Bruce Braley

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Bruce Braley
Bruce Braley.jpg
U.S. House, Iowa, District 1
Former Representative
In office
January 3, 2007- January 3, 2015
PredecessorJim Nussle (R)
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 4, 2014
First electedNovember 7, 2006
Term limitsN/A
High schoolB.G.M. High School, Brooklyn, Iowa
Bachelor'sIowa State University
J.D.University of Iowa
Date of birthOctober 30, 1957
Place of birthGrinnell, Iowa
Net worth(2012) $811,035.50
Bruce Braley campaign logo
Bruce Braley (b. October 30, 1957, in Grinnell, IA) was previously a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives representing Iowa's 1st Congressional District. Braley was first elected to the U.S. House in 2006 and served four terms.

He chose not to run for re-election to the U.S. House in 2014 in order to run for Senate. Tom Harkin (D) announced he would retire at the end of his term, which left the seat open for the 2014 election.[1] He was defeated in the general election by Republican candidate Joni Ernst (R) on November 4, 2014.[2]

Braley joined a growing list of U.S. Congress incumbents not running for re-election in 2014.


Braley was born in 1957 in Grinnell, IA, and raised in Brooklyn, IA. He earned his B.A. from Iowa State University in 1980 and his J.D. from University of Iowa Law School in 1983. Prior to his political career, Braley was a practicing attorney.[3] In 1983, Bradley married Carolyn Kalb and moved to Waterloo, Iowa.[4]


Committee assignments

U.S. House


Braley served on the following committees:[6][7]


Braley served on the following committees:[8]

Key votes

113th Congress


The second session of the 113th Congress enacted into law 114 out of the 3,036 introduced bills (3.8 percent). Comparatively, the 112th Congress had 4.2 percent of introduced bills enacted into law in the second session.[9] For more information pertaining to Braley's voting record in the 113th Congress, please see the below sections.[10]

National security

DHS Appropriations

Yea3.png Braley voted in favor of HR 2217 - the DHS Appropriations Act of 2014. The bill passed the House on June 6, 2013, with a vote of 245 - 182 and was largely along party lines.[11]

Keystone Pipeline Amendment

Yea3.png Braley voted in favor of House Amendment 69, which would have amended HR 3 to "require that the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security, conduct a study of the vulnerabilities of the Keystone XL pipeline to a terrorist attack and certify that necessary protections have been put in place." The amendment failed on May 22, 2013, with a vote of 176 - 239 and was largely along party lines.[11]

CISPA (2013)

Nay3.png Braley voted against HR 624 - the CISPA (2013). The bill passed the House on April 18, 2013, with a vote of 288 - 127. The bill permitted federal intelligence agencies to share cybersecurity intelligence and information with private entities and utilities.[12] The bill was largely supported by Republicans, but divided the Democratic Party.[11]


Yea3.png Braley voted in support of HR 1960 - the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014. The bill passed the House on June 14, 2013, with a vote of 315 - 108. Both parties were somewhat divided on the vote.[11]


Farm bill

Yea3.png On January 29, 2014, the U.S. House approved the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, H.R. 2642, also known as the Farm Bill.[13] The bill passed by a vote of 251-166. The nearly 1,000-page bill reformed and continued various programs of the Department of Agriculture through 2018. The $1 trillion bill expanded crop insurance for farmers by $7 billion over the next decade and created new subsidies for rice and peanut growers that would kick in when prices drop.[14][15] However, cuts to the food stamp program cut an average of $90 per month for 1.7 million people in 15 states.[15] Braley voted with 88 other Democratic representatives in favor of the bill.

