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How many millionaires in Congress?

7:52 PM, Nov 16, 2011   |    comments
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U.S. Capitol

ATLANTA - How much better off are politicians in Congress than the rest of us?

Well, a lot more, according to some new figures from a non-partisan watchdog group.

An analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics of 2010 Congressional financial filings shows that nearly half (47%) in Congress are millionaires, compared to only 1% of all Americans.

The study compares median net worth, a figure based on income and assets offset by losses and debts.

The median net worth of Congress as a whole is close to a million dollars and generally continues to rise.

In the Senate the figure is $2.56-million, up 7.6% from 2009.

In the House it's $756,765, down 1% from 2009, but up 17% from 2008.

That compares to the median net worth of American households of $ 96,000 in 2009, which dropped 25% from 2007.

Some might think Republicans are the wealthiest, but not necessarily.

That's true in the House where 110 Republicans are millionaires, compared to 73 Democrats.

But in the Senate, Democrats are on top with 36 millionaires, compared to 30 Republicans.

What about Georgia's members?

Three of the 4 wealthiest are Republicans: Rep. Tom Price at just over $12-million, Sen. Johnny Isakson at just under $12-million, and Rep. Phil Gingrey at nearly $5-million, followed by Democrat Rep. John Barrow at nearly $3.8-million.

Only one of the 4 least wealthy Georgia members is a Republican: Rep. Lynn Westmoreland at $291,001, followed by Democrat Representatives, John Lewis at $72,004, Hank Johnson at Zero, and Sanford Bishop at negative $159,496.

Chances are members of Congress are even wealthier because their filings do not include things like government retirement benefits and personal property such as cars, art work and homes they live in.

Why should any of this matter?

Well, with the economy and the job market still in the red and with most Americans losing net worth, these numbers could play a role in next year's elections when we look at how our leaders' lives and fortunes compare to ours.

If you want to look up individual numbers for yourself, you can find them here.

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