PGI logo cropped.png
Congressional Millionaire’s Club
The Personal Gain Index shines a light on how members of Congress benefit during their tenure.





Difference between revisions of "Changes in Net Worth of U.S. Senators and Representatives (Personal Gain Index)"

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
(changing for consistency with graphic in article's body)
Line 3: Line 3:
 
For the first time in history, the majority of America's elected officials in Washington, D.C. are millionaires.<ref name=millionaires>[http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2014/01/millionaires-club-for-first-time-most-lawmakers-are-worth-1-million-plus.html ''OpenSecrets'', "Millionaires' Club: For First Time, Most Lawmakers are Worth $1 Million-Plus," January 9, 2014]</ref><ref>[http://www.opensecrets.org/pfds/ ''Open Secrets'', "Personal Financial Disclosures"]</ref> At the same time, 50 percent of Americans cannot pay for a $5,000 emergency.<ref>[http://www.edelmanfinancial.com/radio/june-21-2014/could-you-come-up-with-5000-in-an-emergency ''Edelman Financial'', "Could You Come Up with $5,000 in an Emergency?" June 21, 2014]</ref>
 
For the first time in history, the majority of America's elected officials in Washington, D.C. are millionaires.<ref name=millionaires>[http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2014/01/millionaires-club-for-first-time-most-lawmakers-are-worth-1-million-plus.html ''OpenSecrets'', "Millionaires' Club: For First Time, Most Lawmakers are Worth $1 Million-Plus," January 9, 2014]</ref><ref>[http://www.opensecrets.org/pfds/ ''Open Secrets'', "Personal Financial Disclosures"]</ref> At the same time, 50 percent of Americans cannot pay for a $5,000 emergency.<ref>[http://www.edelmanfinancial.com/radio/june-21-2014/could-you-come-up-with-5000-in-an-emergency ''Edelman Financial'', "Could You Come Up with $5,000 in an Emergency?" June 21, 2014]</ref>
  
The median American citizen<ref>As calculated by median net worth data</ref>  saw his or her [[Personal Gain Index: Household net worth (American citizen)|household net worth]] ''decrease'' from 2004 to 2012 by an annual average of 0.94 percent, while [[Household net worth (Member of Congress)|members of Congress]] experienced a median annual ''increase'' of 1.55 percent. Congress saw a total increase of $316.5 million in assets held by all members.<ref>$316,491,032.00 to be precise.</ref>
+
The median American citizen<ref>As calculated by median net worth data.</ref>  saw his or her [[Personal Gain Index: Household net worth (American citizen)|household net worth]] ''decrease'' from 2004 to 2012 by an annual average of 0.94 percent, while [[Household net worth (Member of Congress)|members of Congress]] experienced a median annual ''increase'' of 1.55 percent. Congress saw a total increase of $316.5 million in assets held by all members.<ref>$316,491,032.00 to be precise.</ref>
  
 
This page is about '''changes in net worth of U.S. Senators and Representatives''' during their time in office. The data goes from 2004 through 2012.
 
This page is about '''changes in net worth of U.S. Senators and Representatives''' during their time in office. The data goes from 2004 through 2012.
Line 17: Line 17:
 
[[File:GAIlogo.JPG|left|90px|link=Government Accountability Institute]]
 
[[File:GAIlogo.JPG|left|90px|link=Government Accountability Institute]]
 
::''See also: [[Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress)]]''
 
::''See also: [[Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress)]]''
Researchers at the [[Government Accountability Institute]] used data provided by ''OpenSecrets.org'' to calculate the change in net worth of each congressional incumbent from either 2004 or the year he or she was first elected, if that year was after 2004.<ref>''All data relating to the average net worth of individual members of congress from ''OpenSecrets.org''/ The Center for Responsive Politics is posted under a [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License].</ref>  
+
Researchers at the [[Government Accountability Institute]] used data provided by ''OpenSecrets.org'' to calculate the change in net worth of each congressional incumbent from either 2004 or the year he or she was first elected, if that year was after 2004.<ref>All data relating to the average net worth of individual members of congress from ''OpenSecrets.org''/ The Center for Responsive Politics is posted under a [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License].</ref>  
  
 
The tables and graphs on this page show some of the highlights of the study. The '''change in net worth''' information has also been added to each of [[List of current members of the U.S. Congress|Ballotpedia's profiles of the 535 congressional incumbents]]. The data also includes some former members, whose net worth would have been calculated at the end of their term in the [[112th Congress]]. 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. Because many members have been in office for longer than the eight years this study illustrates, the real change in net worth each member sees after initially taking office may be higher than the numbers in this data.  
 
