On his financial disclosure form for 1987, Gingrich reported that he and his wife each earned royalties from the publisher of $5,000 to $15,000 that year. The Congressman earned another $26,000 in honorariums for speeches that year, but he donated about $4,000 to charity in keeping with the limits on outside income that were in place at the time. In 1990, Gingrich earned $61,000 in honorariums — Congressional salaries were then about $97,000 — but was required by House rules to donate about $40,000 of his speaking fees to charity.
By the late 1990s, Gingrich was earning hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in book royalties on top of his Congressional salary. In 1995, when he became Speaker, his Congressional salary rose to $171,500, and his disclosure form for that year showed an array of other financial interests.
Gingrich reported earning $479,000 in book royalties and $2,000 for speaking to the Association of American Medical Colleges. He and his wife had several investment accounts and a savings account at South Trust Bank worth $100,000 to $250,000. At the end of the year, Marianne bought another money market account worth more than $100,000. As Speaker, Gingrich also was receiving a monthly check of just more than $2,000 to defray the costs of “leadership official expenses.”
In all, Gingrich’s income that year was about $675,000.
Gingrich had become a prosperous man during his time in Congress, but by the time he left in 1998, he was not a financial titan. His last financial disclosure form listed assets worth no more than $606,000, and he had a number of financial burdens dragging him down, including a $300,000 penalty assessed against him by the House Ethics Committee for an improper book deal and a second divorce on the way.
But as a former Speaker still considered a leading intellectual of the right, Gingrich proceeded to build an empire as a paid public thinker. The Washington Post reported last week that Gingrich’s web of enterprises ranging from a health care think tank to a documentary production company “generated close to $100 million in revenue over the past decade.”
The financial disclosure form Gingrich filed this summer as a presidential candidate reflects that prosperity.
The former Congressman now lists assets worth a minimum of $7.3 million — which does not include homes or other non-income-producing property — and millions more in income. His dividends from Gingrich Productions for the year before becoming a presidential candidate were just shy of $2.5 million, and his family-run talent agency paid him another $72,000. He reports no liabilities.
From left, Lisa Peng, daughter of Peng Ming, Grace Ge Geng, daughter of Gao Zhisheng, and Ti-Anna Wang, daughter of Wang Bingzhang, hold pictures of their imprisoned fathers during a House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations hearing in the Rayburn House Office Building titled “Their Daughters Appeal to Beijing: ‘Let Our Fathers Go!’”
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.