The economic recovery for many Americans remains slow — but not for our lawmakers! For the first time ever, as reported by Entrepreneur, a majority of U.S. Congress members have a net worth of $1 million or more.
At least 268 politicians out of Congress’ 534 members are millionaires, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. The median net worth of all the members of Congress, in 2012, was a whopping $1,008,767.
This is up from $966,000, in 2011, when only 257 members were millionaires.
Of course, Congress has always been far wealthier than your average American. “But the fact that now a majority of members — albeit just a hair over 50 percent — are millionaires represents a watershed moment at a time when lawmakers are debating issues like unemployment benefits, food stamps and the minimum wage,” the report revealed.
Voters, despite their dissatisfaction with Congress, are more inclined to support wealthy candidates to represent our interests in Congress, said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center. And not to mention how expensive it is to rally assistance and support for your campaign trail:
“Candidates need access to wealth to run financially viable campaigns, and the most successful fundraisers are politicians who swim in those circles to begin with,” Krumholz added.
The report also found that Democratic members of Congress were wealthier than their Republican counterparts. “Congressional Democrats had a median net worth of $1.04 million, while congressional Republicans had a median net worth of almost exactly $1 million.” Both sides saw a jump in net worth; these figures increased from $990,000 and $907,000, respectively.
The richest member in Congress was Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who oversees the House Oversight Committee and Government Reform Committee. With an average net worth $464 million in 2012, Issa is a self-made millionaire through his successful car alarm business.
The poorest member of Congress, Rep. David Valadao (R-Calif.), reported a net worth of negative $12.1 million in 2012. His debt is a result of loans for his family’s dairy farm. But don’t worry, his current financial state is much better than 2011 when he reported a net worth of negative $19 million.