DemDaily: The Wealthiest Members of Congress

May 15, 2023

Members of Congress may represent every socioeconomic category of our nation but few can relate to the average person when it comes to personal wealth.

Who are the millionaires?
Although most senators and representatives make an annual salary of $174,000 (leadership positions get a raise), it is a footnote for the more than half of the entire Congress that are millionaires.

Each year, members of Congress are required to file a detailed financial disclosure report. In addition to their annual salary, many members have fortunes in the millions, either made over the course of their careers or inherited wealth.

Under the 1978 Ethics in Government Act (EIGA), members may not have outside earned income greater than 15% of their congressional salary. However, "unearned" income such as taxable interest, stock dividends and capital gains is not subject to the EIGA.

Republican Senator Rick Scott, elected to the US Senate from Florida in 2018, is a former venture capitalist and founder of healthcare companies HCA Healthcare and Solantic. He earned his top ranking through his extensive holdings in stocks, bonds, LLCs, private-equity funds, gold trusts, and treasury notes.

The bulk of Republican Congressman Michael McCaul's fortune comes from his wife, Linda, who father founded the media giant iHeartRadio. Elected to Congress in 2004, McCaul previously served as the Chief of Counter Terrorism and National Security in the Western District of Texas. The McCaul family also reported millions in limited liability companies and iShares funds, and Netflix stock.

Retiring California Senator Dianne Feinstein (D), elected in 1992, also draws much of her wealth from her spouse, Richard Blum. Blum is an investor and the President and Chairman of Blum Capital, a private equity company. Feinstein herself reported over $1 million held in her account in 2021, with at least $25 million held in a blind trust.

Prior to being elected in 2012, Washington Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (D) was the Marketing and Business Director at Microsoft and Nimble Technology’s CEO. She also worked with as its vice-president. DelBene's wealth is spread out among mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, and real-estate funds.

The median net worth of members of Congress is over $1 million, compared to the national average salary of $57,200.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and his wife, former Trump Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, have a variety of assets, including bank accounts, trusts, mutual funds, retirement accounts and stocks. McConnell’s net worth jumped significantly after the death of his wife’s mother in 2007 and the gift of a Vanguard Tax-Exempt Money Market Fund worth between $5 million and $25 million.

Estimates of exact worth are difficult to determine as disclosure rules use value ranges instead of exact amounts, so large assets are not accurately represented.

Much of the wealth in Congress is concentrated in the top 10%, which have three times more wealth than the bottom 90%. While disclosures provide insight into each member of Congress' wealth, the reality is that they serve as a mere baseline for their net worth.

Runners Up (in millions): Kevin Hern (R): $26.7+; Dean Phillips (D): 24.7+; John Rose (R): 23.3; Sarah Jacobs (D): 21.4; Jim Risch (R): 21; Ralph Norman (R): 20.6; Michael Bennet (D): 15.7; Bill Foster (D): 14.1; Dan Newhouse (R): 13.8 million and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R): 11.5.

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Kimberly Scott

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Sources: Open Secrets, Business Insider, Moneywise, Forbes, Axios, CNN, US Senate and House Ethics Committees, Bureau of Labor Statistics

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