The tables and graphs on this page show some of the highlights of the study. The '''change in net worth''' information has also been added to each of [[List of current members of the U.S. Congress|Ballotpedia's profiles of the 535 congressional incumbents]]. The data also includes some former members, whose net worth would have been calculated at the end of their term in the [[112th Congress]]. 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. Because many members have been in office for longer than the eight years this study illustrates, the real change in net worth each member sees after initially taking office may be higher than the numbers in this data.  
Line 37: Line 37:
  
 
The disclosures required on the '''PFD''' include:  
 
The disclosures required on the '''PFD''' include:  
*Income<ref>Outside, earned income that exceeds $200 must be reported. (Note that elected officials and senior staff may only earn outside income up to $26,100 a year. Some exceptions apply; for example, in the case of previously approved income and some book royalties and advances.)</ref>  
+
*Income<ref>Outside, earned income that exceeds $200 must be reported. (Note that elected officials and senior staff may only earn outside income up to $26,100 a year. Some exceptions apply; for example, in the case of previously approved income and some book royalties and advances).</ref>  
 
*Honoraria<ref>Elected officials and senior staff are prohibited from receiving honoraria for speeches, articles or appearances. In lieu of an honoraria, they may designate an amount to be donated to charity. Any such honoraria must be reported on the PFD by source and amount.</ref>  
 
*Honoraria<ref>Elected officials and senior staff are prohibited from receiving honoraria for speeches, articles or appearances. In lieu of an honoraria, they may designate an amount to be donated to charity. Any such honoraria must be reported on the PFD by source and amount.</ref>  
 
*Assets<ref>Assets held for investment or the production of income that were worth more than $1,000 at the end of the calendar year, must be reported.</ref>  
 
*Assets<ref>Assets held for investment or the production of income that were worth more than $1,000 at the end of the calendar year, must be reported.</ref>  
Line 43: Line 43:
 
*Liabilities<ref>Any liability or loan where the filer, their spouse or their dependent children owed more than $10,000 at any time during the calendar year.</ref>  
 
*Liabilities<ref>Any liability or loan where the filer, their spouse or their dependent children owed more than $10,000 at any time during the calendar year.</ref>  
 
*Positions<ref>Filers must disclose positions they hold with non-governmental organizations, except for their membership in religious, social, fraternal or political organizations.</ref>  
 
*Positions<ref>Filers must disclose positions they hold with non-governmental organizations, except for their membership in religious, social, fraternal or political organizations.</ref>  
*Agreements<ref>Conditions for re-employment, Severance payments, Buyout agreements, Profit-sharing plans</ref>  
+
*Agreements<ref>Conditions for re-employment, Severance payments, Buyout agreements, Profit-sharing plans.</ref>  
 
*Travel<ref>[Travel and travel-related reimbursements from a single source, valued at more than $305 in aggregate for the year and connected to official business and the source, dates, and purpose of the travel and itinerary.</ref>  
 
*Travel<ref>[Travel and travel-related reimbursements from a single source, valued at more than $305 in aggregate for the year and connected to official business and the source, dates, and purpose of the travel and itinerary.</ref>  
*Gifts<ref>Those from personal acquaintances, contributions to legal defense funds and commemorative items</ref>
+
*Gifts<ref>Those from personal acquaintances, contributions to legal defense funds and commemorative items.</ref>
 
====Exclusions in data====
 
====Exclusions in data====
 
From ''OpenSecrets.org'':
 
From ''OpenSecrets.org'':
Line 81: Line 81:
  
 
====Winner's Circle====
 
====Winner's Circle====
When the members who lost money during this time period are removed from the calculation<ref>I.e. had a negative percentage change</ref>, the growth in wealth among the "wealth gainers" stands out. If a member ''gains'', expect the gain to be large.<br>  
+
When the members who lost money during this time period are removed from the calculation<ref>I.e. had a negative percentage change.</ref>, the growth in wealth among the "wealth gainers" stands out. If a member ''gains'', expect the gain to be large.<br>  
 
'''The average yearly percentage increase for those members who increased their net worth was 43.6 percent.'''
 
'''The average yearly percentage increase for those members who increased their net worth was 43.6 percent.'''
  
