth $1 million to $5 million, so that property alone added $4 million to Pelosi’s net worth last year.
The couple also owns a vineyard in St. Helena, Calif., valued at $5 million to $25 million.
The Speaker’s husband also increased tenfold his holdings in Apple Computer Inc. stock to at least $5 million, up from a minimum of $500,000 in 2006.
Pelosi and her husband also owe mortgage debt on several of their properties, including the vineyard, totaling at least $8.75 million.
Other debts listed by Pelosi include lines of credit totaling at least $3.5 million.
18. Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.)
The largest asset on Lowey’s disclosure form is an account in her husband’s name with the investment firm Ingalls & Snyder listed with a value of $5 million to $25 million. In 2006, Lowey listed the same asset with a value of $1 million to $5 million.
Her husband has several other investment accounts worth a minimum of $1 million each, as well as at least $1 million in a profit- sharing plan from his law firm, Lowey Dannenberg Bemporad & Selinger (which has since been renamed). The couple also list joint investment accounts at Glickenhaus & Co. and Fidelity worth from $1 million to $5 million each.
19. Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.)
The North Carolinian and her husband, former Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.), saw a modest rise in their wealth, increasing a little more than 2 percent since 2006.
The Doles’ assets include the only liability listed by the couple multiple checking and money market accounts worth at least $1.12 million, including one account held by Bob Dole valued at “over $1 million.”
The former Senator also claims a stake in five investment funds, worth a combined minimum of nearly $5 million. He also lists multiple promissory notes from the Robert J. Dole Irrevocable Trust, including two worth “over $1 million.”
Elizabeth Dole also lists about 119 acres of land in Johnson City, Kan., valued at $1 million to $5 million.
20. Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine)
Snowe’s net worth is largely tied to her husband’s position as chairman of the board of Education Management Corp., a Pittsburgh-based education company. Snowe lists her husband’s stock in Education Management as an asset worth $5 million to $25 million. In last year’s disclosure form, that asset was valued at $1 million to $5 million.
He also holds stock options worth $1 million to $5 million. The couple jointly holds mutual funds shares worth more than $2 million.
21. Rep. Tom Petri (R-Wis.)
The Wisconsin lawmaker claimed a nearly 7 percent increase in his holdings over the past year, increasing his wealth by more than $900,000.
Petri’s major investments include stock in both U.S. Bank and Walgreens Co., each valued at $5 million to $25 million.
He also claims at least $1 million in stock for both Berkshire Hathaway and British insurance exchange Lloyds of London. The latter has doubled in minimum value since 2006, when Petri listed the asset as worth at least $500,000.
Petri’s only debt is a loan issued by Merrill Lynch, valued at $1 million to $5 million.
22. Rep. Gary Miller (R-Calif.)
Having disposed of several debts, Miller’s net worth has rocketed more than 39 percent, or about $4 million, in his most recent report.
The Californian no longer lists debts of at least $1 million each for the Fontana Library Co. and the Upland, Calif.-based Church Haven Co., which he listed last year.
Miller’s assets include an account with Pomona Bank and Trust 1st Federal worth $5 million to $25 million and 382 acres in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., valued at at least $5 million.
He also added a new investment worth $1 million to $5 million in PFF Bancorp, the parent company of Rancho Cucamonga-based PFF Bank and Trust.
23. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.)
The Tennessee Senator’s largest asset is his stock in Processed Foods Corp., a Knoxville-based company where Alexander served on the board prior to his election to the Senate in 2002. He holds $5 million to $25 million worth of the company’s stock, and his wife holds “over $1 million” as well.
The family’s other major assets are land and real estate, in particular a patch in Nantucket, Mass., that is worth $1 million to $5 million for Alexander and “over $1 million” for his wife.
He incurred several new debts in 2007, taking out four loans totaling at least $560,000.
24. Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.)
Kids. You pour your heart into them, and they grow up, leave and take all your money. Or something like that.
Campbell’s financial disclosure form for 2007 notes that one of his children reached the age of majority, so Campbell is no longer required to report the assets that were previously counted as belonging to the “dependent child.” That and the fact that one of the rental properties Campbell owns was misreported the year before (it was listed as being worth at least $1 million, but should have been listed at $500,000 to $1 million) leaves the California Congressman showing a drop of more than $2 million in the assets that he declared last year.
However, he still owns more than $6 million worth of California real estate, among his other holdings.
25. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.)
Sensenbrenner, who submits one of the lengthiest financial disclosures each year by providing his regular report along with a detailed accounting of his net worth, saw his tally drop by about 3 percent from the previous year.
