Issa tops The Hill's 50 Wealthiest

The chief inquisitor of President Obama's White House is now Congress's richest man.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) saw his fortune rise to at least $355 million in 2012, enough to take the crown on The Hill's 50 Wealthiest list.

Issa, who made his riches with the Viper car security system, snatched the No. 1 spot away from Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), who came in second with a net worth of at least $101 million.

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Overall, the Republican Party has the edge on The Hill's list for the third year in a row, with 29 of the 50 lawmakers coming from the conservative side of the aisle.

Thirty-seven of the lawmakers on the list are from the House, with the remaining 13 coming from the Senate.

While several high-profile lawmakers are among the wealthiest — including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellOvernight Finance: White House says Trump left business | U.S. to pull out of TPP | Trump D.C. hotel bleeding cash McConnell to Dems: Work with us on GOP's 'formidable' challenges McCain: Trump's withdrawal from TPP a 'serious mistake' MORE (R-Ky.) — most of the leading contenders for the White House in 2016 missed the top 50.

Rep. Paul RyanPaul RyanObama's last law: TALENT Act will enhance government efficiency The new Congress's opportunity to turn the tide on abortions The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Wis.), the GOP's vice presidential candidate in 2012, reported a minimum net worth of $2.3 million, while conservative star Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzTrump's America: Businessmen in, bureaucrats out When Trump says 'Make America Great Again,' he means it Booker is taking orders from corporate pharmaceuticals MORE (R-Texas) posted wealth of $1.5 million.


Two other rising GOP stars, Sens. Rand PaulRand PaulDems blast Trump plans for deep spending cuts Trump team prepares dramatic cuts Paul, Lee call on Trump to work with Congress on foreign policy MORE (Ky.) and Marco RubioMarco RubioOvernight Energy: Senate panel clears Tillerson for State Senate panel votes to confirm Tillerson Overnight Defense: Trump nominates Air Force secretary | Tillerson gains support MORE (Fla.), reported more modest financial means. While Paul's wealth stood at about $455,000, Rubio was in the red with a negative net worth of roughly $190,000.

On the Democratic side, Sen. Mark WarnerMark WarnerObama's last law: TALENT Act will enhance government efficiency GOP, Dems hear different things from Trump Decaying DC bridge puts spotlight on Trump plan MORE (Va.) stood out among possible 2016 hopefuls with a minimum net worth of $88.5 million, good enough for third place on The Hill's list.

Two other Democrats in the 2016 discussion, Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenAT&T beefs up lobbying after merger proposal Sanders: I'll work with Trump on trade Poll: Warren could face rocky reelection path MORE (Mass.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandWomen's marches draw huge crowds as Trump takes office Lawmakers join women's marches in DC and nationwide Women's march takes over DC MORE (N.Y.), fell on opposite ends of the financial spectrum. While Warren reported a portfolio worth at least $3.9 million, Gillibrand was barely in the black with a net worth of $166,000.

The Hill's Wealthiest list bid farewell to some familiar faces this year.

John KerryJohn KerryFox News signs ex-Kerry adviser Marie Harf as contributor How Trump can defend the US against information warfare Week ahead: Early questions for Trump on cybersecurity MORE — a perennial contender for richest lawmaker thanks to his wife's ties to the Heinz ketchup fortune — left the Senate this year to serve as President Obama's secretary of State.

Ex-Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), owner of the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks and another regular on the list, decided to retire after last year's election.

And the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), who was the first full-time salesman for the payroll processing company Automatic Data Processing, died in 2013.

Taking their place are several lawmakers who are serving their first terms on Capitol Hill.

Among the new additions is Rep. Joseph Kennedy (D-Mass.), whose $15.2 million showing continues the tradition of having a wealthy member of the Kennedy clan in Congress.

Other first-timers include Rep. Suzan DelBeneSuzan DelBeneHouse group seeks alternatives on encryption fight Armani, Batali among guests at White House state dinner Lawmakers ask Lynch to help 'fine tune' evidence bill MORE (D-Wash.), a former Microsoft executive with wealth of at least $23.9 million; Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), a former businessman with $22.3 million; and Rep. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), a former tech entrepreneur with at least $9.2 million.

Other lawmakers earned a spot on the list after their assets climbed skyward.

Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) saw his share in Kentucky and Tennessee farmland and real estate spike, helping to give him a net worth of $8.2 million. Rep. John FlemingJohn FlemingCoast Guard suspends search for missing Ohio plane Freedom Caucus member to bring up bill on impeaching IRS chief GOP seeks to make it 52 MORE's (R-La.) wealth was $10.7 million in 2012 after his holdings in franchise development and properties soared in value.

But it's Issa who stands as king of Capitol Hill, thanks in no small part to the removal of $100 million in liabilities from his balance sheet on his 2012 form.

Issa listed several investment funds among his assets, including some that are worth more than $50 million each. He also has properties valued in the millions of dollars.

Before coming to Congress, Issa was a successful chief executive who founded Directed Electronics and served as chairman of the Consumer Electronics Association.

The runner-up on the list, McCaul, owes much of his wealth to family trusts. His wife, Linda, is the daughter of Clear Channel Communications founder Lowry Mays.

To come up with its rankings, The Hill used financial disclosure forms covering the 2012 calendar year. The reports are not perfect because they provide value ranges instead of exact figures.

The Hill adds up the low figures in each value range for every asset and liability. Then, the sum of a lawmaker's liabilities is deducted from the sum of his or her assets to calculate a minimum net worth.

Some lawmakers provide lengthy bank statements or investment reports with their annual financial statements. The Hill uses exact figures when possible.

The methodology is designed to provide a conservative estimate of a lawmaker's worth, and it's likely that many lawmakers, such as Issa and McCaul, are wealthier than their reports indicate.

Click below to view the slideshow.

— Meredith Bentsen, Amrita Khalid, Mike Lillis, Tianna Mañón, Talia Mindich, Alex Resnak and Katie Tank contributed to this report.

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