Even membership in Congress’ most exclusive club couldn’t insulate lawmakers from the economic downturn.
According to Roll Call’s annual examination of House and Senate financial disclosure forms, while the 50 richest Members of Congress remain financially flush — each with a minimum net worth of nearly $5.5 million — many of them suffered significant financial losses in 2008.
Lawmakers on this year’s list reported a combined loss of more than $275 million from their minimum net worth since 2007. While the combined wealth of the 50 richest Members tallied approximately $1.3 billion in 2008, that figure falls nearly $171 million short of the previous club, which put up a total of almost $1.5 billion.
Among the 38 lawmakers who return to the 50 richest club in 2008, the average reported wealth has declined more than 10 percent. Those who ranked at or near the top of the list last year reported some of the biggest losses, including Rep. Jane Harman’s (D-Calif.) decline of more than 50 percent, or $114 million less than she previously reported.
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who returns as the richest Member of all, reported his personal coffers were down 28 percent since his previous report.
Because Members report their wealth in broad ranges — varying from $1 to $1,000 up to more than $50 million — it can be difficult to determine exactly how much a lawmaker’s finances have declined. Shifting an asset from one category to the next may give the appearance of losses reaching millions of dollars, even if the stocks, real estate or other investment has decreased only a few thousand dollars.
Nonetheless, financial disclosures offer some insight into the cause of such changes.
Harman’s investments in the audio company Harman International Industries, established by her husband, dropped sharply in 2008; Kerry reported the sale of an investment fund valued at more than $22 million.
Roll Call calculated Members’ wealth based solely on the information lawmakers must reveal in their annual 2009 financial disclosure reports (which cover calendar year 2008).
Each Member’s minimum net worth is determined by adding the lowest number in the range selected for each asset — for example, a $1 million to $5 million asset would be evaluated at $1 million — and subtracting the lowest total liabilities.
Although lawmakers must report information on investment accounts and rental properties, the financial disclosure process shields Members from illuminating numerous other economic indicators such as the value of homes — including vacation or second homes — so long as the properties aren’t used to generate income. In addition, Members are not required to report losses from the sale of assets, such as stocks or real estate.
Among those lawmakers who qualified for the newest 50 richest list — including 28 Democrats and 22 Republicans — are 11 freshman Members.
Kerry once again ranks atop the 50 Richest Members of Congress, even as his financial disclosures show his reported holdings shrank by 28 percent in 2008.
The Massachusetts Senator reported a reduction of more than $64 million from his coffers, including the sale of a “Heinz Family Commingled Stock Fund” valued at $22.3 million in the previous year. Kerry also increased his debts to a total of $47.86 million with the addition of four new liabilities worth more than $1 million each.
Since the bulk of Kerry’s wealth is actually his wife’s money, he has dozens of assets listed as simply “over $1 million,” the category reserved for spouse assets. But even the lack of detail provides some hint of the losses: In 2007 Kerry reported more than 180 of these “over $1 million accounts”; in 2008 there were only about 130. Click for a interactive chart breaking down the entire list.
Nonetheless, Kerry’s actual riches — which include those of his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, widow of ketchup heir Sen. John Heinz (R-Pa.) — are likely far greater. In an April 2008 article, Forbes.com estimated Heinz Kerry’s net worth at $1 billion.
Bucking the downward trend in 2008, the Golden State lawmaker continued to steadily grow his fortune in 2008, adding more than 2 percent to his minimum net worth.
The founder of Vista, Calif.-based Directed Electronics, which manufactures car alarms, Issa has his investments anchored in two corporations that own and operate office and industrial properties in California: DEI LLC and Greene Properties Inc., valued at more than $50 million and from $25 million to $50 million, respectively. Issa also lists an investment in Viper LLC, a similar real estate firm, valued at $5 million to $25 million.
Issa, who has no debts, also lists a money market fund valued at more than $50 million.
The value of Harman’s holdings in Harman International Industries — the audio products company founded by her husband that manufactures electronics under the brand names AKG Acoustics, Harman Kardon, Infinity and JBL — plummeted last year.
Two accounts in Sidney Harman’s name were listed in 2007 as having values of at least $50 million each. In 2008, the reported value of those assets dropped by a combined $70 million. One account is now valued at $5 million to $25 million, the other at $25 million to $50 million.
The California lawmaker also reported four family trust accounts that appear to have lost significant value. In 2007 the four accounts showed a minimum value of about $84 million; last year that total dropped to just more than $64 million.
But even as Harman reported a drop of more than 50 percent in her minimum net worth, from $225.96 million in 2007, she easily remains near the top of the 50 richest.