Much of the Wisconsin lawmaker’s losses come from a downtick in his $6.7 million of investments in stocks and bonds, comprising $1.3 million in Merck & Co. Inc. and significant investments in Exxon Mobil Corp., General Electric Co., Pfizer Inc. and Abbot Laboratories Inc.
He also owns an Alexandria, Va., home valued at $1.5 million and a $1 million interest in a Waukesha County, Wis., home.
Sensenbrenner has also listed $7,800 in travelers checks for the past two years.
26. Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.)
Rehberg increased his net worth by 5 percent in 2007 as the value of his wife’s Billings, Mont., farm increased by $500,000.
The Montanan’s office said Rehberg’s spouse reincorporated the property in preparation to sell it, revising the property value to at least $1 million. The Rehbergs did not ultimately sell the parcel.
Rehberg’s assets also include at least $10 million in ranching and livestock operations and $1 million in Rehberg Ranch Marketing Inc.
He also lists $1.3 million in loan debt for development, construction and agriculture.
27. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa)
According to Harkin’s financial disclosure forms, his minimum net worth has essentially doubled since 2006 because of his wife’s purchase of about $5 million worth of stock in 2007.
Harkin’s office wouldn’t comment on where the money for the purchases came from, but the disclosure form indicates that his wife, Ruth, bought and sold “over $1 million” worth of stock in United Technologies Corp., where she used to be a vice president. Harkin’s forms have previously stated that his wife’s compensation from UTC included a “contractual right to receive stock in the future,” so it is possible that she took stock that was owed to her and converted it to other securities.
The assets that are listed as belonging to the Senator alone or through joint ownership have a minimum value of less than $100,000. The Harkins list no liabilities.
28. Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-Texas)
In 2007, Marchant exchanged several ranch properties for a partnership interest in Bonita Lands and Cattle, a group that holds 3,500 acres, plus cows and equipment. Bonita became the largest asset on his disclosure form for 2007, valued at $5 million to $25 million.
Marchant’s other major assets are rolled into a family partnership called Marken Interests Ltd. The partnership holds 73 acres in Ft. Worth, Texas, which Marchant values at $1 million to $5 million, plus mineral rights and a wide array of stocks.
Marchant also lists more than $3 million in liabilities, but several of those items are mortgages that appear to have been paid off or assumed by Bonita, which would suggest that his net worth has already risen over the total reported on his latest financial disclosure form.
29. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.)
In 2006, in preparation for her White House bid, Clinton closed a blind trust worth $5 million to $25 million, reported its stock holdings and then sold them off because of different disclosure requirements for presidential candidates.
In 2007, her primary assets were two Citibank deposit accounts, each worth $5 million to $25 million, one of which is new. While the disclosure form she prepared for the presidential race indicated a minimum net worth of about $17 million and her current disclosure only tallies about $10 million, the wide ranges reported for the family’s cash accounts could easily accommodate millions more in assets than she gets credit for in this tally.
Beyond the two giant bank accounts, the family’s biggest asset appears to be Bill Clinton, who earned more than $10 million giving speeches in 2007.
30. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.)
The Alabaman’s fortunes diminished nearly 6.5 percent in 2007, a drop of about $600,000.
Shelby owns 48 shares in Tuscaloosa Title, a title abstract and insurance company, with a value of $1 million to $5 million, and his wife owns two shares worth $50,000 to $100,000.
The couple transferred a 49 percent stake in a Tuscaloosa, Ala., apartment building, listed at $500,000 to $1 million, to the Shelby Family Trust in late 2007.
Shelby’s assets also include a D.C. town house and a Tuscaloosa home, both valued in the “over $1 million” category, as well as a Tuscaloosa office building listed at $500,000 to $1 million.
The Senator lists $1 million in mortgage debt on the apartment building, as well as a personal note issued by Regions Bank for $250,000 to $500,000.
31. Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.)
After the sale of his oil services company in 2003, several other companies Pearce founded have continued to grow. Last year, LFT, which takes its name from Lea Fishing Tools, the company Pearce sold, rose from $500,000 to $1 million to $1 million to $5 million, and Pearce also bought investment land in New Mexico.
Roll Call reported in April that Pearce apparently sold his company for about $12 million, but because the assets are held in a corporate account, he does not have to list the total amount among his assets or income.
32. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas)
Since Members of Congress are required to report only properties that are producing income, it is not uncommon to see assets hop on or off Members’ disclosure forms from year to year when they start or stop renting them. Doggett appears to be a case in point: An Austin, Texas, property that was not reported in 2006 appears on his 2007 form with a value of $100,000 to $250,000, producing $5,000 to $15,000 in income. There is no reported transaction, which suggests that Doggett already owned it but began renting the “garage apt” last year.
