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Roll Call’s annual attempt to rank the riches of Members of Congress is hampered by one fundamental flaw: It is based on the lawmakers’ financial disclosure forms, which are extraordinarily unreliable sources of information. The disclosure rules allow Members to report assets in broad categories, so there is no way to tell the difference between a $20 million investment and a $5 million investment. The top category on the Members’ forms is “over $50 million,” so it is impossible to accurately account for anything worth more than that — like a professional sports team, for example. There is also a gaping loophole for assets owned by the Members’ spouse or dependent children; anything worth more than $1 million in value can be reported as “over $1 million.” There is no way to tell whether that is $1.2 million or $1.2 billion.
Since senators are only required to list their personal finances in broad ranges - $250,001 to $500,000, for example - it is difficult to determine a member's precise net worth. But previous surveys have shown that nearly half of the 100 senators are millionaires
The Tennessee Republican, a former Nashville heart-lung transplant surgeon whose family founded HCA — The Healthcare Company, one of the nation's largest for-profit hospital chains, reported blind trusts in the $6.5 million to $31 million range. He also said, in the forms required of all legislators every year, that his wife Karyn and three sons each had blind trusts that earned more than $1 million apiece.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., received more than $1.15 million as partial payment for her memoirs. But that sum was overshadowed by the $9.5 million that her husband, former President Bill Clinton earned making speeches around the world for as much as $400,000 a speech.
Daschle's deputy, Democratic whip Harry Reid, D-Nev., listed 160 acres in Bullhead City, Ariz., worth $500,000 to $1 million and Nevada land holdings and mining claims worth $786,000 to $1.675 million. His investments from municipal bonds and other sources, earned him $29,116-$85,050.
As always among the top millionaires in the Senate was Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., who has a family trust fund — worth $8 million to $45 million — set up in 1936 when he was four years old by his late father Joseph P. Kennedy.He also has two blind trusts in his name valued at $1,001,001 to $5,015,000 and reported unearned income of $2 million to $13 million from family and blind trusts.
Democratic presidential candidate Bob Graham said he and his wife have assets worth between $7.7 million and $31.6 million.
The forms do not list the independent assets and earnings of spouses. Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, a Democratic presidential contender, reported no unearned income but his wife Teresa Heinz Kerry, heir to the Heinz food fortune, is estimated to be worth more than $500 million.Kerry lists a Dutch painting owned jointly with his wife worth $250,000-$500,000.
The second-ranked Senate Republican, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, also reported that his wife, Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, was the major breadwinner. She listed a Vanguard 500 Index fund worth $500,000-$1 million, another fund worth $100,000-$250,000 and a house worth $500,000-$1 million that the couple rents for $5,000-$15,000.
Sen. John Edwards, D.N.C., another presidential candidate, reported a blind trust worth $5 million-$25 million. The former trial lawyer claimed income of $100,000 to $1 million on that trust.
Originally posted by David9176
reply to post by highfreq
What I'd love to see:
Make it mandatory to give up ALL prior wealth and income to charity when taking any congressional office. They should only make 40 to 50k a year. They should not be allowed any other income other than this for their entire stay in office. It could be adjusted for inflation of course..which btw IS COMING. They should be living like the average person...doing just good enough to make ends meet.