Wanna Get Away? 50 Richest Members Are Renting

Posted October 4, 2013 at 2:38pm

The second homes and vacation properties of the 50 richest members of Congress bring to mind the Beach Boys’ “Kokomo:” 15 members on the list hold multimillion-dollar investment properties from Japan to Jamaica and from Bermuda to the Bahamas.

A CQ Roll Call analysis of the 2012 financial disclosure reports of the 50 richest members shows that many hold real estate properties outside of their home states and the District of Columbia that are either used as investments or as vacation escapes.

Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin owns a vacation home far from Iowa in the village of Hope Town on Elbow Cay in the Bahamas worth $500,000 to $1 million, according to his financial disclosure report. He reported receiving $15,000 to $50,000 in rental income from the property in 2012.

Florida Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan owns a small stake in the private Chub Cay Resort and Marina in the Bahamas. He’s also the proprietor of two transportation companies — Aircraft Holding & Leasing LLC and V.B. Motor Yachts LLC — that can help him easily make the trip from his Sarasota-centric district to the Caribbean Islands. The Buchanan companies have various assets, including an Embraer Phenom executive jet, a Beechcraft King Air turboprop and a Broward yacht that can help others reach their properties in exotic locations.

New York Democratic Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney holds a 25 percent interest in The Columns LLC, a real estate venture in Rose Hill, Jamaica, that brought her $2,500 to $5,000 in rental income last year.

Maloney also owns numerous rental properties in the Chesapeake and Virginia Beach, Va., areas and in the Albemarle Plantation, a private golf community on the Albemarle Sound in Hertford, N.C. She collected more than $40,000 in rent from those properties.

The California delegation makes up five of the 15 congressional real estate moguls.

The richest member of Congress, Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, stays rather loyal to his home state with numerous properties in California, including a vacation home on the southern tip of Lake Tahoe that’s valued at $1 million to $5 million.

Fellow California Republican Rep. Gary G. Miller reports numerous properties connected to his real estate development business. Most notably, he has ownership stakes in improved residential lots worth $1 million to $5 million near the national parks and forests in Deschutes County in Oregon.

Like Miller, Republican John Campbell of the 45th District owns an out-of-state property tied to his family business. His late mother, Maurine McNee Campbell, was born in Cottonwood Falls, Kan., but moved to California as a young child. The former accountant still holds a 50 percent share of the Campbell-McNee Family Farm in his mother’s hometown, which is worth $500,000 to $1 million.

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein owns a condominium worth $1 million to $5 million in the resort town of Princeville on the north coast of Hawaii’s Kauai Island.

A quarter of freshman Democrat Scott Peters’ net worth comes from his wife, Lynn E. Gorguze, the CEO of a private equity firm. She holds a $250,000 to $500,000 investment in a commercial real estate developer in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

In Colorado, Democratic Rep. Jared Polis also invests in foreign real estate. The venture capitalist owns multiple retirement homes in Japan, each worth $1 million to $5 million. He also has several investments in Florida, including a parking deck worth $250,000 to $500,000 in Miami Beach.

Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia both own property in New York City. Blumenthal lists more than a dozen assets, including three office buildings only a few blocks from Times Square on Broadway worth $3 million to $15 million. His wife, Cynthia, also owns numerous New York properties inherited from her father, real estate magnate Peter Malkin. Rockefeller reports a spouse-owned condominium in New York City worth $1 million to $5 million, which is his only real estate asset outside of West Virginia.

Two members of the House, Democrat Chellie Pingree of Maine and Republican John Fleming of Louisiana, own investment property in Dallas.

Pingree has a $1 million to $5 million interest in SouthStar Communities, which develops real estate in Texas and Georgia.

Fleming made $15,000 to $50,000 on his rental home in the Preston Hollow neighborhood in north Dallas.

North Carolina Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan received a stake in Anchuca Holdings LLC worth $5 million to $25 million as a gift last year from her father, Joe Ruthven. The company controls a substantial number of warehouse and industrial parks primarily in Lakeland, Fla.

Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Jim Risch, R-Idaho, and Reps. Diane Black, R-Tenn., Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., Steve Daines, R-Mont., and Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., all have a majority of their assets in real estate.

But the holdings are primarily in their home states, aside from a few personal residences in the D.C. metro area.