BEIRUT

World

Half of U.S. Congress are millionaires: study

The US flag flies over the US Capitol October 16, 2013 in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/ Karen BLEIER

WASHINGTON: For the first time ever, half of US Congressmen, both Democrats and Republicans, are millionaires, according to figures from a group that examines the influence of money on politics.

At least 268 of 534 lawmakers currently elected to the House of Representatives and the Senate had a net worth of $1.0 million or more in 2012, according to disclosures filed by all members of Congress.

For a few, that figure went into the hundreds of millions -- and the median net worth was just over a million, at $1,008,767, according to analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics at OpenSecrets.org.

Median figures for Republicans and Democrats in the "millionaires club" are nearly equal, with Democrats edging just a bit ahead with $1.04 million compared to $1.0 million for Republicans.

But in both parties, the average has risen from a year earlier, from $990,000 for Democrats and $907,000 for Republicans. That year, some 48 percent of lawmakers were in the millionaires club.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics' analysis, the wealthiest Congressman was Representative Darrell Issa, a Republican from California, who made a fortune with a car alarm system he created. They calculated his net worth as averaging $464 million during 2012.

His least wealthy colleague was David Valadao, also a Republican from California, whose net worth was in the red -- a negative $12.1 million -- thanks to debts related to his family dairy farm.

"Members of Congress have long been far wealthier than the typical American," the center said, but noting a majority of "millionaires represents a watershed moment at a time when lawmakers are debating issues like unemployment benefits, food stamps and the minimum wage."

Even as polls "show how dissatisfied Americans are with Congress overall," said center director Sheila Krumholz, "there's been no change in our appetite to elect affluent politicians to represent our concerns in Washington."

She said it was "undeniable" that wealth is necessary "to run financially viable campaigns."

"And the most successful fundraisers are politicians who swim in those circles to begin with," she added.

 

Recommended

Advertisement

Comments

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus
Summary

For the first time ever, half of US Congressmen, both Democrats and Republicans, are millionaires, according to figures from a group that examines the influence of money on politics.

At least 268 of 534 lawmakers currently elected to the House of Representatives and the Senate had a net worth of $1.0 million or more in 2012, according to disclosures filed by all members of Congress.

Median figures for Republicans and Democrats in the "millionaires club" are nearly equal, with Democrats edging just a bit ahead with $1.04 million compared to $1.0 million for Republicans.

But in both parties, the average has risen from a year earlier, from $990,000 for Democrats and $907,000 for Republicans.


Advertisement

FOLLOW THIS ARTICLE

Interested in knowing more about this story?

Click here