His other holdings, which showed a solid increase over the prior year, include investments of at least $500,000 in several Vanguard investment funds, as well as Whole Foods Market Inc.
33. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.)
The Georgia Senator paid off a small home mortgage while adding a new Massachusetts Avenue condo to his real estate portfolio.
Isakson reports a stable fortune, increasing his net worth less than 2 percent over his 2006 values.
His only debt is a $15,000 to $50,000 equity loan from Wachovia Bank.
Isakson also reported the purchase of a condo for $250,000 to $500,000.
The lawmaker’s assets include a mix of real estate and stocks, including Synovus, a financial services company. Isakson lists an investment of $1 million to $5 million in the company.
Among his real estate holdings are 12 acres in Rabun City, Ga., valued at $1 million to $5 million.
34. Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah)
Bennett’s fortune remained the same from 2006, with at least $5 million of his assets tied to Watermark Corp., a company that owns lodging properties in Salt Lake City.
While Bennett, who once owned all of Watermark Corp, now claims only a one-third stake, he acknowledges in his disclosure form that he maintains full rights to the company’s assets because he remains a guarantor on mortgages for company properties.
Those mortgage debts, for two Anniversary Inns located in Salt Lake City, are valued at minimums of $1 million and $5 million, respectively. Bennett lists the net value of those properties at $1 million to $5 million each.
35. Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.)
It was a good financial year for the one-time NFL quarterback, who added a more than 20 percent increase, about $1.3 million, to his net worth.
Shuler’s investment in River Crest Development, a Del Rio, Tenn.-based real estate development firm, jumped to a minimum value of $1 million, doubling from its $500,000 minimum rating last year.
The North Carolinian also added to his portfolio the River at Shining Rock, a Haywood County, N.C.-based real estate development company, valued at $1 million to $5 million.
His real estate holdings also include the Cove at Blackberry Ridge, valued at a minimum of $5 million, and a stake in a Knoxville, Tenn., shopping center valued at a minimum of $1 million.
Shuler carries $1 million in mortgage debt on rental property, as well as an additional $500,000 in business loans and a $50,000 consumer line of credit from United Community Bank in Lenoir City, Tenn.
36. Rep. John Spratt (D-S.C.)
Spratt’s minimum net worth soared in 2007 as the value of an 800-acre swath of pasture land in Fort Mill, S.C., moved into the $5 million to $25 million range.
The increase over its previous minimum $1 million listing swells the Democrat’s fortunes by $4 million, the largest factor in his 141 percent increase.
Spratt’s other assets include investments in Bank of America Corp. valued at $500,000 to $1 million and York Bancshares at $1 million to $5 million.
His real estate holdings include a D.C. rental unit and properties in South Carolina, with a combined value of at least $850,000.
Spratt carries $480,000 in debt, a combination of mortgage debt, credit cards and promissory notes.
37. Rep. Bill Foster (D-Ill.)
Foster, who won the special election to replace former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R), has almost all of his assets tied up in the theater lighting company he founded with his brother in 1975, Electronic Theatre Controls. Foster reports holding $5 million to $25 million in a promissory note “for payments over time arising from sale of interest” in the company, but also a $1 million to $5 million ownership interest in the company “that owns the factory building used by ETC Inc.”
He also has more than $1 million in savings, checking and money market accounts.
Foster reports no liabilities.
38. Rep. Steve Kagen (D-Wis.)
The Wisconsin lawmaker, who operated Kagen Allergy Clinics before his election to the House, maintains a portfolio composed largely of bonds, as well as a money market account valued at $1 million to $5 million.
He lists no debts.
39. Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.)
Upton’s fortunes increased by approximately $460,000 in 2007, adding nearly 7 percent to his net worth.
Together with his wife, the Michigan lawmaker owns $1 million to $5 million in Whirlpool, the Benton Harbor, Mich.-based appliance company co-founded by his grandfather.
The couple also lists $5 million to $25 million in family trusts and an additional $1 million in an investment account.
Upton lists no debts.
40. Rep. David Dreier (R-Calif.)
Dreier’s wealth remains relatively unchanged at just over $7 million, decreasing less than 1 percent from his estimated 2006 net worth.
The California Republican’s primary asset, valued at $5 million to $25 million, is an interest in Tiffany Manor Apartments, a complex in Kansas City, Mo.
He also has $500,000 to $1 million invested in the Oklahoma Publishing Co., which produces both the Oklahoman newspaper and its Web site, NewsOK.com.
Dreier, who lists no debts, also has investments worth at least $250,000 in both Viacom and Gaylord Entertainment, which owns resorts in Nashville, Orlando, Dallas and D.C., as well as the Grand Ole Opry.
41. Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.)
Nelson holds an unusual investment portfolio that is made up almost entirely of certificates of deposit, municipal bonds and treasury notes. As such, his net reportable worth did not grow much over the past year, but his report also doesn’t indicate significant investment losses.
Nelson does report “residential acreages held for resale” in Nebraska, with a value of $500,000 to $1 million; a year ago, that property was valued at $1 million to $5 million. He also holds stock worth $500,000 to $1 million in a Nebraska metal building manufacturing company.
42. Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.)
The Georgia lawmaker’s net worth increased nearly 15 percent, or about $1 million, in the past year.
Much of that growth is the result of an increase in the value of a Minnesota Life annuities fund that Price lists in the $1 million to $5 million category. In 2006, he listed the annuities at a base value of $500,000.
Price also lists partial ownership for at least $600,000 worth of real estate in Roswell, Ga., including medical buildings and a condo development. Together with his wife, he also lists a vacant lot in St. Simons, Ga., valued at $1 million.
The Republican and his spouse also have multiple retirement and investment accounts valued at at least $4 million.
43. Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.)
Bingaman is something of a media mogul, having much of his worth invested in partnerships that hold stock in broadcast, print media and digital communications, among other things.
Bingaman’s net worth appears to have dropped by almost 20 percent from 2006 to 2007, as his wife sold off $2 million worth of stock from a Goldman Sachs investment account. The couple also put up nearly $400,000 in “capital calls” for various investments.
44. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.)
DeLauro remains financially steady, reporting an identical figure for her net worth two years in a row.
The Connecticut Democrat’s wealth comes primarily from the stake her husband, pollster Stan Greenberg, holds in Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, valued at $5 million to $25 million.
DeLauro’s only debt is a loan from Chase Auto in Phoenix, listed at $15,000 to $50,000.
45. Sen. John Warner (R-Va.)
The retiring Senator has assets scattered across a handful of brokerage accounts, none of which by itself is worth more than $1 million. Last year he added two real estate investments — Under the Missouri Sky Properties and Golden Dome partners — worth nearly $300,000.
Warner reports no liabilities.
46. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.)
Speier, a newcomer to Congress, owns four California properties with a combined value of at least $3 million, which propels her onto this list. She is also boosted by her husband’s assets, including more than $1 million worth of stock in a California investment firm.
Her disclosure form lists no liabilities.
47. Rep. John Linder (R-Ga.)
In August 2007, Linder sold his holdings in Grayling Industries, a Georgia manufacturer of plastic packaging, for $5 million to $25 million, netting a capital gain of more than $5 million.
His financial disclosure form shows two new Schwab money market accounts, one in his name and one in his wife’s, both listed as having a value of $1 million to $5 million. The couple also have two other IRA funds listed in the same category. Linder’s wife also owns three companies holding Mississippi timber land worth at least $700,000.
48. Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas)
A developer before he came to Congress, Neugebauer remains active in land and real estate dealings. According to his disclosure forms, in 2007 he sold properties valued at a minimum of $180,000 and bought properties worth at least $317,000, and he holds a passel of other properties, including a D.C. town house. He also bought $1 million to $5 million in U.S. treasury bills last year.
49. Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.)
Though he is among the wealthiest Members of Congress, Kohl’s financial disclosure fails to do him justice under Roll Call’s methodology.
The owner of the Milwaukee Bucks, Kohl values the NBA team at more than $50 million, the highest category available on the forms. But according to Forbes, the team’s estimated value in 2007 was $264 million.
Using that figure would put Kohl’s net worth at about $219 million, but his liabilities cancel out most of his assets.
The Wisconsin lawmaker’s debts are also tied to the basketball team, including three promissory notes from the NBA credit facility combined to value at least $55 million. Kohl also lists a promissory note to himself from the Bucks for more than $50 million.
The Senator also lists a blind trust valued at more than $50 million.
50. Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.)
Emanuel’s blind trust appears to have lost a few hundred thousand dollars in value over the past year, resulting in a disclosure report that inaccurately indicates he lost almost half his personal wealth.
In 2006, he listed the blind trust at $5 million to $25 million; last year it was listed as from $1 million to $5 million. In a separate filing with the ethics committee, Emanuel reported that as of June 30, the value of the trust was $4.1 million. If that number were reported on his disclosure form, it would raise his minimum wealth to about $8 million.
Clarification: Sept. 24, 2008
The article did not intend to imply that Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) had falsified his financial disclosure reports. The article intended to point out that the reporting forms themselves often result in a misleading picture of a Member’s financial condition.