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10 'Poorest' Members of Congress Owe Big

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Valadao is the “poorest” member of Congress.

A family business in food-processing that filed for bankruptcy because of the recent economic recession, according to the Texas Democrat, has left him with an arbitration award of at least $1 million owed to a creditor, an additional $250,000 in business debt, and $35,000 in city and county property taxes overdue from 2010.

6. Steve Israel: -$795,000

Israel has a mixture of mortgages, credit card debt and assumed student loans from his children that make up more than $800,000 in liabilities. The New York Democrat also has a small bank account worth less than $1,000 and a retirement account worth more than $15,000.

7. Mike Quigley: -$765,000

The Illinois Democrat has a mix of mortgages and credit card debt totaling more than $800,000. But he also has a college savings plan for his children and a pension left over from his service on the Cook County Board of Commissioners.

8. Joseph Crowley: -$762,000

Democratic House Caucus Vice Chairman Crowley has $850,000 in liabilities from two mortgages and a home equity line of credit. The New York Democrat counts a small retirement plan and some college savings plans for his children under his assets.

9. Pedro R. Pierluisi: -$674,000

The resident commissioner for Puerto Rico’s wife’s consulting firm is listed as an asset worth at least $1 million, but some multimillion-dollar mortgages on his San Juan homes drops Pierluisi’s net worth into negative territory.

10. Chaka Fattah: -$650,000

The Pennsylvania Democrat has $800,000 in mortgages and home equity loans for three properties in the greater Philadelphia area. But he also has a state retirement account worth at least $50,000 and GE common stock worth at least $100,000.

While these members appear to be in the most dire straits on paper, an alternative calculation would peg the seven members who report having no assets as the poorest. These seven members are: Democrats Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, Gwen Moore of Wisconsin, John Conyers Jr. of Michigan and Gregory W. Meeks of New York, and Republicans Rick Crawford of Arkansas, Duncan Hunter of California and Louie Gohmert of Texas. These members do not have enough liabilities to drop into the 10 poorest, but their net worths range from -$15,000 (Sinema) to -$610,000 (Gohmert).

Democrat Debbie Stabenow of Michigan is the poorest member of the Senate, with a net worth of -$585,000. Fellow Democrat Mark Pryor of Arkansas is the senator with the smallest amount of assets; he has a bank account worth $1,000 to $15,000 and one for his children worth less than $1,000.

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