2014 Budget

Yea3.png On January 15, 2014, the Republican-run House approved H.R. 3547, a $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund the government through September 30, 2014.[16][17] The House voted 359-67 for the 1,582 page bill, with 64 Republicans and three Democrats voting against the bill.[17] The omnibus package included 12 annual spending bills to fund federal operations.[18] It included a 1 percent increase in the paychecks of federal workers and military personnel, a $1 billion increase in Head Start funding for early childhood education, reduced funding to the Internal Revenue Service and the Environmental Protection Agency, and the protection of the Affordable Care Act from any drastic cuts. Braley joined with the majority of the Democratic party and voted in favor of the bill.[16][17]

Government shutdown

See also: United States budget debate, 2013

Nay3.png On September 30, 2013, the House passed a final stopgap spending bill before the shutdown went into effect. The bill included a one-year delay of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate and would have also stripped the bill of federal subsidies for congressional members and staff. It passed through the House with a vote of 228-201.[19] At 1 a.m. on October 1, 2013, one hour after the shutdown officially began, the House voted to move forward with going to a conference. In short order, Sen. Harry Reid rejected the call to conference.[20] Braley voted against the stopgap spending bill that would have delayed the individual mandate.[21]

Yea3.png The shutdown ended on October 16, 2013, when the House took a vote on HR 2775 after it was approved by the Senate. The bill to reopen the government lifted the $16.7 trillion debt limit and funded the government through January 15, 2014. Federal employees also received retroactive pay for the shutdown period. The only concession made by Senate Democrats was to require income verification for Obamacare subsidies.[22] The House passed the legislation shortly after the Senate, by a vote of 285-144, with all 144 votes against the legislation coming from Republican members. Braley voted for HR 2775.[23]


Source: This graphic was generated by Find The Best.

Morton Memos Prohibition

Nay3.png Braley voted against House Amendment 136 - Prohibits the Enforcement of the Immigration Executive Order. The amendment was adopted by the House on June 6, 2013, with a vote of 224 - 201. The purpose of the amendment as stated on the official text is to "prohibit the use of funds to finalize, implement, administer, or enforce the Morton Memos." These memos would have granted administrative amnesty to certain illegal aliens residing in the United States. The vote largely followed party lines.[11]


Healthcare Reform Rules

Nay3.png Braley voted against House Amendment 450 - Requires Congressional Approval for Any Rules Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The amendment was adopted by the House on August 2, 2013, with a vote of 227-185. The amendment requires all changes to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act be approved by Congress before taking effect. The vote was largely along party lines.[11]

Keep the IRS Off Your Healthcare Act

Nay3.png Braley voted against HR 2009 - Keep the IRS Off Your Healthcare Act of 2013. The bill passed through the House on August 2, 2013, with a vote of 232-185. The bill would prevent the IRS and Treasury Secretary from enforcing the powers provided to them in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The vote largely followed party lines.[11]

Social issues

Amash amendment

Yea3.png Braley voted in favor of House Amendment 413 - Prohibits the National Security Agency from Collecting Records Under the Patriot Act. The amendment failed on July 4, 2013, by a vote of 205-217. The amendment would have prohibited the collection of records by the National Security Agency under the Patriot Act. Both parties were split on the vote.[11]

Previous congressional sessions

Fiscal Cliff

Yea3.png Braley voted for the fiscal cliff compromise bill, which made permanent most of the Bush tax cuts originally passed in 2001 and 2003 while also raising tax rates on the highest income levels. He was one of 172 Democrats who voted in favor of the bill. The bill was passed in the House by a 257 - 167 vote on January 1, 2013.[24]


On The Issues Vote Match

Bruce Braley's Vote Match results from On The Issues.
See also: On The Issues Vote Match

On The Issues conducts a VoteMatch analysis of elected officials based on 20 issue areas. Rather than relying on incumbents to complete the quiz themselves, the VoteMatch analysis was conducted using voting records, statements to the media, debate transcripts or citations from books authored by or about the candidate. Based on the results of the quiz, Braley is a Liberal Populist. Braley received a score of 52 percent on social issues and 5 percent on economic issues.[25]

On The Issues organization logo.

The table below contains the results of analysis compiled by staff at On The Issues.

