In a struggling economy, Congress members saw their wealth grow

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) saw her net worth rise 62 percent last year, cementing her status as one of the wealthiest members of Congress. 

Pelosi was worth at least $35.2 million in the 2010 calendar year, according to a financial disclosure report released Wednesday. She reported a minimum of $43.4 million in assets and about $8.2 million in liabilities.

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For 2009, Pelosi reported a minimum net worth of $21.7 million.

Reports disclosing the assets and liabilities of lawmakers for the 2010 calendar year were released Wednesday. The forms can give a good estimate of lawmaker wealth, though they show ranges, and not precise values for stocks, pension plans, vacation homes and other assets.

Like Pelosi, other congressional leaders saw their wealth climb last year as the economy struggled to pull out of a recession while the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained more than 1,100 points.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) remained a multimillionaire, with a minimum net worth close to $2.1 million and zero liabilities in 2010. His 2009 minimum net worth was more than $1.8 million.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) reported at least $3.4 million in wealth, an almost 10 percent rise over the prior year. Reid had a minimum net worth of close to $3.1 million in 2009.

Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reported a minimum net worth of $9.8 million and remains one of the wealthiest lawmakers on Capitol Hill, according to his disclosure form. His minimum net worth grew close to 29 percent from a minimum of $7.6 million in 2009. 

Rep. Darrell Issa’s (R-Calif.) political clout grew with the chairmanship of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Issa is also one of the wealthiest people on Capitol Hill, and his disclosure report showed a minimum net worth of $220.4 million, more than 37 percent higher than in 2009.


Issa, the founder of car security system maker Directed Electronics, reported a minimum net worth of $160.1 million the previous year.

Pelosi saw her wealth rise due to some smart stock picks and real estate investments made by her husband, Paul.

Apple stock owned by Paul Pelosi rose from at least $500,000 in 2009 to $1 million in 2010. The minority leader’s husband also took a bigger stake in Matthews International Capital Management, worth at least $5 million last year, compared to $1 million in 2009. Paul Pelosi’s investment in some undeveloped residential real estate in Sacramento, Calif., jumped to at least $5 million in value.

Paul Pelosi also has sizable assets in the United Football League, including $1 million in a partnership interest in a Jacksonville, Fla., franchise and $5 million in a partnership interest for the Sacramento Lions.

McConnell’s wealth likewise rose in part to some smart plays in the stock market with his wife, former Bush administration Labor Secretary Elaine Chao. They exchanged some of their stock holdings for Vanguard 500 Index Admiral shares, with a value of at least $500,000.

Chao also gave several paid speeches, for which she was paid more than $1,000 per appearance, according to McConnell’s financial disclosure report. She spoke to the University of Illinois-Champaign, Corning Inc. and the American Chamber of Commerce in Chicago, among other groups.

Much of Reid’s wealth is wrapped up in land holdings in his home state of Nevada and in Arizona. Those holdings include 160 acres in Bullhead City, Ariz., worth at least $1 million. He also reported a loan to his campaign valued at at least $50,000.

As in 2009, Reid caught a Christmastime jet ride to Reno thanks to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) last year. Reported as a gift, its value was $14,500, as determined by Senate Ethics Committee staff. 

The financial disclosure forms revealed several other interesting tidbits. 

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) sold his villa in the Dominican Republic, which played a role in an ethics scandal that led to his censure by the House, according to his financial disclosure form. He received between $250,000 and $500,000 from the sale of the Punta Cana beach villa. 

The former Ways and Means Committee chairman was sanctioned last year for 11 violations of House ethics rules, including filing tax forms that failed to list income earned on his Dominican villa. 

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) got richer last year by marrying senior State Department aide Huma Abedin. The one asset listed to Weiner’s spouse, at least $100,000 in holdings in the NIH Credit Union, is the congressman’s biggest asset. 

Weiner is in treatment and on leave from the House after admitting to sending a lewd picture of himself to a woman who was not his wife. He also admitted to having inappropriate conversations with other women online and on the phone, some of which occurred after he married.

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Before his marriage to Abedin in July 2010, Weiner reported a minimum net worth of about $5,000 on his 2009 financial disclosure form.

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), a 2012 presidential candidate, sold at least $50,000 worth of stock in a gold mining company last year.

According to his disclosure report, Paul, who favors returning to the gold standard, signed off on a partial sale of his investment in Goldcorp Inc. but still owns at least $500,000 in assets tied up in the Vancouver-headquartered mining company. 

The congressman has hundreds of thousands of dollars tied up in several gold mining companies, including Barrick Gold Corp., Eldorado Gold Corp. and Iamgold Corp.

Paul reported a minimum net worth of $2.2 million in 2010.

The only other sitting member of Congress vying for the White House in 2012 — Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) — requested an extension to hand in her financial disclosure report. Bachmann’s form is now due July 15, according to House records.

Including Bachmann, 101 House lawmakers were granted an extension to file their financial disclosure forms. Twenty senators also have extensions.


—Rachel Leven and Jordan Fabian contributed to this report.