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50 Richest Members of Congress

US Politics & Gov't  (tags: Americans, Wealth, congress, government, politics, democrats, republicans, news )

- 1743 days ago -
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows...

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JL A (281)
Friday September 13, 2013, 8:04 pm
I found it interesting that Mitch McConnell's wife has income from The Heritage Foundation...

Joanne Dixon (38)
Friday September 13, 2013, 8:52 pm
It's all depressing.

Star S. (54)
Friday September 13, 2013, 9:20 pm
I personally have doubts about how well people so rich can adequately represent the interests of the majority of Americans, whose income falls ranges mainly from middle class to the poor. One can argue that if they are so wealthy the temptation to feather their nests might be less, on the otherhand can the wealth resist making more money and just how much can they sympathise and relate to the needy. For me so many wealthy people in congress does not bode well for the changes which are required if we are to over the impasse we are at.. How compatible are their agendas with a sustainable economy and sustainable environment?

Edith B (146)
Friday September 13, 2013, 9:24 pm
The roll call seems about equal between Republicans and democrats. I am sure none of these senator are taking a salary or the health care we so generously provide them. :-( SARCASM!

Star S. (54)
Friday September 13, 2013, 9:36 pm
sorry for the typing errors. am reseending corrected below
I personally have doubts about how well people so rich can adequately represent the interests of the majority of Americans, whose income falls ranges mainly from middle class to the poor. One can argue that if they are so wealthy the temptation to feather their nests might be less, on the otherhand can the wealthy resist making more money and just how much can they sympathise and relate to the needy. For me so many wealthy people in congress does not bode well for the changes which are required if we are to overcome the impasse we are at.. How compatible are their agendas with a sustainable economy and sustainable environment?

Gloria picchetti (304)
Friday September 13, 2013, 10:52 pm
I got half way through the list and ultimately realized I don't care how rich they are. Being rich isn't a crime. Just don't make laws that screw me up.

Past Member (0)
Saturday September 14, 2013, 4:07 am
I don't care how wealthy people are, even politicians. I care what wealthy people do with their money. I didn't see people complaining about how wealthy the Clintons are. Why? Because many people like the Clintons.

Money isn't necessarily bad, and having money doesn't mean you're a crook. Lots of good can and should be done for people through the generosity of those who are more fortunate.

Past Member (0)
Saturday September 14, 2013, 4:24 am
Can they really help the poor majority?

Darlene W (303)
Saturday September 14, 2013, 4:58 am
I don't have a problem with how much a person makes--the problem I have is how the person sets their priorities in life. Money does not make you a better person--it is what is inside that counts. Mother Earth and her inhabitants are what is important not your pocket. It is quite obvious by the state this country and the rest of the world is in that those that really care cannot afford to buy off those that don't care. Sorry but don't have the time to write a book about this subject--it leads to many other issues with their wallets--lol. Bless all who 'truly' care for 'we-the people'.

Ben O (152)
Saturday September 14, 2013, 5:21 am
Holy crap! Those stinking rich people shouldn't be in the congress, should they...???

Birgit W (160)
Saturday September 14, 2013, 5:25 am
No wonder, those people have no compassion for the rest of us. They should live with our little income for just one month, and see how they can survive with it.

Past Member (0)
Saturday September 14, 2013, 5:30 am

. (0)
Saturday September 14, 2013, 7:22 am
Very informative. Thanks for sharing, Carrie.

Kathleen R (192)
Saturday September 14, 2013, 7:43 am
I have always believed "to who much is given, much is expected". Thanks for the information.

Kathleen R (192)
Saturday September 14, 2013, 7:44 am
Correction: "to whom much is given, much is expected". I need more coffee, lol.

Lona Goudswaard (79)
Saturday September 14, 2013, 8:35 am
You can never convince me that their interests are the same as the country's. They live in a whole different world than the majority of their constituents.

James Maynard (84)
Saturday September 14, 2013, 9:02 am
Interesting list. Thanks!

David C (129)
Saturday September 14, 2013, 9:35 am
surprised (a) how much money they are all worth and (b) how high Alan Grayson was....he sure doesn't act the other Greedies in Congress....

Diane O (194)
Saturday September 14, 2013, 1:24 pm
Americans who have positioned themselves in life to earn a hefty income are the major contributors to charities and other organizations who help the needy in our country. They also pay a great deal in taxes which also supports those on welfare, food stamps, etc. We should always remind ourselves that thousands of people around the world would like to become American citizens so that they, too, can have the freedom to build a company, own a home and educate their children.

I, too, do not have a problem with anyone who earns a nice salary. More power to them! If they've earned it then it belongs to them.