While others lost wealth in 2008, Rockefeller maintained his fortune on a near-even keel.
A descendant of oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, the West Virginia Senator’s wealth is concentrated in three blind trusts, with a combined minimum value of at least $80 million. The largest of those trusts, an account with JP Morgan Chase Bank in New York established in 1934, is valued at “over $50 million.”
Rockefeller’s spouse, Sharon Percy Rockefeller, the daughter of former Sen. Charles Percy (R-Ill.), also owns “over $1 million” in PepsiCo stock and the family lists another trust with Lincoln Financial Group valued at “over $1 million.”
The Senator lists $5.25 million in debt from two loans, a slight decrease from his $5.5 million in debt listed in his previous disclosure. Those liabilities include one loan from United National Bank for $5 million to $25 million.
The Virginia Senator lands on the highest rung among the 11 freshman lawmakers who joined the 50 wealthiest Members of Congress.
Warner made his fortune as a co-founder of Nextel telecommunications company and via an investment in Columbia Capital.
Among his assets, Warner is the beneficiary of the MRW Trust, which initially served as a blind trust after his election to the Virginia governor’s office in 2001 until 2006. The fund includes a money market account valued at $5 million to $25 million, as well as numerous city and state bonds.
Nonetheless, Warner reported nearly $19 million less in personal wealth than he did in his previous financial disclosure form filed as a candidate ahead of the 2008 elections.
Warner reported $9 million less in U.S. Treasury notes than he did as a candidate. He also reduced the value of two investment funds, Pointer LP and Signature Financial Management, both of which dropped from the $5 million to $25 million category to the $1 million to $5 million column.
In addition, Warner reports holdings in three investment partnerships worth $5 million to $25 million each.
The freshman lawmaker, who made his fortune as an Internet entrepreneur, reported nearly $25 million less in his most recent financial disclosure report than he did as a House candidate last year, but he still ranks among the wealthiest Members.
Polis founded his first company, American Information Systems, while still in college and later sold it for more than $20 million. He went on to expand his family’s Blue Mountain Arts greeting card and publishing business online, and the company was sold in 1999 for $780 million. He also founded ProFlowers.com, an online florist, which later became Provide Commerce LLC and was sold to Liberty Media in 2006 for $477 million.
As a candidate, Polis reported more than $50 million invested in the Jove Capital Fund, but in several transactions before and after the election he sold off that asset, and it had a value of zero on his 2008 financial disclosure.
Polis now lists from $25 million to $50 million in a Goldman Sachs Bank Deposit. He also retained an investment in Asia Investment Partners valued at $5 million to $25 million and a Merrill Lynch account valued from $5 million to $25 million. Polis also lists two dozen other investments worth more than $1 million.
The Florida lawmaker continued a downward financial slide in 2008, reporting a minimum net worth of $15.7 million less than the previous year.
In particular, he reported several major real estate transactions but did not claim a dime of profit from the deals, one of which he valued at $5 million to $25 million.
Buchanan, whose empire includes auto dealerships, real estate and investment accounts, reported the profitless sale of Avon, Colo.-based Beaver Creek LLC, previously valued at $5 million to $25 million, and sold in a transaction of the same amount. He also reported the sale of a Menlo Park, Calif., “investment” condo previously valued at $1 million to $5 million and sold in a transaction of $1 million to $5 million but with no profit.
A Bowling Green, Ky., auto dealership previously valued as at least $1 million also appears as a sale on Buchanan’s financial disclosure, but he does not provide a transaction value.
Buchanan also reported the sale of several investment funds during 2008, including the sale of an account valued at $1 million to $5 million, which netted no profit.
8. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) $48.38 million
The New Jersey Senator’s minimum net worth took a hit in 2008 when one of three blind trusts downshifted to a minimum net worth of $1 million, rather than the minimum $5 million Lautenberg reported in 2007.
While there’s no way to determine how much the fund contains — accounts on the boundary of two reporting categories may shift year to year, easily adding or subtracting up to millions of dollars from a lawmaker’s minimum net worth, even while the actual change in the value of the account is minimal — the change is a significant portion of the nearly $7 million drop in Lautenberg’s minimum net worth in 2008.
Lautenberg, who made his fortune from the payroll processing company he established in 1952, maintains two other blind trusts, one valued at $5 million to $25 million, and the other at $1 million to $5 million.
Including those assets maintained by her husband, financier Richard Blum, Feinstein maintains a diverse portfolio, including several trusts, real estate and an array of “investment partnerships.”
Feinstein is beneficiary of both her own blind trust established in 1991 as well as a family trust, each valued at $1 million to $5 million.
