November 29, 2022

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All members of Congress in both the House and Senate earn the same annual salary of $174,000, which is not all that exceptional considering that to live comfortably in Washington D.C. you need to earn a baseline salary of around $144,000. And that number is increasing every year.
Some framers of the Constitution assumed most senators would likely come from wealthy families, and as a result, didn’t require a salary at all. For a brief period of time under the Articles of Confederation, states could actually suspend their congressional representative’s pay if they were dissatisfied with their work.
Despite officially earning what some might consider a relatively modest wage (compared to, for example, executives at S&P 500 companies), some members of Congress are estimated to be worth tens of millions of dollars, with several inching closer to nine-figure net worths every year. Some came from wealthy families, while others married into them. Some made their fortunes in private sector careers before entering politics. But what the richest all have in common is vastly diversified portfolios of stock options, government securities, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, and real property—which is more extensive than just real estate—among other assets.
Suspicions of insider trading, in which a lawmaker’s job makes them privy to information withheld from the general public and therefore able to act in their own best financial interest, led to the 2012 Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act. The STOCK Act requires that all stock and securities transactions be disclosed in full within 45 days of the transaction, as well as the disclosure of any asset either worth more than $1,000 at the close of the calendar year or that generated an income of more than $200 during the course of the year.
Still, ethical dilemmas abound. Information that doesn’t technically qualify as inside information and the laws associated with insider trading can still give lawmakers an unfair advantage in the market. A 2022 New York Times analysis of the Capitol Trades database created by 2iQ Research found that 3,700 trades disclosed by lawmakers of both parties between 2019 and 2021 posed potential conflicts of interest between their professional responsibilities, such as the committees they reside on, and their personal finances. Moreover, several members of Congress, many of whom are on the following list, were recently found to have violated the STOCK Act, according to a November 2022 Insider report.
Using a database compiled by Insider from congressional disclosure reports, Stacker ranked current Democratic politicians in Congress by their total estimated net worth. Estimated values were pulled from documents uploaded by each congressional member’s office for 2020, sometimes handwritten, and reference the low end of the estimated range of value for each asset. For some elected officials on this list, the assets of their spouses and dependents are included in their financial estimates, as such holdings bear relevance to that official’s accumulated wealth relative to their position within the federal government.
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– Senator from Colorado
– Estimated net worth: $6.8 million
Michael Bennet worked in both the public and private sectors before entering politics, the latter of which being where he made most of his money. His resume includes roles as managing director for the Anschutz Investment Company, where his team merged several movie theater chains to create the Regal Entertainment Group, as well as the superintendent of Denver Public Schools. Bennet’s portfolio includes stocks, real estate, and hedge fund investments.
– Senator from Rhode Island
– Estimated net worth: $6.8 million
Sheldon Whitehouse has been a congressman for 15 years. Before that, he served as Rhode Island State Attorney General, United States Attorney, and the director of the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation before entering politics. The senator’s top assets include real estate and stock investments.
– Representative from Michigan
– Estimated net worth: $6.9 million
Before becoming the representative of Michigan’s 6th District in November 2022, Debbie Dingell represented Michigan’s 12th District for two terms. She worked at General Motors for more than 30 years as a public affairs executive and president of the General Motors Foundation before filling the seat of her late husband, Rep. John Dingell.
– Representative from Kentucky
– Estimated net worth: $7.3 million
Rep. John Yarmuth worked in publishing before entering politics, launching both Louisville Today magazine and a weekly newspaper called the Louisville Eccentric Observer, which he later sold to Time Publishing Company. Yarmuth has made significant contributions to the food and beverage industry. Open Secrets lists Sonny’s Barbeque, a chain barbecue restaurant with more than 100 locations, as one of Yarmuth’s top assets. Yarmuth’s younger brother Robert Yarmuth is CEO of that chain.
– Representative from California
– Estimated net worth: $7.8 million
Jackie Speier’s assets contain a mix of mutual funds, stocks, and real property. A large portion of her wealth comes from rental properties in California.
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– Representative from Illinois
– Estimated net worth: $8.3 million
Bill Foster had a long career as a physicist before entering politics in 2013. In 1975, Foster and his brother Fred co-founded a company called Electronic Theatre Controls, which specializes in theater and entertainment lighting. Most of Foster’s wealth came from selling his share in the company.
– Representative from New Jersey
– Estimated net worth: $9.0 million
Josh Gottheimer’s portfolio includes hundreds of stock options, jointly owned by his spouse. Gottheimer has violated the STOCK Act, most recently by failing to report $15,000 worth of stock exchanges within the window required by the law.
– Senator from Arizona
– Estimated net worth: $10.4 million
Former naval aviator and astronaut Mark Kelly’s wealth is divvied up among mutual funds, government securities, and stocks. Kelly’s illustrious career has earned him many lucrative speaking engagements over the last few years. Securities and Exchange Commission disclosure filings revealed that Kelly has earned more than $2 million from speaking engagements.
– Senator from Oregon
– Estimated net worth: $12.3 million
A large portion of Ron Wyden’s net worth is tied to a diverse stock portfolio and government securities owned by his wife and child. Wyden’s wife Nancy Bass Wyden is the owner of New York City’s Strand Bookstore. Wyden is listed as the owner of more than a dozen different mutual funds.