There are many wealthy people in America.

Lindsey O (19)
Saturday September 14, 2013, 2:16 pm
Quite a few Democrats on that list (including 7 Democrats in the top 10).

So long as no laws were broken in the getting of the money, I've no concern over it. I'd be more than happy to be able to earn or inherit that much. And their wealth hardly makes them ineligible to be in Congress - we don't have a means test for entry into national politics.

Elizabeth M (65)
Saturday September 14, 2013, 3:39 pm
I counted 29 Republicans. The money these people have makes no matter to me, but what does matter is if they have any compassion for the poor. Actually the only very rich ones that I have respect for are Warren Buffet, and
Bill Gates, as I know of many good things they have done. I realize there are others that contribute to many very worthwhle causes and don't want their names mentioned. I do feel however that they do not pay their fair share of taxes - sure it would seem a lot to us - but it is disproporionate!
Thanks Carrie - very interesting

S J (130)
Saturday September 14, 2013, 4:26 pm
No wonder, same as here.

Thanks Carrie

Jody B (6)
Sunday September 15, 2013, 1:18 am
Good info. Thanks.

Jody B (6)
Sunday September 15, 2013, 1:19 am
Good info. Thanks.

Jason R (67)
Sunday September 15, 2013, 11:37 am
Issa has to be thee most corrupt in congress.

Only one progressive. The GREAT Alan Grayson.

"the major contributors to charities and other organizations who help the needy in our country. They also pay a great deal in taxes"

WRONG! again.
Foundations keep 85% while PRETENDING to help the poor. They pay few taxes. You just add them up for your deception. Romney=12% after getting caught evading taxes off shore? Most super rich pay 5% to nothing.


Diane O (194)
Sunday September 15, 2013, 2:35 pm
Jason, because I enjoy learning something new every day, I would appreciate it if you would send me a credible link that supports your statement that "foundations keep 85% while pretending to help the poor."

By the way, many Americans and Europeans have offshore accounts. I wish I had one. : ) I'm sick and tired of my tax dollars funding over $60 billion in fraud and abuse in our social programs in the US. How about you? Aren't you tired of funding that big elephant in the room?

Lindsey O (19)
Sunday September 15, 2013, 3:55 pm
I'll take one of those offshore accounts too, Diane (so long as I'm not breaking the law).

And Jason, the rich do indeed pay a substantial amount in taxes.

"The top 1% of US taxpayers pay almost as much in federal income taxes as the entire bottom 95%, and half of that bottom group paid no taxes at all in 2010...."

And even when it comes to percentages, that's still true:

"According to new data from the IRS, people who make $1 million or more had an average tax rate of 20.4 percent in 2010. Tax filers who earned $30,000 to $50,000 paid an average rate of 4.8 percent, while those who made between $50,000 and $100,000 paid 7.7 percent. Those making under $30,000 had a negative effective rate, meaning they paid no federal income taxes after deductions and credits.

Put another way, millionaires pay a rate that's more than four times that of the middle class.

One caveat: Rates go up as income goes up — but only to a point. Once you hit a certain magic number among super-high earners, your tax rates start to fall slightly.

According to the IRS, average tax rates increase as income increases — until you get to around $1.5 million in annual income. Once you make $2 million, average tax rates start to decrease. The average tax rate peaks at 25.1 percent for those making between $1.5 million and $2 million.

After that it starts to go down, and falls to 20.7 percent for those making $10 million or more.

So the millionaires who pay the highest average tax rates in America are those who make between $1.5 million and $2 million. That $2 million could be called the "Top Turning Point" on the income ladder, where rates reverse.

The reasons for this aren't complicated. Once you get above $2 million, your share of income from investments increases. Investments are generally taxed at the 15 percent capital-gains rate, compared with the top ordinary-income rate of 35 percent.

Those making $10 million or more earned nearly half of their income from capital gains and dividends.

Rates don't fall all that much once you get above $10 million. Even among the top 400 earners in America, whose average income is more than $200 million, the average rate is 18 percent — still more than three times the rate paid by the middle class."

and for 2013:

"With Washington gridlocked again over whether to raise their taxes, it turns out wealthy families already are paying some of their biggest federal tax bills in decades even as the rest of the population continues to pay at historically low rates.

President Obama and Democratic leaders in Congress say the wealthy must pay their fair share if the federal government is ever going to fix its finances and reduce the budget deficit to a manageable level.