Together with Blum, she also owns a condominium in Kauai, Hawaii, valued at $1 million to $5 million. Blum also lists a Tahoe City, Calif., condominium valued at $1 million to $5 million, which generates $15,000 to $50,000 in annual rental income.
In addition, Feinstein lists an investment in Carlton Hotel Properties in San Francisco valued at $5 million to $25 million.
Nonetheless, the California Senator’s coffers appeared to shrink by more than $9 million in her most recent disclosure.
Among the declines, Blum reported the liquidation of two limited partnerships with stock in the Korean broadband company Hanaro Telecom, reporting capital gains of “over $1 million” from each partnership. As a result of the sale, however, the value of each asset declined from “over $1 million” to a minimum of $100,000.
The first-term New Mexico lawmaker made his fortune as the founder of Teaco Energy Services, a Hobbs, N.M., oil services firm.
On his candidate financial disclosure form last year, Teague listed the company with a value of $5 million to $25 million. But on his first Congressional disclosure form, Teague has helpfully given exact values for all his assets — and the oil company is valued at $39,630,537.
Because Roll Call evaluates assets by the minimum value of the reported range, what was a $5 million asset is now a $39 million asset.
Teague’s only liability is a personal loan to Teaco Energy Services, valued at $1 million to $5 million.
11. Rep. Mike McCaul (R-Texas.) $38.08 million
The Texas lawmaker saw his portfolio significantly increase since filing his 2007 report. McCaul’s assets grew by at least $14 million in 2008, a jump of nearly 60 percent from his reported minimum value the year before. McCaul holds the largest percentage increase in wealth among any Member.
The gain in McCaul’s wealth comes from a significant jump in his wife’s LLM Partners Family Investments, which were valued at a minimum of $25 million in 2008. The same investment was valued at a minimum of $3.3 million in 2007.
McCaul lists no assets to his name with his spouse and his dependent children claimed as his only income sources.
McCaul’s family sold off most of its investments in the media conglomerate Clear Channel Communications Inc. In 2007, family investments in the media giant came in at a minimum value of $12.1 million. The lawmaker’s father-in-law, Lowry Mays, is the company’s chairman. McCaul’s wife also sold off her investments in Live Nation, an events-planning spinoff of Clear Channel, nearly halving that reported minimum amount. In 2007, McCaul’s Live Nation investments amounted to almost $1 million.
The Florida lawmaker’s largest asset stems from an apparent financial mistake.
Grayson lists a claim valued at $25 million to $50 million against Derivium Capital.
The now-bankrupt firm managed a Ponzi scheme in which investors, including Grayson, could turn over stock to Derivium in exchange for cash loans and redeem the value later if the stock prices increased. A South Carolina court ruled earlier this year that Derivium shareholders were collectively owed about $270 million in lost profits and that Grayson’s share would be about $34 million.
In addition to that claim, Grayson, an attorney who founded the telecommunications company IDT Corp. in 1990, lists a trust valued at $5 million to $25 million. The same trust was previously Grayson’s largest asset, with a value of $25 million to $50 million when he filed a candidate disclosure form in November 2008.
13. Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) $19.29 million
Idaho’s freshman Senator joins the list despite the fact that his portfolio’s minimum value dropped by nearly $1 million from his 2007 candidate financial disclosure.
Real estate comprises most of the Senator’s worth. Risch owns four investment ranch and farm properties in Idaho, totaling 284 acres, which together amount to at least $16 million. Risch also invests in American Trailer Sales Co., a Boise, Idaho-based manufacturer of custom trailers, and in Boise-based Sage Meadow Ranch Inc.
The Senator’s investment in Risch Goss Insinger Gustavel, a law firm in which he was previously a partner, dropped from the $1 million to the $250,000 category.
The Garden State lawmaker’s reported investments decreased by $4.26 million from his 2007 minimum reported value, a drop of almost 20 percent in net worth. A number of the lawmaker’s investments lost value across the board.
Frelinghuysen invests a significant amount of his wealth in the consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble. The lawmaker holds $1 million in company stock, with two family trusts investing a minimum of $6 million.
15. Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) $17.12 million
Lummis’ prosperity is tied to three Cheyenne, Wyo.-based cattle ranches — Lummis Livestock Co., Arp & Hammond Hardware Co. and Old Horse Pasture Inc. — each valued at $5 million to $25 million.
The first-term lawmaker also lists the Laramie River Ranch in Wheatland, Wyo., valued at $500,000 to $1 million. Her husband, Al Wiederspahn, lists the Equipoise Corp. in Cheyenne with a value of $1 million to $5 million.
