Skip to content

Frosh Could Join ‘50 Richest’

Last week’s elections have created room in one of Washington, D.C.’s most exclusive clubs: Six members of Roll Call’s “50 Richest Members of Congress” will be gone in January.

But fear not — the freshman class of 2009 is bringing reinforcements who appear ready to join the high-rollers on the Hill.

Candidates for Congress file financial disclosure forms that are similar to the annual disclosure forms filed by Members and that carry some of the same caveats. Personal property that is not held for investment purposes — such as second homes — is not disclosed, and the value of each asset is recorded in broad categories that make it impossible to estimate net worth with any precision.

Nevertheless, the disclosure forms do offer a way to compare relative worth of Members, providing a glimpse of some incoming Members who may be worth more than $5 million, which was the minimum for membership in the most recent top 50 list.

The departing Members on the list are: Rep. Robin Hayes (R-N.C.), whose minimum net worth of about $79 million made him the fifth-richest Member last year, but was not enough to win re-election; Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.), who lost re- election by a razor-thin margin, but gets to keep the $29 million that made him the 10th-richest Member; Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.), who lost her seat as well as her spot as 19th on the list with $16 million; Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.), who gave up his House seat and 31st place at $8 million in an unsuccessful bid for the Senate; Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) who retired, taking about $6 million in net worth that qualified him for 45th place; and Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), who was No. 50 on the list with $5 million until he agreed last week to become chief of staff to President-elect Obama.

The following new Members all filed candidate financial disclosure forms indicating minimum net worth of more than $5 million.

Some of these new Members may not make Roll Call’s next “50 Richest” list, as the portfolios of other Members grow and as the new Members sell off assets in the process of making the transition from private life to public office.

Sen.-elect Mark Warner (D-Va.)

$90.8 million

Warner, who replaces Sen. John Warner, made his fortune as a co-founder of Nextel telecommunications company and investment in Columbia Capital, a technology venture capital fund.

Among his holdings, Warner is the beneficiary of the MRW Trust, established after his election to the Virginia governor’s office in 2001. That fund remained a blind trust until his term ended in 2006.

The trust includes a money market account valued at $5 million to $25 million, as well as numerous U.S. Treasury notes, including nine valued at $1 million to $5 million. An investment in the Longleaf Partners Mutual Fund is also valued at $5 million to $25 million.

Warner also holds an investment worth from $5 million to $25 million in Columbia Capital Investors.

According to a statement issued by Warner’s Senate campaign office, the Virginian estimates his net worth at about $200 million.

Rep.-elect Alan Grayson (D-Fla.)

$29 million

Grayson, who defeated four-term GOP incumbent Ric Keller, reports a net worth of about $29 million. An attorney who founded the telecommunications company IDT Corp. in 1990, Grayson grew up poor in New York but now has a trust worth more than $25 million, which provides him an annual income of seven figures. He reports no liabilities.

Sen.-elect Jim Risch (R-Idaho)

$20.2 million

Risch, who replaces retiring Sen. Larry Craig (R), stakes his fortune in farm and ranch land.

The Republican lists 40-acre lots in Ada and Canyon counties in Idaho, as well as another 24-acre site in Canyon County, all at a value of at least $5 million.

A fourth property of more than 160 acres in Ada County is valued at least $1 million.

In addition, Risch lists a half-dozen investment properties, including four in Boise, Idaho, valued at a minimum of $100,000 each.

Risch, the state’s lieutenant governor, also lists his law firm, Risch Goss Insinger Gustavel, at a value of at least $1 million.

The Idahoan’s liabilities include three mortgages on investment properties, ranging from $15,001 to $50,000 and $50,001 to $100,000.

Rep.-elect Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.)

$17.2 million

Lummis reports a net worth of at least $17.2 million, mostly on the basis of three cattle ranches (though one is referred to as the Arpt & Hammond Hardware Co.) each valued at $5 million to $25 million. She reports two mortgages worth at least $1.1 million in liabilities.

Rep.-elect Chris Lee (R-N.Y.)

$11.2 million

Lee, who replaced retiring Rep. Tom Reynolds (R), was an executive in a family manufacturing firm that was sold in 2007 for nearly $400 million. He now has investments scattered across dozens of mutual fund accounts, and his minimum net worth is about $11 million. Lee lists no liabilities.

Sen.-elect Kay Hagan (D-N.C.)

$8 million

After eking out an upset win over Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R), Hagan will take not only her place in the Senate but will also snag a spot among the 50 richest Members.

While Hagan won’t land in the upper echelons — Dole, with an estimated net worth of at least $16.45 million, ranked 19th in the 2008 list — a personal wealth of at least $8 million will position Hagan far from the bottom rung.

Among the investments that Hagan, a state Senator and former banker, and her husband list are at least $5.5 million in commercial warehouses in Lakeland, Fla.

Hagan is the niece of former Florida Gov. and Sen. Lawton Chiles (D).

In addition, Hagan’s husband lists “over $1 million” in investments in Lincoln National Corp., a holding company made up of insurance, financial planning and advisory companies. The Hagans also list extensive stock investments and bonds, many in the ranges of $1,001 to $15,000 and $15,001 to $50,000.

Hagan lists about $3 million in liabilities, including 10 mortgages issued by Florida lenders ranging from at least $50,001 to at least $500,001. She also lists mortgages from lenders in Georgia, Arizona, Illinois and North Carolina ranging from at least $250,001 to at least $500,001.

Rep.-elect Parker Griffith (D-Ala.)

$7.4 million

Griffith, who replaced retiring Democratic Rep. Bud Cramer, lists assets worth about $8.6 million and about $1.2 million in liabilities, for a minimum net worth of about $7.4 million.

A physician before running for public office, Griffith owns several pieces of Alabama real estate with a combined value of more than $2 million, and several significant stock holdings, including from $1 million to $5 million in now-defunct mortgage lender Washington Mutual.

Rep.-elect Harry Teague (D-N.M.)

$6.3 million

Teague, who owns a Hobbs, N.M., oil services firm worth from $5 million to $25 million, takes the House seat of Pearce, who sold his Hobbs, N.M., oil services firm for from $5 million to $25 million. After subtracting $1 million in liabilities, Teague’s minimum net worth is about $6.3 million.

Rep.-elect Betsy Markey (D-Colo.)

$5.3 million

Markey defeated Republican Rep. Marilyn Musgrave. Markey would replace Emanuel as last on the list of the 50 richest, with a minimum net worth of about $5.3 million. A former Congressional staffer, almost all of her assets are derived from Syscom Services, an IT company she and her husband established in the 1980s. She lists this asset as worth $5 million to $25 million.

Recent Stories

Alabama IVF ruling spurs a GOP reckoning on conception bills

House to return next week as GOP expects spending bills to pass

FEC reports shine light on Super Tuesday primaries

Editor’s Note: Never mind the Ides of March, beware all of March

Supreme Court to hear arguments on online content moderation

In seeking justice by jury trials, Camp Lejeune veterans turn to Congress