On The Issues Vote Quiz[26]
Economic Issues Social Issues
Issue Stance Issue Stance
Legally require hiring women & minorities Strongly Favors Abortion is a woman's unrestricted right Strongly Favors
Expand ObamaCare Strongly Favors Comfortable with same-sex marriage Strongly Favors
Vouchers for school choice Strongly Opposes Keep God in the public sphere Opposes
Absolute right to gun ownership Unknown Human needs over animal rights Strongly Opposes
Higher taxes on the wealthy Strongly Favors Stricter punishment reduces crime Opposes
Support & expand free trade Strongly Opposes Pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens Strongly Opposes
Stricter limits on political campaign funds Strongly Favors Maintain US sovereignty from UN Strongly Opposes
Prioritize green energy Strongly Favors Expand the military Opposes
Stimulus better than market-led recovery Strongly Favors Stay out of Iran Favors
Privatize Social Security Strongly Opposes Never legalize marijuana Strongly Favors
Note: Information last updated: 2014.[25] If you notice the rating has changed, email us.

National security

American response in Syria

See also: United States involvement in Syria

More than 100 House lawmakers signed a letter urging President Barack Obama to call Congress back into session if he planned to use military force in Syria.[27]

Rep. Scott Rigell wrote in the letter in August 2013, “engaging our military in Syria when no direct threat to the United States exists and without prior congressional authorization would violate the separation of powers that is clearly delineated in the Constitution.”[27][28]

The members of Congress believed that Obama should have asked Congress for permission before engaging in Libya. The letter asked, “If the use of 221 Tomahawk cruise missles, [sic] 704 Joint Direct Attack Munitions, and 42 Predator Hellfire missiles expended in Libya does not constitute ‘hostilities,’ what does?”[28]

The letter stated, “If you deem that military action in Syria is necessary, Congress can reconvene at your request. We stand ready to come back into session, consider the facts before us, and share the burden of decisions made regarding U.S. involvement in the quickly escalating Syrian conflict."[28]

A total of 98 Republicans signed the letter. Braley was one of 18 Democratic members to sign the letter.[28]

Campaign issues


Braley's campaign website listed the following issues:

Jobs & Economy: Protecting the right to organize for better and safer working conditions is important to Bruce. He took a strong stance against attempts to curb collective bargaining rights and has voted for legislation in Congress to improve worker safety in numerous fields of work.

Bruce also understands that Iowa’s small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy. By helping to strengthen small businesses, we can strengthen job opportunities for every Iowan.

Healthcare: All Iowans deserve quality, affordable healthcare that provides families with health security. Iowans can’t afford to go back to the days when insurance companies could deny people insurance based on pre-existing conditions, or kick people off their insurance when they got sick, or increase premiums with no justification.

Veterans: Bruce Braley believes that our country should support our troops not only when they’re fighting abroad, but when they return home. That’s why he’s worked so hard for America’s military veterans. Braley introduced and passed a law to give tax breaks to companies that hire veterans returning from duty, unemployed veterans, and wounded warriors. Braley also successfully took on the Pentagon to secure overdue combat pay for 800 Iowa National Guard troops who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, and helped secure full GI Bill education benefits that were initially denied to 600 Iowa National Guard soldiers[29]



See also: United States Senate elections in Iowa, 2014

Braley ran for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by veteran Sen. Tom Harkin. Harkin announced his retirement following his term, leaving the seat open for the 2014 election.[30][31] Braley ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate in the 2014 elections in Iowa. He was defeated in the general election by Republican candidate Joni Ernst on November 4, 2014.