Line 93: Line 93:
  
 
===Total average gains===
 
===Total average gains===
As compared to the yearly average gains, the total average gains percentage change looks at the total change between the first year data is available for each member<ref>The data starts in 2004 for any member who started either in 2004 or prior, or at a later year for anyone who was elected after 2004</ref> and the 2012 data. Although this data is harder to compare member-to-member because the starting year may be different, it still provides insight as to who experienced the most drastic total increases.
+
As compared to the yearly average gains, the total average gains percentage change looks at the total change between the first year data is available for each member<ref>The data starts in 2004 for any member who started either in 2004 or prior, or at a later year for anyone who was elected after 2004.</ref> and the 2012 data. Although this data is harder to compare member-to-member because the starting year may be different, it still provides insight as to who experienced the most drastic total increases.
  
 
====Ten greatest overall gains====
 
====Ten greatest overall gains====
Line 104: Line 104:
  
 
==Congress compared to American citizens==
 
==Congress compared to American citizens==
During this same period, 2004-2012, the median American household<ref>The citizen net worth data was calculated from figures from the United States Census Bureau. In keeping with the method of calculating congressional net worth, home equity was withheld from the figure. The figures reflect the ''median'' household holdings.</ref> saw an inflation-adjusted ''decrease'' of assets from $18,990 in 2004<ref>The 2004 figure was adjusted for inflation to 2012 dollars</ref> to $17,557 in 2012. This was an inflation-adjusted annual percentage change of -0.94 from 2004 to 2012.
+
During this same period, 2004-2012, the median American household<ref>The citizen net worth data was calculated from figures from the United States Census Bureau. In keeping with the method of calculating congressional net worth, home equity was withheld from the figure. The figures reflect the ''median'' household holdings.</ref> saw an inflation-adjusted ''decrease'' of assets from $18,990 in 2004<ref>The 2004 figure was adjusted for inflation to 2012 dollars.</ref> to $17,557 in 2012. This was an inflation-adjusted annual percentage change of -0.94 from 2004 to 2012.
 
Note that in order to have an apples-to-apples comparison between the household net worth of U.S. Congressmen and that of the American citizen, the value of equity in the citizen's personal residence was not taken into account in calculating the net worth of the average citizen, since the value of the personal residence of a Congressman is not included in their disclosure of their [[Household net worth (Member of Congress)|household net worth]].
 
Note that in order to have an apples-to-apples comparison between the household net worth of U.S. Congressmen and that of the American citizen, the value of equity in the citizen's personal residence was not taken into account in calculating the net worth of the average citizen, since the value of the personal residence of a Congressman is not included in their disclosure of their [[Household net worth (Member of Congress)|household net worth]].
 
{| cellpadding="2" style="border: 1px solid darkgray;" align="center"
 
{| cellpadding="2" style="border: 1px solid darkgray;" align="center"
! width="280" | Median annual congressional growth:<ref>This percentage reflects the median annual percentage growth of all members of Congress</ref>
+
! width="280" | Median annual congressional growth:<ref>This percentage reflects the median annual percentage growth of all members of Congress.</ref>
 
! width="280" | Median annual citizen growth:<ref>As stated above, this is the total change in the amount of assets the ''median'' American household had from 2004 to 2012 divided by the eight year span.</ref>
 
! width="280" | Median annual citizen growth:<ref>As stated above, this is the total change in the amount of assets the ''median'' American household had from 2004 to 2012 divided by the eight year span.</ref>
 
|- align="center"
 
|- align="center"
Line 200: Line 200:
  
 
===112th Congress freshmen===
 
===112th Congress freshmen===
From 2009 to 2012, the average net worth change of a freshman member of the [[112th United States Congress|112th Congress]] in ''three years''<ref>From their 2009 required candidacy filing to 2012</ref> was:
+
From 2009 to 2012, the average net worth change of a freshman member of the [[112th United States Congress|112th Congress]] in ''three years''<ref>From their 2009 required candidacy filing to 2012.</ref> was:
 
[[File:PGI percentage3.jpg|center|200px|link=Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress)]]
 
[[File:PGI percentage3.jpg|center|200px|link=Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress)]]
 
====The 2010 "Freshman 15"====
 
====The 2010 "Freshman 15"====

Revision as of 13:39, 14 July 2014

Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress)

Changes in Net Worth
The K-Street Metric
The Donation Concentration Metric
The Stock Oversight and Trades Metric

Related Content
Net worth of United States Senators and Representatives
Staff salaries of United States Senators and Representatives
Net worth (average citizen)Net worth (Congress)


For the first time in history, the majority of America's elected officials in Washington, D.C. are millionaires.[1][2] At the same time, 50 percent of Americans cannot pay for a $5,000 emergency.[3]

The median American citizen[4] saw his or her household net worth decrease from 2004 to 2012 by an annual average of 0.94 percent, while members of Congress experienced a median annual increase of 1.55 percent. Congress saw a total increase of $316.5 million in assets held by all members.[5]

This page is about changes in net worth of U.S. Senators and Representatives during their time in office. The data goes from 2004 through 2012.