Lummis lists two mortgages for her Wyoming properties with a combined minimum value of at least $1.1 million.
The Tennessee Senator maintains a number of real estate investments, including a Maryville, Tenn., shopping center and Chattanooga, Tenn., office building, each valued at $5 million to $25 million.
In addition, Corker lists a share in Pointer (QP) LP Investments worth $5 million to $25 million. He includes two loans to the Julia Corker and Emily Corker trusts, valued at $1 million to $5 million. He also counts these loans as liabilities — the parent taking on the debt of the dependent child — but because they are payable to the Senator, it is hard to see how they count against his net worth. Discounting these liabilities would bounce the Senator up the list a few places, with a minimum value of about $19 million.
In 2008, McCaskill’s reported wealth dropped by $3.5 million, or about an 18 percent decrease from her 2007 estimated worth of $19.52 million.
The majority of McCaskill’s wealth continues to be tied up in more than 250 affordable housing limited partnerships, which are held by her husband, Joseph Shepard. The Senator’s husband also invests $500,000 in Berkshire Hathaway, $1 million in Enterprise Financial Service Corp. and $1.3 million in multiple Ginnie Mae bond holdings. An additional $1 million is invested in Fisher Funds.
The lawmaker lists a $15,000 loan from Enterprise Bank, down from the previous year in which the couple identified a loan of $1 million from the bank.
18. Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) $15.74 million
Kennedy’s death Aug. 25 means that for the first time in 20 years there is no longer a Kennedy among the richest Members of Congress.
But with Kennedy’s son Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) still in Congress, it is a good bet the son could follow the father onto this list next year.
Like others on this list, Sen. Kennedy’s portfolio declined significantly last year, dropping nearly 67 percent to $15.74 million; his previous reported net worth was $47.62 million.
According to his annual disclosure form, four family trusts decreased in value in 2008. One account that had been valued at $25 million to $50 million is now worth $5 million to $25 million, while three other family trusts decreased from minimum values of $5 million to at least $1 million each.
Rep. Kennedy lists assets of less than a million dollars, but he also lists a blind trust of unknown value created by his father, which provides annual income of $100,000 to $1 million. It seems likely that any inheritance will significantly boost his assets next year.
19. Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) $14.38 million
The New Yorker saw her minimum wealth fall by nearly 20 percent, shedding about $3.4 million in reported value.
Lowey’s largest asset last year, a minimum $5 million investment by her husband in the firm Ingalls & Synder, fell to a minimum value of $1 million in 2008. Lowey’s husband has several other investments worth a minimum of $1 million, including three hedge funds (Arbiter Partners, MMI Investments, P. Oppenheimer Investment Partnership), two IRAs (Brownstone Catalyst Fund and Federated Kaufmann Fund), as well as a profit-sharing plan with Lowey Dannenberg Bemporad & Selinger. The lawmaker also lists at least a $1 million investment in the same New York law firm.
The couple continues to jointly hold several investment accounts, including a $1 million account with Fidelity and a $500,000 investment with Glickenhaus & Co.
20. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) $14 million
Maloney’s minimum wealth is on a roller coaster. In 2006, her reported net worth was at least $13 million; in 2007, that number jumped to just more than $19 million; in 2008, it plummeted back to $14 million. Maloney’s investments in Bosher Family, a partner in the real estate development company HPB Enterprises, fell from a minimum value of $5 million to a minimum worth of $1 million last year.
The Albemarle Plantation was also formed to hold Maloney’s 25 percent interest in HPB Enterprises T/A Albemarle Plantation. That investment was reported as at a minimum of $1 million.
The Democrat continues to hold a “rental property and residence” in New York valued at $5 million to $25 million, a rental property in New Canaan, Conn., worth $1 million to $5 million, as well as a house in Washington, D.C., valued at $1 million to $5 million.
The New Yorker holds close to $2 million in mortgage debts and real estate loans on those properties. She also lists a $250,000 mortgage on a condo in Arlington, Va.
The former GOP presidential nominee lost almost 30 percent of his reported wealth in 2008, shedding $5.86 million from last year’s total. As with previous years, the lawmaker’s true value is difficult to ascertain because most of his assets are held by his wife or children, requiring less detail.
McCain himself holds a checking account worth at least $50,000, as well as money market account worth less than $15,000. The Senator also lists several pending book deals.
The Senator reports $2.05 million in liabilities.
22. Rep. Gary Miller (R-Calif.) $13.26 million
Although Miller’s wealth dipped slightly in 2008, dropping about 8 percent or just more than $1 million, he maintains his largest asset: 382 acres of vacant land in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., valued at $5 million to $25 million.
