More than one-third of the freshman lawmakers in the 112th Congress are millionaires, and as many as 15 are likely to rank among the richest Members of Congress this year, according to a Roll Call analysis of financial disclosure records.
Individual wealth varies widely among the new House and Senate lawmakers, from a handful who report deficits of up to several hundred thousand dollars to Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who tops the list with a minimum net worth of about $64 million.
At least 40 freshmen reported a minimum net worth of $1 million or more. Among those lawmakers, at least 15 have a minimum net worth of $5 million or more, likely placing them among the 50 richest Members of Congress.
Roll Call’s survey includes 112 freshman lawmakers, including the five Members elected in November but sworn in to their respective chambers during the 111th Congress.
Among the 15 wealthiest members of the freshman class, four are Senators and 11 are House lawmakers. Blumenthal is the only Democrat.
Blumenthal’s wealth stems in part from his wife, Cynthia Blumenthal, who is the daughter of New York real estate magnate Peter Malkin.
The Senator lists numerous real estate investments, including “over $1 million” in both the Empire State Building Associates, which holds a 114-year master lease on the New York landmark, and “over $1 million” in the Empire State Building Co., which operates the building.
The value of those assets could be significantly higher, however. Members are permitted to value assets owned wholly by their spouses or dependents in a special category that states only “over $1 million.”
Also near the top of the list are Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Ohio), with a minimum net worth of about $34 million; Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), with a minimum net worth of almost $29 million; and Rep. Rick Berg (R-N.D.), with a minimum net worth close to $21 million.
Renacci, who established and later sold a nursing home business, reports five investment accounts worth a combined $29 million.
His diverse portfolio also includes investments in nursing home administration, a concert promoter, Harley-Davidson dealerships, real estate and the JetHawks, a minor league baseball team in Lancaster, Calif.
Black’s largest investment is her husband’s stake in the Nashville, Tenn.-based Aegis Sciences Corp., valued at $25 million to $50 million.
Black also reports a half-dozen real estate properties under Ebon Falcon, valued at a combined minimum of $8.5 million.
Berg is likewise heavily invested in real estate, including apartment buildings and commercial properties.
Lois Lerner, director of exempt organizations for the IRS, arrives for a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the investigation of the IRS' targeting of political groups. Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment right to not testify and caused a protest from some committee members when she offered an opening statement and engaged in dialogue with members before invoking the right.
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