This is the first part of the Personal Gain Index. The Personal Gain Index is a four-part study that examines the extent to which members of the U.S. Congress have individually prospered during their tenure as public servants. The Personal Gain Index is a collaborative effort of the Government Accountability Institute and Ballotpedia.


In this study, we look at changes in net worth during an incumbent's time in office. This allows us to:

  • See which incumbents had the largest gains in net worth
  • Compare the gains in net worth experienced by congressional incumbents with what happened to the net worth of the people they represent.

Methodology and notes

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

Researchers at the Government Accountability Institute used data provided by OpenSecrets.org to calculate the change in net worth of each congressional incumbent from either 2004 or the year he or she was first elected, if that year was after 2004.[6]

The tables and graphs on this page show some of the highlights of the study. The change in net worth information has also been added to each of Ballotpedia's profiles of the 535 congressional incumbents. The data also includes some former members, whose net worth would have been calculated at the end of their term in the 112th Congress. 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. Because many members have been in office for longer than the eight years this study illustrates, the real change in net worth each member sees after initially taking office may be higher than the numbers in this data.

Net Worth Metric graphic.png

Some incumbents experienced a net loss in net worth. When this is the case, it is expressed with a negative percent.

For the full set of data, please visit our Google spreadsheet here.

Congressional net worth

See also: Household net worth (Member of Congress)

Members of the United States Congress and candidates for Congress are required to file an annual Personal Financial Disclosure (PFD) on or before May 15 of every year.[7]

This requirement also extends to candidates for federal office, senior congressional staff, nominees for executive branch positions, Cabinet members, the president and vice president and Supreme Court justices. The "Ethics in Government Act of 1978" set this requirement. Additionally, anyone who handles political campaign funds for a U.S. Senator must file.[8]

The study is able to have figures for freshman members of the 113th Congress from 2011, despite their terms beginning in 2012, because they were required to file the PFD during their candidacy in 2011.

As a starting point, congressional financial disclosure forms use value ranges, rather than precise amounts, when reporting assets and liabilities. OpenSecrets.org gathers this information to build a range of potential values. For instance, if three assets are listed at a value range of $1,001-$15,000, the total range of assets would be listed as a minimum of $3,003 (3 X $1,001) and a maximum value would be $45,000 (3 X $15,000). OpenSecrets combines all assets and liability to form a total potential range of values, and then provides an average value as the best guess of each individual's net worth.[9] The earliest average was then adjusted for inflation. This data affords constituents the ability to see the real increase (or decrease) of each member's net worth.

The disclosures required on the PFD include:

Exclusions in data

From OpenSecrets.org:

Note that the ethics law does not require filers to report property, including personal residences, that is not held for investment purposes and does not produce income. The STOCK Act requires that the terms of all mortgages, including those on non-income producing personal residences, be disclosed. Mortgages reported on properties that were not listed as assets were excluded from the wealth calculations, but are displayed on our profiles of the corresponding officials. Even though they weren't required to do so, some filers did list the value of their personal residences; when they did, we included the information in our totals and detailed listings. Filers are required to report detailed listings and values of holdings that underlie an account. They occasionally also report the combined value of the account, in which case the combined value is omitted from calculations.

[19]

Average citizen net worth

See also: Personal Gain Index: Household net worth (American citizen)

An "Average Citizen" figure was calculated in order to allow us to compare the change in household net worth of a member of Congress to the changes in net worth over the same period experienced by the average citizen.

The Census Bureau, the source of the average citizen data, breaks down net worth into wealth categories. One of these categories is "equity in own home," but Ballotpedia did not factor the average citizen's home equity into this figure because the Congressional net worth does not require members to report property (including personal residences) that is not used for investment purposes.[21]

Net worth increases

Top 100

This chart shows the average yearly percentage change in net worth of the 100 congressional incumbents whose calculated net worth[22] divided by the number of years studied was the highest.[23]

  • The average increase in net worth in the Top 100 was 114% per year.[24]
  • Of the "Top 100", 56 are Republicans, 43 are Democrats and one is an Independent.
    • In total, the study looks at 320 Republicans, 296 Democrats and two Independents.