The Californian also owns vacant land in Rialto, Calif., valued at $1 million to $5 million, and two Diamond Bar, Calif., properties valued at $500,000 to $1 million each.
Miller’s other holdings included investments of at least $1 million each in Capitol Source Bank, Countrywide Bank, Indymac Bank and Vineyard Bank. He also keeps at least $1 million in Pomona Bank & Trust 1st Federal, although that account has dropped from its $5 million to $25 million value in 2007.
The Speaker’s reported wealth plunged by $6.18 million from her minimum reported value in 2007.
Pelosi’s wealth is primarily tied to her husband’s real estate investments. In Norden, Calif., she lists a town house worth at least $1 million, with another real estate investment in Napa, Calif., worth at least $500,000.
The lawmaker’s greatest asset is a vineyard in St. Helena, Calif., valued at $5 million to $25 million.
Pelosi’s portfolio underwent its most prominent change with the partial sale of Apple Computer Inc. stock. Pelosi’s previous holdings of at least $5 million in Apple dropped down to at least $1 million.
The Californian listed $12.75 million in debts, with mortgage liabilities accounting for a majority of that debt.
The Tennessee Senator remains financially steady, reporting a slight 2 percent dip in his minimum net worth in 2008.
Alexander reported the sale of at least $1.5 million in stock of Bright Horizons Family Solutions, a national workplace child care services provider. The sale included stock Alexander previously valued at $500,000 to $1 million, as well as stocks held by his wife previously valued at “over $1 million.”
The Senator continues to own $5 million to $25 million of stock in Processed Foods Corp., a Knoxville-based company where he served on the board prior to his election to the Senate in 2002. His wife also owns “over $1 million” in company stock.
The Alexanders also list numerous real estate holdings, including commercial buildings and undeveloped properties, such as a Nantucket, Mass., plot that Alexander values at $1 million to $5 million, which his wife also lists as an asset valued at “over $1 million.”
25. Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-Texas) $11.89 million
The Texan bucked the trend of severe portfolio losses in 2008. Marchant managed to increase his holdings by at least $1.4 million in 2008.
Bonita Land and Cattle partnership continues to be Marchant’s largest asset, valued at a minimum of $5 million.
Another of the lawmaker’s main investments includes at least $1 million with the limited partnership Ashwood Court Inc. held in Marken Interests.
Marchant’s other investments in Marken Interests come in at more than $5 million, including at least $1 million in a First Dallas Securities Hodges Managed trust and another minimum $1 million investment in 73 acres in Fort Worth, Texas. Marchant also holds at least $1 million in a separate stock and bond account with First Dallas Securities.
Marchant attached more than 1,400 pages to his financial disclosure form when filing this year. The pages primarily detail income from the lawmaker’s various trusts and partnerships. However, it is impossible to match up the precise values of the assets from the attachments.
The Texan listed $2.81 million in liabilities, including two mortgages each valued at $1 million on land in Texas.
26. Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) $11.85 million
The Maine Senator’s fortunes are tied to the Pittsburgh-based Education Management Corp., where her husband, ex-Maine Gov. John McKernan (R), serves as chairman of the board of directors.
Snowe’s spouse owns Education Management stock valued at $5 million to $25 million, as well as another $1 million to $5 million in an Education Management stock option agreement.
The Senator also lists a joint money market account valued at $1 million to $5 million.
Snowe, who tallied $3 million less than last year’s financial disclosure report, a 21 percent drop, reported the sale of equity funds in 2008, including one transaction valued at $1 million to $5 million.
The Montanan dropped one slot in this year’s rankings, reflecting the modest loss to his minimum net worth.
Rehberg’s wealth is primarily held in real estate. The lawmaker owns two rental properties in Montana valued at a combined minimum of $350,000. He also holds at least $11.5 million in several farm and ranch properties.
An investment in Lenhardt Farm dropped to the minimum $500,000 category from the previous year’s value of at least $1 million.
Rehberg’s debts totaled $1.3 million for development, construction and agriculture loans.
Stock losses deflated Sensenbrenner’s fortunes in 2008, accounting for most of a $2.43 million drop over the previous year.
The Wisconsin lawmaker reported $2.2 million less in his stock holdings — which totaled nearly $4.5 million in 2008 — with significant losses from drugmakers Pfizer, Merck & Co., and Abbott Laboratories as well as from corporations Exxon Mobil and General Electric.
