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2013’s Most Interesting Financial Disclosures

The annual congressional financial disclosure forms come in various sizes (from three pages to hundreds), styles (some are hand-written, others are farmed-out to third party accountants) and submissions (from on-time to extensions and even, possibly, amendments) with listed assets varying from college savings plans  to professional sports teams.

As another year comes to an end, here is a look back at some of the most notable items gleaned from this year’s forms, which report assets from the 2012 calendar year.

Some folks are all over the place.

The varied portfolio of Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., includes stakes in Japanese retirement housing and a $2.85 million share of the world’s only aquaculture venture capital firm, Aquacopia Venture Partners.

One of the biggest assets listed by Rep. Dianne Black, R-Tenn., is a $5 million to $25 million stake in Aegis Sciences Corp., which her husband founded as a sports anti-doping laboratory at Vanderbilt University and is now a full-service forensic science company.

Some members dedicate significant holdings to their children.

A member of the education panel, Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., reports a majority (54 percent) of his total assets as various savings accounts and education plans designated for his four children. His portfolio is rounded out with a Pennsylvania state employee pension plan (39 percent) and a few banking and investment accounts (11 percent).

Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold of Texas, 47th
on the 50 Richest List, derives most of his net worth from a single trust set up by his grandmother to benefit his two children. The ABMH Management Trust is worth $5 million of his total net worth of $7.74 million.

Many members invest in the food and beverage industry.

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., has at least a $50,000 stake in the Churchill Coffee Company which describes itself as a “small batch roaster and retailer of fine coffees and teas” located in Springfield, Mo. His wife Abigail works for Kraft Foods.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., had $1,000 to $15,000 invested in The Boston Beer Company, the maker of Samuel Adams brand that he sold in December of last year.

The ‘poorest’ member of Congress, freshman Rep. David Valadao, R-Calif., operates several dairy farms, a business started by his parents after emigrating from Portugal’s Azores islands.

Other members have focused on the entertainment and media businesses — with some successes and failures.

A member of the 50 Richest list, freshman Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., invested in the low-budget comedy “Dumping Lisa” that did so poorly that “as of last year [it] was declared worthless.”

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., a screenwriter and comedian who appeared on “Saturday Night Live” and Comedy Central, reports his self-titled multimedia company is worth at least $500,000 and also includes a million-dollar profit-sharing plan. He still receives royalties from SNL songs and merchandise and books including, “Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot.”

Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., served as U.S. ambassador to Germany from 2001-05 and still invests in the Berlin-based Radio Paradiso, an easy-listening station.

Donald Sussman, the husband of Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, has a controlling stake in Maine’s largest newspaper company, Maine Today Media, which publishes the Portland Press Herald.

Sen. Herb Kohl, owner of the Milwaukee Bucks, retired at the end of the 112th Congress, but some current members still like to invest in professional sports teams.

Cindy McCain, the wife of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is a minority owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Her share of the company is worth between $500,000 and $1 million.

Another baseball team owner, Rep. James B. Renacci, R-Ohio, increased his stake in the Lancaster, Calif.-based JetHawks in 2012. The team also happened to win its first league championship last year. The businessman also co-owned the now-defunct arena football team the Columbus Destroyers.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and her husband had a $1 million to $5 million stake in the Sacramento Mountain Lions of the United Football League and also reported $50,000 to $100,000 in grape sales from a vineyard they own in St. Helena, Calif.

Another Californian, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, reported owning at least $1 million worth of OZ Fitness Inc., a health club chain in the Northwest.

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