– Senator from Colorado
– Estimated net worth: $13.0 million
John Hickenlooper holds significant stock in dozens of Fortune 500 companies—even more when assets in his spouse’s name are factored in. His portfolio also includes government securities and mutual funds. In May 2020, Hickenlooper was late to disclose stock trades of nearly $1.2 million as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars in stock offloads undertaken by his wife.
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– Representative from Tennessee
– Estimated net worth: $13.1 million
Jim Cooper’s wealth is concentrated primarily in real property and stocks. Cooper’s assets include ownership interests in retirement communities and apartments, for which he received rent, as well as undeveloped land. Cooper owns stock in Coca-Cola, Comcast, Exxon Mobil, General Electric, Intel, IBM, and Microsoft, among others.
– Representative from Nevada
– Estimated net worth: $15.6 million
Susie Lee’s wealth exists in the form of stocks, mutual funds, and real property, much of which was jointly or solely owned by her now ex-husband Dan Lee. Susie Lee’s net worth includes stock in Full House Resorts, of which Daniel is the CEO.
– Representative from Texas
– Estimated net worth: $18.3 million
Lloyd Doggett’s wealth is divvied up mostly among mutual funds and real property in Austin, Texas. Doggett also holds stock in Coca-Cola, Home Depot, IBM, and Johnson & Johnson, among others.
– Representative from California
– Estimated net worth: $21.4 million
Sara Jacobs’ wealth, comprised of stocks, mutual funds, real property, and government securities, is stored primarily in trusts. According to reporting by Business Insider, Jacobs’ trust houses more than $6 million in Qualcomm stock. Qualcomm is a semiconductor company co-founded by Jacobs’ grandfather, Irwin M. Jacobs.
– Representative from Minnesota
– Estimated net worth: $24.8 million
Dean Phillips’ professional resume includes several leadership positions in the food and beverage industry. He co-founded Penny’s Coffee, based in Minnesota, served as CEO of Phillips Distilling Company, and was chairman of Talenti Gelato. Phillips holds a large array of stocks, which in July 2021 were consolidated in a blind trust to avoid a conflict of interest during his time in office.
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– Representative from North Carolina
– Estimated net worth: $27.2 million
Kathy Manning’s joint assets with her spouse Randall Kaplan are primarily stock holdings in companies including Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Netflix, Snap, and others. Assets held solely by Kaplan include rental properties, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, and additional stocks.
– Representative from Virginia
– Estimated net worth: $29.8 million
Don Beyer’s assets, including a large stock portfolio, real property, and government securities, are jointly owned by his spouse. A significant portion of Beyer’s wealth comes from rent on his commercial properties.
– Representative from Maryland
– Estimated net worth: $32.9 million
David Trone is the co-founder and co-owner of alcohol retail chain Total Wine & More, which is the source of most of his wealth. The remainder of Trone’s financial assets are distributed among mutual funds, stocks, and exchange-traded funds.
– Representative from California
– Estimated net worth: $39.7 million
Many of Scott Peters’ largest assets are in his wife Lynn Gorguze’s name. Gorguze is president and CEO of private equity firm Cameron Holdings. Peters’ other assets include government securities and water bonds.
– Representative from California
– Estimated net worth: $46.1 million
Though Nancy Pelosi’s net worth is close to $50 million, the only assets she shares jointly with her husband Paul Pelosi are one Napa Valley property and a joint Wells Fargo checking account holding less than $15,000. The rest of her wealth is technically owned by her husband and is spread out among stock in companies like Disney, Tesla, Netflix, and Salesforce.
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– Representative from Washington
– Estimated net worth: $52.2 million
Suzan DelBene had a long and successful business career, including an executive role at Microsoft, before entering politics. DelBene’s wealth is spread out among real estate investments, Microsoft stock, and mutual funds.
– Representative from California
– Estimated net worth: $73.9 million
Doris Matsui’s wealth comes primarily from her husband Roger Sant, founder of the AES Corp., a Fortune 500 holding company. Assets in Matsui’s name are distributed mostly among trusts and exchange-traded funds.
– Senator from Connecticut
– Estimated net worth: $85.2 million
Richard Blumenthal married into his fortune. His wife, Cynthia Malkin, is the daughter of Manhattan real estate magnate Peter Malkin. Blumenthal’s net worth is overwhelmingly tied up in Cynthia Malkin’s assets, which include real estate, hedge funds, and stocks.
– Senator from Virginia
– Estimated net worth: $93.5 million
Much of Mark Warner’s wealth comes from his time working in the private sector. Before entering politics, Warner ran Columbia Capital, a venture-capital firm. Warner also founded Capital Cellular Corp., which was an early investor in Nextel, a wireless service operator.
– Senator from California
– Estimated net worth: $99.5 million
Dianne Feinstein, the wife of Blum Capital founder Richard Blum, is the wealthiest Democrat in congress. While the majority of her wealth comes from her late husband’s business dealings, at least $25 million is held in a blind trust. Feinstein’s stake in Carlton Hotel Properties Inc. is one of her largest assets.
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This story was written by Stacker and has been re-published pursuant to a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.
This post was originally published on this site
This story was written by Stacker and has been re-published pursuant to a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.
Founded in 2017, Stacker combines data analysis with rich editorial context, drawing on authoritative sources and subject matter experts to drive storytelling.
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