Sensenbrenner, who files a detailed report of his net worth in addition to the standard financial disclosure report, also owns several homes, including an Alexandria, Va., residence valued at $1.5 million, a Wisconsin condominium valued at $155,000 and an interest in a Wisconsin home valued at $1 million. He also lists $7,800 in traveler’s checks.
Small but significant drops in several stock accounts bled $2 million from Harkin’s minimum net worth in 2008.
The downturn includes one money market account previously listed at “over $1 million,” which Harkin reports now contains $250,000 to $500,000.
Nearly all of the assets listed by the Iowa Senator remain in his wife’s name, while those ascribed to Harkin alone or joint ownership have a minimum value of $70,000.
Harkin’s wife, Ruth Harkin, owns “over $1 million” in stock in United Technologies Corp., where she previously served as senior vice president for international affairs and government relations. She also serves on the board of ConocoPhillips and AbitibiBowater Inc.
Upton was another rare Member to see a larger net worth in 2008. The Michigan lawmaker increased his wealth by a minimum of $860,000 last year.
Upton’s largest investment is with a family trust valued at $5 million to $25 million. The same family trust lists a holding of at least $1 million in cash.
One of the lawmaker’s major holdings includes an investment with the Michigan-based Whirlpool Appliances, which is in the Congressman’s district and was founded by the Upton family. Upton lists at least $1 million in investments with Whirlpool while the family trust invests another $1 million in the company.
Upton’s other major assets include $1 million minimum investment in Hilliard-Lyons Government Fund Inc.
According to the financial disclosure form Kaufman filed following his appointment to the Senate, the Delaware Senator and his wife maintain broad stock portfolios, as well as $1.87 million invested in Delaware state and local municipal bonds.
The couple also list a combined $1.78 million in certificates of deposits and bank accounts totaling nearly $475,000.
Kaufman maintains ownership of the Kaufman Mayo Foundation, which has as its largest asset a $116,000 investment in Abbott Laboratories, a medical and pharmaceutical manufacturer. Lynne Kaufman also reports a separate $639,000 holding in Abbott Laboratories under her own investment account.
33. Rep. Chris Lee (R-N.Y.) $7.39 million
The freshman lawmaker’s wealth significantly dropped from the minimum worth he reported as a candidate. In 2008, Lee reported a decrease in his net worth of at least $3.81 million.
A trust listed under the Congressman’s name fell from a minimum value of $5 million to $3.36 million. Lee also sold off numerous assets in his personal investment account, nearly halving its minimum value from $2 million to $1 million.
Combined with his wife and dependent child, Jonathan, the New York lawmaker listed more than $1.5 million in Fidelity money market accounts. Lee listed individual ownership of a new Fidelity money market account valued at a minimum of $1 million.
Lee’s charitable trust fell from a minimum value of $3.40 million in 2007 to a minimum value of $2.30 million.
He also invests a minimum of $1.5 million in Summit Rock limited partnership and at least $800,000 in a federated money market account.
Price’s major investment account, a Fidelity account valued at $1.5 million, lost about $319,000 in 2008, according to financial statements the Congressman submitted along with his forms.
But those financial statements also allow for a more detailed accounting of his holdings than last year. As estimated in the ranges reported on the House financial disclosure form itself, Price’s minimum net worth would drop to about $5.8 million.
The Georgian’s other assets include a Minnesota Life Annuities insurance fund valued at $1 million to $5 million, as well as real estate holdings including a vacant lot Price owns with his wife in St. Simons, Ga., valued at $1 million to $5 million.
Many of Doggett’s stock accounts lost value last year, most dramatically his holdings in Whole Foods Market Inc., which dropped from the $500,000 to $1 million category in 2007 to the $100,000 to $250,000 range in 2008. This decline matches the drop in the high-end retailer’s stock, which was trading at about $40 per share at the end of 2007 and about $9 per share at the end of 2008. Good news for the Doggett family — Whole Foods is back up to about $28 per share.
Doggett also owns a variety of Texas real estate, including a Travis County home valued at $1 million to $5 million, which brings in $50,000 to $100,000 in rent annually.
36. Rep. Steven Kagen (D-Wis.) $7.10 million
The majority of Kagen’s assets are tied up in bonds. The lawmaker — who founded Kagen Allergy Clinics before his election to the House — also lists one money market account, Tamarack Tax Free Money Market, which comes in as his largest asset at a minimum $1 million value.
37. Rep. John Spratt (D-S.C.) $6.98 million
The bulk of Spratt’s wealth comes from an 800-acre swath of farmland in Fort Mill, S.C., valued at $5 million to $25 million. According to his financial disclosure, Spratt leases portions of the land for use as cattle pasture, horse pasture and strawberry fields.