U.S. Senate, Iowa General Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngJoni Ernst 52.1% 588,575
     Democratic Bruce Braley 43.8% 494,370
     Libertarian Douglas Butzier 2.4% 26,815
     Independent Rick Stewart 0.7% 8,232
     Independent Ruth Smith 0.5% 5,873
     Independent Bob Quast 0.4% 4,724
     Write-in Other 0.1% 1,111
Total Votes 1,129,700
Source: Iowa Secretary of State Official Results


Retiring Sen. Tom Harkin formally endorsed Braley as his replacement.[32] In a statement on April 20, 2013, Harkin endorsed the him, saying "Braley has fought for working people and the struggling middle class."[32]

Other endorsements included Democrats Iowa Rep. Dave Loebsack, former congressman Leonard Boswell, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald.[32]

At Tom Harkin's 36th Annual Steak Fry in September 2013, the proceeds of which went toward To Organize a Majority PAC, several key Democratic members endorsed Braley for Harkin's seat.[33]

“Folks, you have been so kind and generous to me in all of the years I have represented you in both the House and 30 years in the Senate,” Tom Harkin said. “I want you to know there is only one person I want to pass that baton to, and that’s our next United States’ senator, Bruce Braley.”[33]

Vice President Joe Biden also endorsed Braley.[33]“I’ve gotten to get to know Bruce,” Biden said. “Tom admires him, and it’s why I think he is going to be a great senator. He is absolutely authentic. I told Bruce I would come campaign for him or against him, whichever would help him most.”[33]

Gabrielle Giffords, and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, took part in a fundraiser in Des Moines on October 27, 2013.[34]

Washington Post top 10 races

According to an analysis by The Washington Post, the U.S. Senate election in Iowa was considered one of the top 10 Senate races of 2014. By late 2013 Republican candidate fundraising had not put up impressive fundraising. However, Rep. Braley had been continuing to put up high numbers.[35]


See also: Iowa's 1st Congressional District elections, 2012

Braley ran in the 2012 election for the U.S. House to represent Iowa's 1st District. Braley won the nomination on the Democratic ticket.[36] Braley ran unopposed in the Democratic primary. He defeated Ben Lange in the general election, who defeated Rod Blum in the Republican Primary.[37] Candidates wishing to run were required to file by the signature filing deadline of March 16, 2012. The primary elections took place on June 5, 2012.

U.S. House, Iowa District 1 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngBruce Braley Incumbent 56.9% 222,422
     Republican Ben Lange 41.6% 162,465
     Independent Gregory Hughes 1.2% 4,772
     Independent George Todd Krail II 0.2% 931
Total Votes 390,590
Source: Iowa Secretary of State "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"

Race Background

Braley defeated 2012 challenger Ben Lange in 2010 general election. Braley won by approximately 2% of the vote.[38]


Braley was been very vocal in his support of a wind energy tax credit in Iowa that was set to expire in 2013.[39] A full list of Braley's policy positions were available on his campaign website.[40]

On August 1, 2012, Ben Lange filed an ethics complaint against Braley, on the ground that he had used government resources to aid his campaign by inviting voters to "Deficit Workshops." John Davis, Bradley's Chief of Staff, described the claim as "without merit."[41]


The following was a political TV ad launched by Bruce Braley's campaign.

Ben Lange, "Brooklyn, Iowa"[42]

Full history

Campaign donors

Fundraising events

The below chart from Find The Best tracks the fundraising events Braley attends.

Source: This graphic was generated by Find The Best.

Comprehensive donor history

Comprehensive donor information for Braley is available dating back to 2006. Based on available campaign finance records, Braley raised a total of $8,421,503 during that time period. This information was last updated on March 17, 2013.[46]

Bruce Braley's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 U.S. House (Iowa, District 1) Won $2,687,007
2010 U.S. House (Iowa, District 1) Won $2,098,471
2008 U.S. House (Iowa, District 1) Won $1,150,967
2006 U.S. House (Iowa, District 1) Won $2,485,058
Grand Total Raised $8,421,503

Source: This graphic was generated by Find The Best.


