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December 16, 2009


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One of the red flags for Obama was his low net worth based on his total income. You can see the guy doesn't have an idea on how to save- so why do you want this person pushing for policy decisions that effect the fiscal health of the USA?


I guess I would worry more if they all (including Obama) were multimillionaires. Running for public office as well as serving in the congress is spendy, and they have to pay for much of it themselves:

- Most of them have to rent/buy a 2nd residence in Washington in addition to maintaining a home where their families live in their home states.

- if their families visit them in Washington, they have to pay for their travel themselves.

- If you're on TV all the time or speaking at events, you need a large wardrobe and one that looks sharp and isn't purchased at Walmart. And those threads don't come cheap! (Remember the Palin wardrobe-gate?)

- I also suspect that at least some of them are clever enough to have transferred much of their assets to various family members, foundations, PACs, or holding companies, in order to avoid taxes and disclosure laws. We're talking about high-powered lawyers and politicians here, not Joe Blow who runs a bakery.

This is really interesting information - and what an insight;)

What else do we know about Alcee Hastings to explain this particular news?

Claire --

Click the link with his name -- it provides some insights.

Very interesting indeed. Didn't know they published net worth.

My favorite is when they release tax information. It's always interesting to see how much people have given over their lives. If you're a politician and you know that people have access to your tax records, how cheap do you have to be to not donate to charity?

@ Mike... I don't see Obama listed... Where do you see that?

RJWeiss, it's not exactly "how much people have given", but how much they've itemized. Not everyone itemizes because it doesn't always end up saving you money (though if you make as much as most Congress members and you give even a smallish percentage, you should probably itemize.)

What I found interesting was that, sorting by net worth, there's over a page with negative net worths. Five of them are Republicans, and 24 are Democrats. The rest of the chart has a pretty good mix; the only place where you see one party really overrepresented is in the negatives. I'd be interested to learn the story behind that. Are Democrat politicians really more likely to have really awful finances, or is it just an anomaly due to the way the stats are reported (they don't include the value of one's home)? Do we really trust politicians with negative net worths to set budgets for the entire nation?

Very interesting and very scary! I don't think I like having representatives that can't run their personal lives responsible, running the government for us! I wonder how this aggregate of representatives compares to past ones, on a net worth basis...

Thanks for the great stats. I really enjoy reading numbers like these.

@ billyjobob

Obama was on the list last year.

It's actually facinating to see that those that make the laws that govern our pension contributions, Social Security and the like have their own plans that exclude the everyday public like you and I. So, while they are making the rules for us, they are unaffected by the outcome. Talk about taking care of their own...

I'm surprised that so few are millionaires. But I also doubt this is a full picture of their real finances. Maybe its similar to the net worth of doctors who, as a group, don't seem to accumulate wealth as much.

I don't think someones finances are much of an indication at all of whether or not they are going to be a good politician. A lot of the wealthy folks just inherited their money. A number of the less wealthy are likely younger or simply sitting on a couple underwater homes like a large % of Americans.

Look at Ron Paul & Barney Frank- their net worth is listed as $1000 USD. Surely this is missing information. And I can't find Chris Dodd on the list.

I'd expect that more than 50% of these guys are millionaires.

Still, it is interesting that these representatives are so beholden to the investment banks of wall street and you have guys like Henry Paulson who made $500 million at Goldman Sachs running the treasury and bullying these guys around. From this disclosure many of these people are not so well off.

However I think the data is incomplete. Not sure why some people declare everything and others do not.


Mike --

Chris Dodd is a senator. This info is for Representatives.

Mike, the #'s listed are in thousands of $'s. So when it says Barney Frank has $1054 that really means $1,054,000 or about $1M. He's a millionaire.

What would be more useful is to identify what they began with, and what they have now.
If the only difference is being elected, one may presume that it is potentially taxpayer money, or conduit money to receive taxpayer money that is the source.

I have a request but do not know if you can supply it. If you are not can you tell me where I can get this information.
I want to get a list of every politician in the Senate and House as to what they are worth.

James --

Try Google.

Anyone got a link for the Senate? I find list of top and bottom 25, but no 100.
If they can print 435 House members, wutz the problem w/ 100 Senators?

Arn Nelson (On the Democrat-occupied west Bank of Lake Michigan (IL 9th CD, repped by Nancy Pelosi's evil twin, Jan Schakowsky))

I would like to know how,we the poeple can cut the house members pay and retirement? After all we are all in this together. How much money do the members pay towards their retirement?

I think it would be nice if the members,would start to work for the people,instead of big companies and themselves

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