House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) saw the reported value of his personal assets nearly double last year, and the only thing that may prevent him from claiming the title as the richest Member of Congress is $75 million in loans he secured in 2010.
One of the reasons his minimum assets have increased is because he broke out properties last year into separate companies.
Last summer, Issa filed a financial disclosure form indicating that his net worth — the minimum value of his assets minus the minimum value of his liabilities — was $164.7 million.
But this year’s disclosure form, which Issa filed Tuesday, reports total assets worth at least $295 million, almost double what he reported the year before.
Issa’s new form displays some of the quirks of the Congressional reporting process that serve to mask Member’s actual wealth. Last year, Issa’s largest asset was DEI LLC, the property management company he created after he sold an electronics business he owned before coming to Congress. DEI was listed with a value of “over $50 million.”
This year, Issa notes that DEI shifted 11 properties into separate limited liability companies. They collectively have a minimum value of $38.2 million, while DEI’s value dropped to a range of $25 million to $50 million. However, the true value of the properties could be tens of millions more.
Issa also reported creating an insurance company called Directed Insurance with a value of $1 million to $5 million, with Issa as the president.
Last year, Issa had reported having only one liability, a $1 million line of credit from Merrill Lynch. But this year, he reports two business lines of credit, one worth more than $50 million and the other worth $25 million to $50 million. Issa lists these loans as “personal notes” and explains that these loans were “provided through a business line of credit from Merrill Lynch secured with personal assets.”
The loans reduce Issa's total minimum net worth to $220 million, still nearly $60 million more than last year's total.
Issa was chairing a hearing Wednesday morning, and his office could not immediately provide comment on the chairman’s disclosure forms.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.