Candidates for Congress were required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Braley's reports.[47]


Braley won re-election to the U.S. House in 2012. During that election cycle, Braley's campaign committee raised a total of $2,687,007 and spent $2,664,440.[55] This was more than the average $1.5 million spent by House winners in 2012.[56]

Cost per vote

Braley spent $11.98 per vote received in 2012.


Braley won re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010. During that re-election cycle, Braley's campaign committee raised a total of $2,098,471 and spent $2,357,364.[57]

Personal Gain Index

Congressional Personal Gain Index graphic.png
See also: Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress)

The Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress) is a two-part measurement that illustrates the extent to which members of the U.S. Congress have prospered during their tenure as public servants.
It consists of two different metrics:

PGI: Change in net worth

See also: Changes in Net Worth of U.S. Senators and Representatives (Personal Gain Index) and Net worth of United States Senators and Representatives
Net Worth Metric graphic.png

Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by, Braley's net worth as of 2012 was estimated between $216,071 and $1,406,000. That averages to $811,035.50, which is lower than the average net worth of Democratic representatives in 2012 of $5,700,168.36. Braley ranked as the 229th most wealthy representative in 2012.[58] Between 2006 and 2012, Braley's calculated net worth[59] increased by an average of 4 percent per year. Between 2004 and 2012, the average annual percentage increase for a member of Congress was 15.4 percent.[60]

Bruce Braley Yearly Net Worth
YearAverage Net Worth
Growth from 2006 to 2012:25%
Average annual growth:4%[61]
Comparatively, the American citizen experienced a median yearly decline in net worth of -0.94%.[62]
The data used to calculate changes in net worth may include changes resulting from assets gained through marriage, inheritance, changes in family estates and/or trusts, changes in family business ownership and many other variables unrelated to a member's behavior in Congress.

PGI: Donation Concentration Metric

See also: The Donation Concentration Metric (U.S. Congress Personal Gain Index)

Filings required by the Federal Election Commission report on the industries that give to each candidate. Using campaign filings and information calculated by, Ballotpedia calculated the percentage of donations by industry received by each incumbent over the course of his or her career (or 1989 and later, if elected prior to 1988). Braley received the most donations from individuals and PACs employed by the Lawyers/Law Firms industry.

From 2005-2014, 39.28 percent of Braley's career contributions came from the top five industries as listed below.[63]

Donation Concentration Metric graphic.png
Bruce Braley Campaign Contributions
Total Raised $15,546,446
Total Spent $12,772,031
Top five industries that contributed to campaign committee
Lawyers/Law Firms$4,207,645
Leadership PACs$727,642
Health Professionals$461,418
Public Sector Unions$385,700
% total in top industry27.06%
% total in top two industries31.75%
% total in top five industries39.28%


Ideology and leadership

See also: GovTrack's Political Spectrum & Legislative Leadership ranking

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Braley was a "rank-and-file Democrat," as of July 31, 2014. This was the same rating Braley received in June 2013.[64]

Like-minded colleagues

The website OpenCongress tracks the voting records of each member to determine with whom he or she votes most and least often. The results include a member from each party.[65]

Braley most often voted with:

Braley least often voted with:

Source: This graphic was generated by Find The Best.

Lifetime voting record

See also: Lifetime voting records of United States Senators and Representatives

According to the website GovTrack, Braley missed 306 of 6,245 roll call votes from January 2007 to July 2014. This amounts to 4.9 percent, which was worse than the median of 2.5 percent among current congressional representatives as of July 2014.[66]

Congressional staff salaries

See also: Staff salaries of United States Senators and Representatives

The website Legistorm compiles staff salary information for members of Congress. Braley paid his congressional staff a total of $1,068,191 in 2011. He ranked 73rd on the list of the highest paid Democratic representative staff salaries and ranked 94th overall of the highest paid representative staff salaries in 2011. Overall, Iowa ranked 16th in average salary for representative staff. The average U.S. House of Representatives congressional staff was paid $954,912.20 in fiscal year 2011.[67]

National Journal vote ratings

See also: National Journal vote ratings

Each year National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted in the previous year.


