Annual survey finds top 50 wealthiest members of Congress, Michael McCaul tops list

In a political climate that continues to invoke the notion that the rich in our society are getting richer, it seems those in Washington are also getting wealthier too, while many individuals of the United States are attempting to live within their means.

On Thursday, Roll Call published a list of the wealthiest members of the House of Representatives and the Senate.  It looks at the value of each member’s assets, their liabilities and the percent change in prosperity since the prior year’s disclosure forms.

The top 10 was dominated by the Democrats, but No. 1 on the list was Texas Republican Congressman Michael McCaul, who is valued at $294.21 million and has zero liabilities, which is a 298 percent change. McCaul first appeared on the Roll Call study in 2005 when he was worth about $12 million.

According to the news organization, McCaul’s wealth is dominated by his wife, Linda McCaul, who is the daughter of Clear Channel Communications CEO and founder Lowry Mays.  Therefore, McCaul’s rise in wealth is in part due to generational wealth transfer.

Next on the list is California Republican Congressman Darrell Issa.  He is valued at $295.4 million with $75 million in liabilities. Issa earned his fortune before he entered congress by founding Directed Electronics, a manufacturer of car alarms.

It was noted that Issa could have been first on the list, but he reported two new business lines of credit worth between $75 million and $125 million.

Massachusetts Democratic Senator John Kerry has been listed at the top of the annual survey before.  Since 2003, his vast wealth, mostly attributed to his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, the widow of the late Pennsylvania Republican Senator John Heinz, the inheritor of the ketchup fortune, has put him on the top of the list seven times – Democratic California Congresswoman Jane Harman was first in 2007 with $216.11 million.

This year, however, he is in the third spot.  The senator, who is rumored to be tapped as the next Secretary of Defense, has assets valued at $232.39 million with $39.32 million in liabilities. He had a 2.5 percent change in wealth.

Fellow Democratic colleague in the senate Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia was placed fourth. The longtime senator still has the wealth he inherited from oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller. He is worth $86.63 million and it only changed by 0.2 percent with liabilities valued at $5 million.

Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner made his $76 million fortune by finding a partner and starting Nextel Telecommunications. Warner is still making a nice sum each year through the interest and capital gains of between $100,000 and $1 million.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama is reported to have a net worth of $11.8 million. His annual salary of $400,000 comes from books and his time in the White House.  His Republican opponent in this year’s election, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, is worth $250 million.

Here a list of the remaining 45 wealthiest members of Congress:

Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) $65.91 Million

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) $55.07 Million

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) $52.93 Million

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) $45.39 Million

Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) $44.21 Million

Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Ohio) $35.87 Million

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) $35.20 Million

Rep. Rick Berg (R-N.D.) $21.60 Million

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) $21.18 Million

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) $20.35 Million

Sen. James Risch (R-Idaho) $19.78 Million

Rep. Gary Miller (R-Calif.) $17.45 Million

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) $17.00 Million

Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-Texas) $16.45 Million

Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) $15.46 Million

Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) $13.73 Million

Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) $11.90 Million

Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) $11.60 Million

Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.) $10.69 Million

Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) $10.63 Million

Rep. Tom Petri (R-Wis.) $10.60 Million

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) $10.38 Million

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) $10.35 Million

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) $10.28 Million

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) $10.14 Million

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) $10.14 Million

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) $9.88 Million

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) $9.84 Million

Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) $9.43 Million

Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-N.Y.) $9.35 Million

Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) $9.29 Million

Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) $9.23 Million

Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) $8.53 Million

Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) $8.51 Million

Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.) $8.44 Million

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) $8.18 Million

Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) $8.03 Million

Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) $7.94 Million

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) $7.93 Million

Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas) $7.71 Million

Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) $7.41 Million

Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) $7.06 Million

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) $6.56 Million

Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) $6.47 Million

Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) $6.21 Million

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