50 Richest in Congress: Issa Still #1

50 Richest in Congress: Issa Still #1

Rep. Darrell Issa (R- California) is the wealthiest member of Congress for a second straight year, with a minimum net worth of $327.25 million, according to Roll Call‘s annual “50 Richest Members of Congress” report.

Issa, who made his fortune by founding car alarm manufacturer Directed Electronics with his wife in 1982, reportedly lists among his assets seven high-yield bonds worth over $50 million each. $50 million is the maximum disclosure amount for bonds, so in reality, the bonds could be worth far more.

Members of Congress needed a net worth of at least $7.4 million to crack the top 50 this year, up from $6.4 million in 2013, according to Roll Call. Like Issa, 43 others made the list for a second straight year, while six dropped off the list: Democrat Bill Foster and Republicans Steve Daines, Blake Farenthold, Bill Flores, Robert Pittenger, and Fred Upton failed to make the cut this year.

Here are the highlights from Roll Call‘s list:

  • Rep. John Delaney‘s (D – Maryland) net worth increased a staggering 64% since last year to $111.92 million, moving him from #6 to #3 on the list and making him Congress’ wealthiest Democrat.
  • At 39 years old, Rep. Jared Polis (D – Colorado) is the youngest member of Congress to crack the Top 10, with a minimum net worth of $73.56 million. In addition to blind trusts and real estate holdings, Polis has a stake in the ride-sharing company Uber worth at least $500,000.
  • Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D – California) moved from #15 to #14 on the list, in part because of her husband’s stock market investments; Paul Pelosi’s stake in Comcast doubled from $250,000 to $500,000 between 2012 and 2013, according to Roll Call.
  • Sen. John McCain (R – Arizona) jumped from #57 to #27 with a minimum net worth $15.17 million, due almost entirely to his wife’s activities at Hensley & Co., one of the largest Anheuser-Busch distributors in the country.
  • Rep. Curt Clawson (R – Florida) is new to the list at #29, with a minimum net worth of $13.53 million. In addition to real estate holdings in Florida, Michigan, Illinois, and the Caribbean, Clawson owns a $250,000 stake in Italian soccer team AS Roma.

Frederick Hill, a spokesman for Issa, told the Orange County Register that there is little of value to be gleaned from the list.

“It’s a media obsession based on inexact tables,” Hill said. “Interpretations of who is the wealthiest, a ranking, is not what the forms are intended for. The public interest is in seeing where [the money] is invested, not seeing the exact value of particular investments.”

Kathy Kiely, managing editor of the governmental transparency-minded Sunlight Foundation, told the Orange County Register the report may not go far enough.

“[There are] very broad categories of value and a number of things are exempt,” Kiely said. “I don’t think it inspires in constituents that we have a very accurate accounting of the financial interests of lawmakers. That’s just part of the contract, that’s part of the deal and lawmakers should be more forthcoming than the current law requires.”


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