Braley ranked 108th in the liberal rankings in 2013.[68]


Braley ranked 102nd in the liberal rankings in 2012.[69]


Braley ranked 87th in the liberal rankings in 2011.[70]

Voting with party

The website OpenCongress tracks how often members of Congress vote with the majority of the chamber caucus.


Braley voted with the Democratic Party 90.1 percent of the time, which ranked 156th among the 204 House Democratic members as of July 2014.[71]


Braley voted with the Democratic Party 94.1 percent of the time, which ranked 125th among the 201 House Democratic members as of June 2013.[72]


Braley and his wife Carolyn (nee Kalb) have been married since 1983. They have three children and live in Waterloo, IA.[73]

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term Bruce + Braley + Iowa + House

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Bruce Braley News Feed

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See also

External links

Political Tracker has an article on:
Bruce Braley

Political offices
Preceded by
Jim Nussle
U.S. House of Representatives - Iowa District 1
Succeeded by
Rod Blum


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  2. Politico, "Senate Election Results," accessed November 12, 2014
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  4. Bruce Braley, "Biography," accessed November 5, 2011
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  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 11.7 Project Vote Smart, "Bruce Braley Key Votes," accessed October 11, 2013
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  23. U.S. House, "Final vote results for Roll Call 550," accessed October 31, 2013
  24. U.S. House, "Roll Call Vote on the Fiscal Cliff," accessed January 4, 2013
  25. 25.0 25.1 On The Issues, "Bruce Braley Vote Match," accessed June 30, 2014
  26. The questions in the quiz are broken down into two sections -- social and economic. In social questions, liberals and libertarians agree in choosing the less-government answers, while conservatives and populists agree in choosing the more restrictive answers. For the economic questions, conservatives and libertarians agree in choosing the less-government answers, while liberals and populists agree in choosing the more restrictive answers.
  27. 27.0 27.1 Yahoo, "65 Lawmakers Ask Obama to Consult on Syria," accessed August 28, 2013
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 Politico, "33 lawmakers: Congress must approve Syria action," accessed August 28, 2013
  29. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
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  31. The Des Moines Register, "Vilsack will not seek U.S. Senate seat in 2014," accessed February 15, 2013
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 WCF Courier, "Harkin endorses Braley for Iowa US Senate seat," accessed April 25, 2013 (dead link)
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 33.3 Iowa State Daily, "Joe Biden endorses Bruce Braley’s campaign for senator at Tom Harkin's Steak Fry," accessed September 16, 2013
  34. Huffington Post, "Gabrielle Giffords To Campaign For Bruce Braley," accessed September 16, 2013
  35. The Washington Post, "The Fix’s top 10 Senate races of 2014," accessed December 10, 2013
  36. The Iowa Republican, "Ben Lange Prepares to make another run at Braley," accessed December 16, 2011
  37. KCCI, "Iowa Primary Results," accessed 2012
  38. WCF Courier, "Lange wins GOP nomination and rematch with Braley," accessed 2012
  39., "Iowa delegation reacts harshly to Siemens layoffs," accessed 2012
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  42. YouTube channel, "Video," accessed 2012
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  57. Open Secrets, "Bruce Braley 2010 Election Cycle," accessed November 5, 2011
  58. OpenSecrets, "Braley (D-IA), 2012," accessed February 18, 2014
  59. This figure represents the total percentage growth from either 2004 (if the member entered office in 2004 or earlier) or their first year in office (as noted in the chart below).
  60. This number was found by dividing each member's total net worth growth percentage by the number of years included in the calculation.
  61. This figure represents the total percentage growth divided by the number of years for which there are net worth figures for each member.
  62. This figure was calculated using median asset data from the Census Bureau. Please see the Congressional Net Worth data for Ballotpedia spreadsheet for more information on this calculation.
  63., "Rep. Bruce Braley," accessed September 24, 2014
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