Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 31, 2014

50 Richest Are Different From You and the Rest of Congress

The 50 Richest Members of Congress are different from the rest of their colleagues in so many ways, but here’s one way in which they are the same: There are nine women on the roster, or 18 percent of the lawmakers with the highest minimum net worth last year. And women hold precisely 18 percent of all the combined seats in the House and Senate.

Aside from that parity, though, the demographics of the wealthiest lawmakers are significantly different from the overall makeup of Congress, which of course is still way more white and male than the overall American population.

There is only one non-Anglo on the entire list for 2012, compiled by CQ Roll Call from the financial disclosure reports of every one of the members. That would be Rep. Bill Flores, a Hispanic Republican from Texas who’s a former energy company executive; he came in at No. 49, with a net worth of $6.7 million. (Overall, 17 percent of the members of the 113th Congress are either Hispanic, African-American, Asian American, American Indian or Native Hawaiian.

The list also skews Republican: 29 of the lawmakers, or 58 percent, are in the GOP, but the overall membership of both halves of Congress is 52 percent. That said, Democrats account for eight of the dozen richest — those with a net worth cresting at $30 million.

The list also reflects the common perception that senators tend to be better-off than House members: 13 percent of the Senate made the cut, but only 8 percent of House members.

The roster also offers reminders that membership turnover is more a part of the congressional dynamic than is commonly assumed — and that great wealth, once attained, is not squandered all that easily. Only 14 of the lawmakers who were on the 50 Richest list a decade ago (Roll Call has been calculating it since 1990) remain in Congress today.

And only three of those veterans have slipped off the latest roster. All are Republican senators: John McCain of Arizona, Richard C. Shelby of Alabama and Johnny Isakson of Georgia.

  • killer63

    So who’s on the list?

    • Layla

      The list is included in the link in the first sentence of the article. Utterly amazing when you see the vast wealth in the Congress, this while they spend this country into bankruptcy.

      • killer63

        Thanks.

  • Layla

    The most amazing thing is to see how much personal wealth is being accumulated while these people are in office. Clearly this is not what our Founders intended. Our elected officials are now making 3-4 times what the average American family are able to earn. It is long past time to give Congress and senior administration officials a pay cut. We cannot afford you anymore. And your hours need to be reduced to the same part time hours which Obamacare has caused other Americans to suffer under. Shame on the lot of you.

  • Layla

    There are many Members, such as Sen. Feinstein from California whose husband has earned millions from government contracts while she has served a lifetime in the Senate. You don’t question your own morals anymore, you are too busy trying to manage the lives of average Americans who are barely making ends meet. I have never been so appalled and so ashamed of my own government.

    • hippie1367

      You mean like when Cheney was starting wars while still on the board of Halliburton? Or they were doing business with Iran?

  • Maria Luna

    GLARING ERROR– only 1 non-anglo? MANY on the list are non-anglo. Does the author even know what anglo means?

    David–please correct your article!

  • hippie1367

    Isn’t it nice to know these scum legalized insider trading for themselves

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