Revision Puts Teague at No. 12 on Richest Members List

Posted September 20, 2010 at 3:51pm

Rep. Harry Teague has amended his financial forms to disclose an extra $24 million, thus making a fashionably late appearance on Roll Call’s 50 Richest Members of Congress list.

In an amendment to his 2009 financial disclosure filed Sept. 3, the New Mexico Democrat revised the value of Teaco Energy Services, the oil services firm he founded in Hobbs, N.M., at $25 million to $50 million.

The amendment boosts his minimum net worth to $25.52 million and elevates him to No. 12 on Roll Call’s annual survey, which was published Monday.

The Clerk of the House, which maintains a public database of financial disclosures, released the document Sept. 15, after Roll Call’s deadline for its annual survey of Member wealth.

Teague listed the asset with a value of between $1 million and $5 million when he filed his annual disclosure in May, and he failed to make Roll Call’s list.

Teague spokeswoman Kara Kelber said the lawmaker filed the amendment with the ethics committee following an audit of the company and its assets.

“The comprehensive audit resulted in a higher good faith estimate of the value of the company. Based on that finding, the Congressman worked with the committee to file the appropriate amendment to ensure that his financial disclosure statement was accurate and reflected this change,” Kelber said in a written statement. “Both the original disclosure statement and the amendment are available for viewing by the general public at the Office of the Clerk of The U.S. House website.”

Teague’s revision to his investment in Teaco Energy Services more closely mirrors its value in calendar year 2008, when Teague reported the asset with an exact value of $39,630,537.

When Teague first reported the investment as a candidate in 2007, he listed Teaco Energy Services with a value of between $5 million and $25 million.

To determine the richest lawmakers, Roll Call adds up the minimum value of total assets reported by each Member on their annual financial disclosures and subtracts the minimum liabilities.

Because Roll Call evaluates assets by the minimum value of the reported range, Teague’s personal fortune appears to have fluctuated significantly during his term in office, but the actual change is likely far less.

Although Teague’s wealth appears to have dropped by more than $15 million in 2009, the difference is likely to be the result of his switch from exact values to the broad categories most Members use to report their wealth.

While Roll Call evaluated Teague’s major asset at $39 million in 2008, it was counted in 2009 as only a $25 million asset, the minimum value given.

In a July letter to the Office of Congressional Ethics, New Mexico Republican Party Chairman Harvey Yates requested an investigation of Teague’s financial disclosures, citing the difference in value of Teaco Energy Services between his calendar year 2008 and 2009 reports. Yates sent the letter on his personal stationery and did not indicate his post within the state GOP.

Teague’s office said it had not seen the letter and had not been contacted regarding the amendments, and it reiterated that the audit prompted the amended forms.