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New Members Are Among Richest in Congress

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Freshman Sen. Richard Blumenthal's wealth tops the list of the richest Members of Congress at $64 million, thanks in part to his wife, Cynthia.

A number of Members contacted by Roll Call ó ranging from the wealthy to those apparently in the red ó said they planned to amend their reports to add assets, adjust values or correct liabilities. Such changes can dramatically shift a Memberís wealth on the annual filings, even when there is no change in their actual finances. 

Other wealthy freshmen include Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.), with an estimated minimum net worth of close to $12 million; Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.), with a minimum net worth of nearly $11 million; and Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-N.Y.), with a minimum net worth of about $9.5 million. 

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Reps. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) and Bill Flores (R-Texas) each report a minimum net worth of about $8 million. Pearce, who previously served in the House from 2003 to 2008, landed at No. 31 on Roll Callís list of the 50 richest Members of Congress in 2008 with a similar fortune. 

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who served in the House from 1993 to 2006, has also previously appeared on Roll Callís annual survey of the richest Members. His most recent financial disclosure shows a minimum net worth of about $6 million. 

Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) reports a minimum net worth of about $7 million.

Reps. David McKinley (R-W.Va.) and Jon Runyan (R-N.J.) are also possible contenders for Congressí most exclusive club, both reporting a minimum net worth of at least $5 million. 

The threshold for entry into the 50 richest Members of Congress in 2010 was a minimum reported net worth of about $5.5 million. 

A Roll Call evaluation of the wealth in the House in 2009 found that 125 lawmakers reported a minimum net worth of $1 million or more. That same year, 50 Senators of 98 surveyed also reported a minimum net worth of $1 million or more. In total, about one-third of the Members of the 111th Congress reported assets of at least $1 million on their 2009 financial disclosures. 

Member wealth is calculated based on the financial disclosure forms they filed either as candidates in spring 2010 or, in the case of some freshman Senators, as Members of the House. Each of the reports includes assets or debts from calendar year 2009, and in most cases a portion of 2010. 

Both Congressional candidates and lawmakers are required to file annual financial disclosure forms detailing their personal assets ó including bank accounts, investment accounts and retirement accounts ó as well as related liabilities such as credit card debt or other loans. 

But the forms often do not present a complete picture of a Memberís personal wealth.

While Members must generally report assets that generate income such as rental homes, they are not compelled to disclose other assets, including their own homes or vacation properties, that do not generate income.

Members are not required to list the specific value of assets or debts; they utilize wide-ranging categories such as $1,001 to $15,000 and $1 million to $5 million.

Roll Call determines a lawmakerís minimum net worth by adding the minimum reported value of each asset ó for example, an item listed in the $1 million to $5 million category is counted as $1 million ó and subtracting the minimum value of any liabilities. 

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