Half the members of Congress are millionaires

The richest and poorest members of Congress

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 Updated:

Members of Congress take oath of office

Charles Dharapak/AP

Half the members of Congress enjoys “1 percent” status as millionaires, according to a new study by the Center for Responsive Politics.

While the economy at home and abroad has limped along since 2008, Congress’ estimated median net worth remains robust — up about 7.6 percent from 2009 and about 13 percent from 2008.

Although members of the Senate boast bigger bank accounts on average over their counterparts in the House of Representatives, Republican Rep. Darrell Issa of California bucks the trend. His average net worth of $448 million makes him the wealthiest member of the 112th Congress, according to the Center's analysis. Issa owes his fortune in part to his business Directed Electronics, an automobile security company best known for its Viper alarm system. The congressman’s own voice warned potential car thieves who got too close to his products, “Protected by Viper, stand back.”

Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., heads the House Democratic list for personal wealth with an estimated net worth of $143 million.

With a $230 million estimated net worth, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., heads the Senate (nearly $40 million more than the next wealthiest senator, Mark Warner, D-Va.) Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee is the Senate’s wealthiest Republican with an estimated average $59 million. 

The Center’s report also identified a handful of lawmakers who appear to be in debt. They include Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), John Conyers (D-Mich.), Louis Gohmert (R-Texas), Steve Fincher (R-Tenn.) and Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.).

To determine congressional wealth, the Center looked at the personal financial disclosure lawmakers must file annually. The forms only require assets to be disclosed within a broad range so the Center's analysis tallies the median values listed.

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