Spratt’s fortunes dipped slightly in 2008, in part because he no longer lists his York, S.C., home, valued in previous reports at a minimum of $250,000. Disclosure rules require that Members report any real estate that generates income — renting a basement or garage apartment in their home, for example — but they are not otherwise required to list their personal residences.
Spratt also increased his debt with the addition of a new $100,000 mortgage on his York home, bringing his liabilities to a combined $570,000.
The South Carolina lawmaker’s disclosure also reveals modest income from his wife’s sale of her artwork, which increased to $2,150 in 2008, more than triple the previous year.
The Nebraska Senator’s money is largely bonds and certificates of deposit and therefore changed little from last year.
Nelson owns $500,000 to $1 million in Berkshire Hathaway stock and lists an additional $1 million to $5 million in the company’s stock held by his spouse. He keeps between $500,000 and $1 million in an Ameritas Life IRA and his wife lists $500,000 to $1 million in a Principal Life Insurance IRA Annuity.
The Senator’s assets also include a development property in Springfield, Neb., valued at $500,000 to $1 million, as well as stock valued at least $500,000 in Behlen Manufacturing Co., where he serves on the board but is not compensated.
Linder converted a portion of his portfolio to farmland, with the addition of a Myrtle, Miss., farm.
The Georgia lawmaker and his wife bought the farm in September 2008, and each lists an investment in the property valued at $1 million to $5 million. Linder and his wife also added stock in Nuveen NIO in December, with each investment valued at between $500,000 and $1 million.
In the meantime, the value of two money market accounts, listed separately for Linder and his spouse, both dropped from a minimum value of $1 million to a minimum $500,000.
Linder also owns a “note receivable” from Grayling Industries, the Georgia manufacturer of plastic packaging that he sold in 2007 for a capital gain of more than $5 million, valued at $1 million to $5 million. In addition, his spouse owns at least $600,000 in Mississippi timberland.
The freshman Senator stakes her fortunes in Florida. Hagan and her husband list a combined investment of at least $5.5 million in commercial warehouses in Lakeland, Fla.
In addition, the Hagans claim extensive stock investments and North Carolina-based bonds, many in the ranges of $1,001 to $15,000 and $15,000 to $50,000. One of Hagan’s largest assets, her husband’s investment in Lincoln National Corp., a holding company made up of insurance, financial planning and advisory companies, decreased by half its reported value in 2008, when it shifted from the “over $1 million” category to a minimum value of $500,000.
Hagan lists nearly $3.2 million in liabilities, including 17 mortgages issued by Florida and North Carolina lenders ranging from at least $15,001 to at least $500,001, as well as several “lines of credit.”
Foster continues to invest a majority of his assets in Electronic Theatre Controls, the theatre light company he co-founded with his brother in 1975. The largest asset the Congressman holds is with a promissory note “for payments arising from the sale of interest in Electronic Theatre Controls, Inc.,” coming in at $5 million to $25 million. He also holds an additional promissory note in the business valued at a minimum of $500,000.
A significant change to the lawmaker’s portfolio included the sale of his remaining ownership interest in ETC Holdings — which owns the factory’s building — that was valued at $1 million to $5 million. He sold his share in a transaction valued at $500,000 to $1 million, according to his report.
The lawmaker’s other investments in different savings, checking and money market accounts amount to at least $1 million.
Isakson suffered losses across his stock portfolio, shedding nearly $2 million from his minimum net worth.
Among his losses, an investment in Synovus, a financial services company, decreased from at least $1 million to a minimum of $250,000.
Isakson also reported the sale of an apartment complex in Marietta, Ga., through Cinnamon Ridge LLC. In his previous disclosure, the property was valued at $100,000 to $250,000, but in 2008 the property sold for $1,000 to $15,000 and made no profit.
The Georgia Senator’s remaining real estate holdings include a Marietta home valued at a minimum of $500,000, as well as 12 acres in Rabun, Ga., valued at “over $1 million,” as well as condominiums in Georgia and Washington, D.C., each valued at least $250,000.
His only reported liability is a home equity line of credit valued at a minimum of $15,000.
Griffith, who was an oncologist and businessman before his election to the House in the 2008 cycle, lost at least $1.33 million since he reported his worth in a 2007 candidate financial disclosure.
Griffith’s wife owns a $500,000 farm in Madison County, Ala., with other real estate holdings throughout the state valued at more than $1.5 million. The Congressman holds at least $1 million in a Washington Mutual fund, with the majority of his other assets tied up in funds and trusts.
Prior to his election last year, Griffith sold off investments in AIG, Exxon Mobil and Goldman Sachs.
