Congressmen are always talking about representing the everyman. Whenever they go on the campaign trail, you see them patronizing small, locally-owned businesses, holding meetings with locals to discuss issues that are important to them, and pledging to give the little guy a voice while they serve in Congress.
It all sounds good, but can Congressmen who are millionaires really be in touch with the needs of the average person? When a senator can’t even remember how many houses he owns, can we really trust him to represent us accurately and make laws that are in our best interest? Is all hope lost when the President and leader of our country owns a multimillion dollar mansion?
Critics say this is a fundamental flaw of the American political system. The ultra wealthy simply spend however much money it takes to beat their opponent and basically buy the election. Then, they continue to get reelected at alarming rates once they’re in.
Facts about Rich Congressmen
Before we reveal the 10 richest members of Congress, here are a few statistics you might find interesting.
- 8 of the top 10 wealthiest members of Congress are Democrats
- 28 of the top 50 richest members of Congress are Democrats
- 11 of the top 50 richest members of Congress are freshman members
- About two-thirds of US senators are millionaires
Who’s the Richest?
- Sen. John Kerry (D)—The former Presidential candidate leads all members of Congress with a net worth of $167.55 million. He has dozens of million dollar assets, and the bulk of his wealth actually comes from his wife’s money.
- Rep. Darrell Issa (R)—Despite the recession, the California lawmaker has continued to increase his net worth to $164.70 million. He founded Directed Electronics, a car alarm manufacturer, and he has other valuable investments.
- Rep. Jane Harman (D)—This California Democrat has holdings in Harmon International Industries, an audio products company. In 2008, she reported a more than 50% decline in her minimum net worth, but she’s still worth $112.13 million.
- Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D)—When you hear the Rockefeller name, you immediately associate it with wealth. This West Virginia Senator is currently worth at least $80.45 million.
- Sen. Mark Warner (D)—Warner is the richest of the 11 freshman lawmakers. He was the co-founder of Nextel telecommunications, making him incredibly rich. His minimum net worth is estimated at $72.37 million.
- Rep. Jarred Polis (D)—Polis is a serial entrepreneur. He first founded American Information Systems, and later sold it for more than $20 million. He then grew his family’s greeting card business, and that sold for $780 million. After that, he founded ProFlowers.com and sold it for $477 million. His net worth is estimated currently at $71 million.
- Rep. Vern Buchanan (R)—Buchanan has many assets, including real estate, car dealerships, and investment accounts, making his net worth $49.79 million. The Florida Congressman has reported a sharp decline in net worth during the recession.
- Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D)—Lautenberg became rich from a payroll processing company he founded back in 1952. He maintains three blind trusts, and his total minimum net worth is $48.38 million.
- Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D)—The California Senator has an impressive portfolio that includes multiple trusts, real estate, and various partnerships. Her minimum net worth is estimated to be $42.94 million.
- Rep. Harry Teague (D)—Another rookie lawmaker, Teague earned his wealth by founding an oil services firm, Teaco Energy Services. His net worth is $40.63 million.