A new analysis, however, shows that average tax bills for high-income families rarely have been higher since the Congressional Budget Office began tracking the data in 1979. It's middle- and low-income families who aren't paying as much as they used to. For 2013, families with incomes in the top 20% of the nation will pay an average of 27.2% of their income in federal taxes, according to projections by the Tax Policy Center, a research organization based in Washington. The top 1% of households, those with incomes averaging $1.4 million, will pay an average of 35.5%.

Those tax rates, which include income, payroll, corporate and estate taxes, are among the highest since 1979.

The average family in the bottom 20% of households won't pay any federal taxes. Instead, many families in this group will get payments from the federal government by claiming more in credits than they owe in taxes, including payroll taxes. That will give them a negative tax rate.

That's for federal taxes, of course. And would also be true for inheritance taxes - the poor don't pay inheritance taxes - but the rich certainly do. Estates under $5,250,000 are exempt from federal estate taxes. But those estates above that will pay, and the maximum rate is 40%.

Then, of course, when it comes to state sales taxes, the rich will pay more than the poor because the rich purchase a great deal more than the poor. Same with local property taxes - own a more expensive home and you pay more in property taxes. Same with car taxes - own a more expensive vehicle and you pay more for your tag (at least in my state). And so on.

Lois Jordan (63)
Sunday September 15, 2013, 6:40 pm
So, let's see what they started out with, and how rich they've gotten as members of Congress.....

Lois Jordan (63)
Sunday September 15, 2013, 8:20 pm
@Ros...just some info re: Truthout 4/16/13: "On The News With Thom Hartmann: Congress Repeals the STOCK Act..." Congress repealed the legislation that required our leaders to disclose info about their stock trades online."

And from Common Dreams, 4/20/13: "Congress and Obama Quietly Collude to Undo "Insider Trading" Law." Article written by Lauren McCauley. The one at Common Dreams is very thorough. Notes how quickly Congress can pass something that's meaningful to them....and how quietly they can do it. Very sad for us "commoner peons."

Diane O (194)
Monday September 16, 2013, 2:51 am
Insider trading is against the law in America. If any American is found guilty they go to jail.

Diane O (194)
Monday September 16, 2013, 9:38 am
We have people sitting in federal prison for insider trading. I suggest you do your research to learn about American laws.

Lindsey O (19)
Monday September 16, 2013, 2:46 pm
I looked at that Common Dreams article. And it doesn't say that insider trading has been legalized. Insider trading is still a criminal act, for the public and for Congresspersons/federal employees and Congress, the President, and others are still bound by the reporting requirements. Federal employee unions were against online publication of their union members' financial information.

From the Common Dreams article:

"...the bill eliminates a requirement that personal financial disclosures of 28,000 high level federal employees be made publicly accessible online. It also reverses "two critical components" of the original act: mandatory electronic filing of PFDs by the president, his cabinet and members of Congress, and the creation of a publicly accessible database...." The data is filed on paper instead.

And from another source:

"President Obama quietly signed legislation Monday that rolled back a provision of the STOCK Act that required high-ranking federal employees to disclose their financial information online.

The White House announced Monday that the president had signed S. 716, which repealed a requirement of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act requiring the disclosure, which had previously been delayed several times by Congress.

That provision, added to the bipartisan bill aimed at halting insider trading by members of Congress, would have required roughly 28,000 senior government officials to post their financial information online, and had come under harsh criticism from federal government employee unions.

Both chambers of Congress quickly — and near silently — approved the repeal legislation at the end of last week by unanimous consent, just before heading home to their districts.

The STOCK Act was signed by the president a little over one year ago in a highly visible signing ceremony, where he said the legislation would tackle the "deficit of trust" that exists between Washington and the rest of the nation.

The new law scraps a provision that had been hotly contested by federal employees, as well as found to be problematic and even dangerous for high-ranking government workers. Congress twice had passed legislation to delay its implementation. Under that provision, high-ranking government workers would have been required to post their financial information on a publicly available online database.

Under a previous delay, Congress called for the National Academy of Public Administration to study the implications of the requirement. The report, released in March, found the provision should be repealed, having found that it could needlessly threaten the safety of government employees abroad, as well as make it difficult to attract and retain talent in the public sector.

The Senate advanced the bill Thursday by unanimous consent, without debate or even briefly describing what it would do. The House signed off on the bill Friday using the same approach.

Under the new law, the beefed-up reporting requirements will still apply to the president, vice president, members of Congress and candidates for Congress. Some presidentially nominated and Senate-confirmed government employees would also still adhere to the new disclosure requirement. The new law also delays the creation of that database until the beginning of 2014."

Diane O (194)
Monday September 16, 2013, 2:48 pm
Thank you, Lindsey.

Ros, in no way did I mean to offend you. I just didn't have the time to give to answering your question at the time but it appears that Lindsey came to the rescue. I believe her response gives you the information you needed.