The lawmaker lists $1.35 million in debts on his disclosure forms.
Nearly all of Bennet’s assets are rolled into a single U.S. treasury cash reserve account worth $5 million to $25 million.
Bennet, a former executive at Anschutz Investment Co. prior to moving to the public sector, apparently sold off dozens of stocks prior to taking office, though his disclosure form does not detail transaction dates for these sales.
Senators are not required to detail transactions made prior to the start of their terms in office. Bennet was appointed to the Senate in January to replace now-Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
He lists no liabilities.
46. Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) $5.91 million
Despite a lagging real estate market elsewhere, Neugebauer’s Washington, D.C., property inched over $1 million in fair market value in 2008, pushing it up a notch from the $500,000 to $1 million category it occupied the previous year. But according to D.C. property tax records, the home is expected to drop back to $957,000 in 2010.
The former developer maintains a portfolio with numerous real estate holdings and partnerships, as well as $1.4 million in bonds in multiple states.
Neugebauer also reported buying and selling U.S. Treasury Bonds in transactions valued at a combined $1 million to $5 million. He reported owning no bonds at the end of 2008, but he did earn $5,000 to $15,000.
The Texas lawmaker also reported the purchase of a “watercraft” by Empowerment Enterprises LLC, owned jointly with his spouse, valued at $500,000 to $1 million.
His debts include a mortgage of at least $500,000 on his Washington, D.C., property and a revolving charge account of at least $15,000.
Speier’s portfolio is anchored by California real estate valued at a combined minimum $3 million. Speier owns rental properties in Burlingame, San Francisco and Sacramento that earned at least $180,000 in rental income in 2008.
In addition, her husband owns stock in a California investment firm valued at $1 million to $5 million.
Although he is likely among the wealthiest Members, limited information in the Congressional financial disclosures lands Kohl in the penultimate of Roll Call’s annual evaluation.
To determine the richest lawmakers, Roll Call examines the minimum value of total assets reported by each Member on their annual financial disclosures and subtracts the minimum liabilities. The survey focuses solely on information made available through the disclosure process and does not evaluate outside data.
As the owner of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, Kohl estimates the value of the team at “over $50 million,” the maximum category provided on disclosure forms. However, Forbes estimated in December 2008 that the team — the least valuable in the NBA — is worth $278 million, not including any liabilities.
Using that figure, Kohl’s minimum net worth would be closer to $234 million.
Instead, Kohl’s liabilities to the team, including at least $80 million in debts to the NBA, largely cancel out his assets as listed in his disclosure.
Kohl also lists a blind trust established in 1989 that is valued at more than $50 million.
The Nevada lawmaker claimed a minimum net worth of $8.37 million in 2007, but it dropped by almost $3 million in her latest report.
While other Members with declining fortunes reported stock losses and the like, Berkley’s losses appear to be the result of a change in reporting style.
Although Berkley previously provided detailed financial documents of her investment accounts, she opted to use the broad ranges to report those values in 2008. One investment account was valued at $3.5 million in 2007 but is now listed at $1 million to $5 million, and therefore it is worth $1 million in Roll Call’s 2008 assessment.
Jointly with her spouse, Berkley owns two properties in Washington, D.C., one valued at a minimum of $500,000 and another at $1 million to $5 million.
But the vast majority of the lawmaker’s wealth comes from investments held by her husband, Larry Lehrner, a Nevada physician.
Berkley’s spouse holds at least a $1 million investment in RRT, a company that “provides dialysis services at four dialysis units in the Las Vegas, Nev., area.” Berkley’s husband also invests at least $250,000 in another dialysis service company based out of Nevada, as well as smaller investments with Nevada dialysis units throughout the state.
Another substantial investment by the lawmaker’s husband includes at least a $1 million investment with Salomon Smith Barney.
Her husband also has IRA with Morgan Stanley with a value of at least $500,000 and holds a number of lesser real estate investments in the state.
Correction: Sept. 16, 2009
The list should have included Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who reported a minimum net worth of $6.15 million in his most recent financial disclosure report.
The Kentucky Senator reported two new money market funds in 2008, including one valued at between $5 million and $25 million. A notation on McConnell’s financial disclosure form indicates the investment funds are a “gift from filer’s relative.”
“That was a gift from Secretary Chao’s father in April 2008 to the Senator and the Secretary, in memory of her mother, who passed away in August 2007,” McConnell spokesman Don Stewart said in an e-mail. McConnell is married to former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao.
In his previous report, which covered calendar year 2007, McConnell reported a net worth of approximately $3 million.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.