WASHINGTON : For the first time ever, half of US Congressmen, both Democrats and Republicans, are millionaires, according to figures from a group that examines the influence of money on politics.
At least 268 of 534 lawmakers currently elected to the House of Representatives and the Senate had a net worth of $1.0 million or more in 2012, according to disclosures filed by all members of Congress. For a few, that figure went into the hundreds of millions — and the median net worth was just over a million, at $1,008,767, according to analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics at OpenSecrets.org. Median figures for Republicans and Democrats in the “millionaires club” are nearly equal, with Democrats edging just a bit ahead with $1.04 million compared to $1.0 million for Republicans.
But in both parties, the average has risen from a year earlier, from $990,000 for Democrats and $907,000 for Republicans. That year, some 48 percent of lawmakers were in the millionaires club. According to the Center for Responsive Politics’ analysis, the wealthiest Congressman was Representative Darrell Issa, a Republican from California, who made a fortune with a car alarm system he created. They calculated his net worth as averaging $464 million during 2012. His least wealthy colleague was David Valadao, also a Republican from California, whose net worth was in the red — a negative $12.1 million — thanks to debts related to his family dairy farm.