: )

Jason R (67)
Tuesday September 17, 2013, 10:35 am
"send me a credible link that supports your statement that "foundations keep 85% while pretending to help the poor."

It's the law. Foundations must pay out 15%. 85% may be claimed as administration costs and they do. CNN announced in a blurb that Clinton paid out 15% in Haiti and he was off to the $11 million wedding. GHWbush taught him. Red Cross pays their area heads $410k a year! Figure it out. Why do you think foundation owners live in $5+ mil. homes?

Lindsey O (19)
Tuesday September 17, 2013, 12:13 pm
Concerning what charitable foundations pay in administrative expenses:

"Of the 10,000 largest foundations, 30 percent report no charitable operating and administrative expenses.
Community foundations, nearly all of which employ staff, are most likely to report operating expenses.
Corporate foundations, which are often staffed by company employees, are least likely. Twenty-seven
percent of independent foundations do not report expenses, and they are likely run by donors, family
members, and unpaid trustees....Among staffed independent foundations, charitable operating and administrative expenses range from less than 5 percent (for 41 percent) to 20 percent or more (for 14 percent); the median is 7 percent. By comparison, 84 percent of unstaffed foundations fall into the 0 to 5 percent range, with a median of less than 1 percent."

"....This study focuses only on large independent foundations. The sample includes 1,171 foundations that ranked consistently among the approximately 1,900 largest independent and family foundations by giving in 2007, 2008,and 2009 and for which IRS Form 990-PF was available publicly for all years....." And the foundations included in the study accounted for 67% of all foundational giving in the years cited.

And the administrative costs ranged from 3% to 17% of their distributions for the year.

Lindsey O (19)
Tuesday September 17, 2013, 12:25 pm
So, one source I found says that the median spending in admin expenses for foundations is 7% among staffed foundations (and less than 1% among unstaffed foundations).

And the other cites the largest foundations ranging from 3% to 17% in admin costs.

And from what I've read a charity is considered to have a good admin spending to charitable spending ratio if it stays under 25% or so.

That appears to be substantially different than the claimed 85% that "foundations" "do" pay in admin costs, Jason. But I'd be happy to look at any links you have to offer.

And, by the by, the reason so many of those who create charitable foundations live in expensive homes is because......they have lots and lots of money - enough money to give large amounts of it to create charitable foundations. Paupers don't tend to create foundations - the wealthy by and large are the ones who do.

Lindsey O (19)
Tuesday September 17, 2013, 1:38 pm
Jason, you also stated that foundations must pay out 15% (and I assume you mean 15% of the foundation's income for the year). However from what I've read they must in general pay out at least 5% of their assets each year (and that's assets, not income - so if the foundation has, say, $1,000,000 in the bank in 2013 it should pay out at least $50,000.00 in charitable dollars that year).

"Private foundations are generally financially supported by one or a small handful of sources—an individual, a family, or a corporation. There are a few different kinds of private foundations: independent, http://www.c family, and corporate These categories are not legally defined. Rather, they are commonly used in the field of philanthropy to distinguish the different kinds of private foundations. Private foundations must pay out at least 5 percent of their assets each year in the form of grants and operating charitable activities....."

Diane O (194)
Tuesday September 17, 2013, 3:44 pm
Lindsey,......"pants on fire!" You are hitting on the pistons....

Diane O (194)
Tuesday September 17, 2013, 3:47 pm
Lindsey, in America, 80% of Americans identify as Christians. Their churches all over the United States, in small towns and large cities, reach out and I mean, really reach out, to the poor with charitable contributions and a host of other donations to give them a place to live, give them clothes and food for their children....Christianity is a giving religion. They never stop giving. They will always provide for the poor in their congregations.


Carrie B (306)
Tuesday September 17, 2013, 4:25 pm
"Christianity is a giving religion. They never stop giving. They will always provide for the poor in their congregations." Only in their congregations? Even so ~ if that were actually true, ~ there would be far less poverty in this country.

Lindsey O (19)
Tuesday September 17, 2013, 5:36 pm
Christians, like everyone else, are individuals - some are charitable and some aren't (it always has amused me - my sister-in-law is a DEVOUT person who never misses church on Sunday, preaches creationism to her kids, and who thinks that I, as an atheist, should have no rights in life [literally - sis-in-law actually said that shortly before she married my brother] - and yet Madame Excessively-Devout has never once volunteered her time for charity (except for manning a bake sale table at her church once a year for two hours) and gives zero to charity (except for bits doled out specifically to her own church).

