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 McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Defense: Trump tries to quell Russia furor | GOP looks to reassure NATO | Mattis open to meeting Russian counterpart Senate weighs new Russia response amid Trump backlash House passes bipartisan bill to boost business investment MORE (R-Ky.) — most of the leading contenders for the White House in 2016 missed the top 50.

Rep. Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanSenate Dems build huge cash edge in battlegrounds Kelly lobbied Republicans to rebuke Trump after Putin press conference: report Lobbying world 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 CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzO'Rourke calls for Trump's impeachment over Putin summit Wisconsin GOP Senate candidate rips his own parents for donations to Dems The Memo: Trump leaves chaos in his wake in UK MORE (R-Texas) posted wealth of $1.5 million.


Two other rising GOP stars, Sens. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulThe Nation editor: Reaction by most of the media to Trump-Putin press conference 'is like mob violence' Lewandowski: Trump-Putin meeting advances goal of world peace Rand Paul to travel to Russia after downplaying election meddling MORE (Ky.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioSenate weighs new Russia response amid Trump backlash Senate adds members to pro-NATO group McConnell reassures Europe on Russia 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 Robert WarnerSenate Dems press for info on any deals from Trump-Putin meeting Overnight Defense: Trump tries to quell Russia furor | GOP looks to reassure NATO | Mattis open to meeting Russian counterpart Hillicon Valley: Trump tries to quell Russia furor | Sparks fly at hearing on social media | First House Republican backs net neutrality bill | Meet the DNC's cyber guru | Sinclair defiant after merger setback 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 Ann WarrenSenate Dems protest vote on controversial court pick Dems call for hearings on Trump’s CFPB nominee to be put on hold Dems to propose legislation to prevent ICE from shackling pregnant women MORE (Mass.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandDems to propose legislation to prevent ICE from shackling pregnant women ‘Abolish ICE’ is going to hurt Democrats in the midterms 2020 Dems slam Trump over Putin presser 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 Forbes KerryJohn Kerry: Trump 'surrendered lock, stock and barrel' to Putin's deceptions Get ready for summit with no agenda and calculated risks Will Democrats realize that Americans are tired of war? 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 Kay DelBeneHillicon Valley: Deal reached on ZTE, but lawmakers look to block it | New encryption bill | Dems push Ryan for net neutrality vote | Google vows it won't use AI for weapons Lawmakers renew push to preempt state encryption laws Trade experts, lawmakers say NAFTA deal within reach 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 Calvin FlemingFive GOP lawmakers mulling bid to lead conservative caucus Coast Guard suspends search for missing Ohio plane Freedom Caucus member to bring up bill on impeaching IRS chief 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.

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

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