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 McConnellBill Kristol resurfaces video of Pence calling Obama executive action on immigration a 'profound mistake' Winners and losers in the border security deal House passes border deal, setting up Trump to declare emergency MORE (R-Ky.) — most of the leading contenders for the White House in 2016 missed the top 50.

Rep. Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanRubio discovers Native American heritage through TV show Feminine hygiene products to be available to House lawmakers using congressional funds Former Ryan aide moves to K street 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 heading to Wisconsin amid 2020 speculation Senate approves border bill that prevents shutdown For 2020, Democrats are lookin’ for somebody to love MORE (R-Texas) posted wealth of $1.5 million.


Two other rising GOP stars, Sens. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGOP braces for Trump's emergency declaration Senate approves border bill that prevents shutdown Senate confirms Trump pick William Barr as new attorney general MORE (Ky.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioGOP braces for Trump's emergency declaration A year since Parkland: we have a solution Push for paid family leave heats up ahead of 2020 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 WarnerThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Lawmakers scramble as shutdown deadline nears Steel lobby's PR blitz can't paper over damaging effects of tariffs Drama hits Senate Intel panel’s Russia inquiry 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 WarrenWarren's 'ultra wealth' tax is misleading Hillicon Valley: New York says goodbye to Amazon's HQ2 | AOC reacts: 'Anything is possible' | FTC pushes for record Facebook fine | Cyber threats to utilities on the rise O’Rourke heading to Wisconsin amid 2020 speculation MORE (Mass.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandOn The Money: Trump to sign border deal, declare emergency to build wall | Senate passes funding bill, House to follow | Dems promise challenge to emergency declaration O’Rourke heading to Wisconsin amid 2020 speculation 2020 Dems slam Trump's plan to declare national emergency 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 KerryWarren taps longtime aide as 2020 campaign manager In Virginia, due process should count more than blind team support Trump will give State of Union to sea of opponents 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 DelBeneLobbying world Bustos elected to lead Democratic campaign arm Maloney drops out of Democratic campaign committee race 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 FlemingFormer congressmen, RNC members appointed to Trump administration roles Overnight Energy: Watchdog opens investigation into Interior chief | Judge halts Pruitt truck pollution rule decision | Winners, losers in EPA, Interior spending bill amendments Five GOP lawmakers mulling bid to lead conservative caucus 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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