And some churches really take charity seriously - and others seem to spend most of their funds on beautiful buildings, stained glass, and rec centers for their own kids (Birmingham has a LOT of churches and a LOT of churchgoers - I've been all too exposed to a wide variety of them throughout my life).

Diane O (194)
Wednesday September 18, 2013, 2:18 am
Carrie, no, not only in their congregations....I should've written in their communities.

Ros, we have The Salvation Army and AMVETS. We also have Good Will throughout the country. I would like to think that these organizations are helpful to those who need it. There will always be people who fall through the cracks, unfortunately.

Diane O (194)
Wednesday September 18, 2013, 2:40 am
I failed to mention The Wounded Warrior Project. This is a group that we have been sending money to this year. I encourage those of you who are involved in charities, etc. to look at this group. Every little bit helps our wounded veterans.

Diane O (194)
Wednesday September 18, 2013, 3:10 pm
Ros, one has to be in the military for 20 years to receive lifetime benefits...retirement income, healthcare, etc. The ones falling into the deep dark hole with virtually no help are our returning wounded soldiers and this is why the Wounded Warrior project is so important. All of this money is going directly into the hands of these veterans. Michelle Obama, after moving into the White House, gave a lengthy speech and photo op stating that she was dedicating her time to helping our returning vets. There's pure gridlock in those who have applied for help for healthcare benefits and money to live on.....sad but true. We have a serious problem in this area. Your country seems to be exactly where our country should be in helping our veterans. The US sends billions and billions in aid to other countries and they have failed our own returning veterans.

Lindsey O (19)
Wednesday September 18, 2013, 3:43 pm
There are a variety of benefits available to wounded soldiers and their families:

And the Veterans Administration provides medical care for service-related injuries after the soldier is out of the military and also can provide veterans disability compensation in some cases, depending on the type of injury/handicap.(the VA's system isn't very good, however). And disabled vets are also eligible for Social Security disability like any civilian.

Diane O (194)
Wednesday September 18, 2013, 3:50 pm
Thank you, Lindsey! The backlog is the is taking over 300 days to get their cases read and acted on.

I'm enjoying this dialogue. We need to bring attention to this serious problem.

Diane O (194)
Thursday September 19, 2013, 3:24 pm
Ros, here in the US we have workman's compensation as well close to what you have described. We have Americans who can go on disability (if they qualify) either paid for by their companies (rare) or by the taxpayers. We have Medicaid for those who qualify, usually low income Americans who cannot afford healthcare on their own. At age 65 Americans are forced to go on Medicare. Now, we have Obamacare which is Medicaid on steroids and it forces everybody to get medical insurance at rates that fund people getting basically medical insurance for free....which is what Medicaid is. So, how does Obama plan to fund this? He is reducing benefits in that has been deducted out of American workers salaries for decades. People have paid into Medicare.....yet Obama will be cutting the benefits in Medicare to pay for his Obamacare.

My hope is that Obamacare will bite the dust very soon. Obama simply was never smart enough to put together a model airplane much less a serious healthcare plan. This is precisely why it has failed in our country.

Diane O (194)
Thursday September 19, 2013, 4:15 pm
Ros, I wasn't expecting a response from my political comments but I did feel it was necessary to round out the disability payments, medicare and Medicaid, etc....and, of course, The Affordable Care Act.

We, here, in the US, will sort it out. We always do. We have a great deal of wealth in our country and successful corporations and we are enriched with oil, if only we would start drilling. Unions are passé and our country is changing. We are a very young country compared to others and we are having growing pains. I love the United States. I've been fortunate to travel to many countries over the years and I'm always ready to come back home to America.

I believe our downward spiral started with progressives who were elected in both parties. I have faith that the American people will vote and set it on the right path again. In 2010, the voters in a tsunami win...kicked the spending democats OUT and brought the no spending republicans in to take their seats. It takes time, Ros. It will take time to get it right again.

Diane O (194)
Friday September 20, 2013, 2:46 am
I'm happy for you, Ros. It's nice to be able to say you love your country.

Lindsey O (19)
Friday September 20, 2013, 3:07 am
Ros in Australia (from what I've read) you get a much better interest rate than in the U.S. on savings (average in August of 2013 for Australia is 2.50% and Australians could get higher than 2.50% with some banks). In the U.S. our average is around .25% (and right now I could get perhaps .85% with one bank I found for U.S. depositors).

In both countries we're at miserably lower rates than we used to get.


Lindsey O (19)
Friday September 20, 2013, 3:12 am
And I think that's a great thing, too, Diane (the Australians I've personally known are all pretty patriotic about their country). I love being an American, myself, but Australian culture would be nice to experience as well.
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