Rep. Chellie Pingree's dramatic net worth increase is due to her marriage. Because of this, Ballotpedia removed Pingree when calculating the averages for this study, while continuing to list her in the chart.

The study is able to have figures for freshman members of the 113th Congress from 2011, despite their terms beginning in 2012, because they were required to file Personal Finance Disclosure forms during their candidacies in 2011.

The Top 100 table includes a handful of politicians who left office during or after 2012.

Name Year elected Increase in average net worth
in dollars
Annual % increase
(rounded)[25]
Top 20: The average increase in net worth in the Top 20 was 422% a year, excluding Chellie Pingree.
Chellie Pingree (D-ME)[26] 2008 $40,450,969 73,039%
Pedro Pierluisi (D-PR) 2008 $2,657,074 1,707%
Patrick Murphy (D-FL) 2012 $2,979,329 1,449%
Marc Veasey (D-TX) 2012 $208,078 994%
Jeff Denham (R-CA) 2010 $14,950,520 661%
Judy Chu (D-CA) 2009 $2,114,405 539%
Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) 1992 $2,406,313 521%
Jerry McNerney (D-CA) 2006 $365,779 335%
Trey Gowdy (R-SC) 2010 $178,596 278%
Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) 2010 $162,818 211%
Ted Poe (R-TX) 2004 $413,795 161%
Mike Pence (R-IN)[27] 2000 $195,707 155%
Roy Blunt (R-MO) 1996-2008, 2010 $3,188,966 147%
Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) 1996 $2,752,664 144%
Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) 2002 $224,056 144%
Susan Collins (R-ME) 1996 $2,635,243 138%
Rob Wittman (R-VA) 2006 $704,340 117%
Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) 2004 $1,189,060 115%
Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) 1992 $686,995 109%
C. W. Bill Young (R-FL)[28] 1970 $366,275 93%
Total by party (1-20)
11 of the Top 20 are Republicans. 9 are Democrats.
Top 21-40: The average increase in net worth in the Top 40 was 240% a year; for those in spots 21-40, it was 68%.[24]
Frank Pallone (D-NJ) 1992 $3,864,650 87%
Steven Palazzo (R-MS) 2010 $804,060 84%
Ted Cruz (R-TX) 2012 $1,399,128 83%
Kerry Bentivolio (R-MI) 2012 $291,139 80%
Collin Peterson (D-MN) 1990 $1,380,192 78%
Martha Roby (R-AL) 2010 $661,156 77%
Martin Heinrich (D-NM) 2012 $135,563 77%
Steve Daines (R-MT) 2012 $10,532,917 76%
Jeff Landry (R-LA) 2010 $5,786,600 73%
Cory Gardner (R-CO) 2010 $89,730 71%
Mitch McConnell (R-KY) 1984 $19,106,612 64%
David Scott (D-GA) 2002 $627,632 60%
Robert Pittenger (R-NC) 2012 $20,513,031 60%
Sam Graves (R-MO) 2000 $2,935,098 58%
Tom Harkin (D-IA) 1984 $14,821,804 58%
James P. McGovern (D-MA) 1996 $2,629,891 57%
Eni F. H. Faleomavaega (D-AS) 1988 $416,914 56%
Randy Forbes (R-VA) 2001 $2,343,406 55%
Tony Cardenas (D-CA) 2012 $104,570 54%
Chip Cravaack (R-MN) 2010 $1,208,094 53%
Total by party (1-40)
23 of the Top 40 are Republicans. 17 are Democrats.
Top 41-60: The average increase in net worth in the Top 60 was 173% a year; for those in spots 41-60, it was 42%.[24]
Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) 2012 $2,079,350 52%
Richard Burr (R-NC) 2004 $2,542,341 52%
Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) 2012 $561,800 51%
Matt Salmon (R-AZ) 2012 $86,024 50%
Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) 1994 $750,245 49%
John Garamendi (D-CA) 2009 $4,297,396 46%
Mac Thornberry (R-TX) 1994 $346,015 43%
Trent Franks (R-AZ) 2003 $25,640,241 43%
Roger Williams (R-TX) 2012 $5,616,366 41%
Elijah Cummings (D-MD) 1996 $702,304 41%
Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ) 2012 $781,362 40%
Howard Berman (D-CA) 1982 $1,939,667 40%
John Olver (D-MA) 1991 $2,648,294 40%
Diana DeGette (D-CO) 1996 $1,444,000 40%
Ami Bera (D-CA) 2012 $1,437,149 39%
Ron Wyden (D-OR) 1996 $5,504,912 39%
Scott Tipton (R-CO) 2010 $3,366,748 37%
Randy Weber (R-TX) 2012 $220,074 36%
Brett Guthrie (R-KY) 2008 $884,543 36%
Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) 2010 $496,403 36%
Total by party (1-60)
32 of the Top 60 are Republicans. 28 are Democrats.
Top 61-80: The average increase in net worth in the Top 80 was 137% a year; for those in spots 61-80, it was 30%.[24]
John Boccieri (D-OH) 2008 $218,075 36%
James Lankford (R-OK) 2010 $120,497 35%
John Cornyn (R-TX) 2002 $511,937 34%
Jim Costa (D-CA) 2004 $2,804,672 34%
Reid Ribble (R-WI) 2010 $1,710,369 31%
Richard Nugent (R-FL) 2010 $556,807 31%
Michael McCaul (R-TX) 2004 $101,614,818 31%
Brian P. Bilbray (R-CA) 1995-2001, 2006-2013 $1,156,068 31%
Trey Radel (R-FL) 2012 $935,007 30%
Mark Pocan (D-WI) 2012 $176,039 30%
Bernie Sanders (I-VT) 2006 $320,123 29%
Richard Hudson (R-NC) 2012 $37,302 28%
Justin Amash (R-MI) 2010 $700,625 28%
Don Young (R-AK) 1973 $600,853 28%
John Yarmuth (D-KY) 2006 $13,202,242 28%
Frank Lucas (R-OK) 1994 $1,074,682 27%
Michael G. Fitzpatrick (R-PA) 2005-2006, 2010 $296,135 26%
Bob Gibbs (R-OH) 2010 $694,262 26%
Ron Barber (D-AZ) 2012 $237,624 26%
Dan Boren (D-OK) 2004 $1,479,090 26%
Total by party (1-80)
45 of the Top 80 are Republicans. 34 are Democrats.
Top 81-100: The average increase in net worth in the Top 100 was 114% a year; for those in spots 81-100, it was 22.2%.[24]
David Joyce (R-OH) 2012 $862,513 25%
John Hoeven (R-ND) 2010 $15,700,072 24%
Tim Kaine (D-VA) 2012 $269,522 24%
Jerry Costello (D-IL) 1988 $702,191 24%
Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) 1988 $99,182 24%
Jeff Sessions (R-AL) 1996 $4,589,580 23%
Tom Rice (R-SC) 2012 $1,010,090 23%
Pete Visclosky (D-IN) 1984 $873,376 23%
Madeleine Z. Bordallo (D-Guam) 2002 $3,296,405 22%
Paul Ryan (R-WI) 1998 $3,455,342 22%
Scott Peters (D-CA) 2012 $20,248,262 22%
Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) 1998 $149,707 22%
John Boozman (R-AR) 2010 $2,259,240 22%
Mike Kelly (R-PA) 2010 $5,444,290 21%
Ed Royce (R-CA) 1992 $243,438 21%
Max Baucus (D-MT) 1978 $322,591 21%
Todd Rokita (R-IN) 2010 $283,402 21%
Jim Matheson (D-UT) 2000 $1,112,497 20%
Donna Christian-Christensen (D-VI) 1996 $400,730 20%
Morgan Griffith (R-VA) 2010 $87,488 20%
Total by party (1-100)
56 of the Top 100 are Republicans. 43 are Democrats.

Negative to positive increases

Because the study focuses on percentage increases, a gap in the study it is difficult to determine a meaningful percentage for a member who had a starting net worth in the negatives but increased to a positive net worth by 2012. However, there were substantial increases in wealth of the members who fell into this category. For the 49 members who went from a negative net worth to a positive net worth, the average increase was $3.4 million per member.[29]

PGI percentage12.jpg

Full list

For a complete list of members and their net worth changes, please click "show" below.

For the full set of data, click here.

Average percentage increases

Yearly average gains

As illustrated in the "Top 100" chart above, the average yearly percentage gain was found by dividing each member's total net worth growth percentage by the number of years included in the calculation. For example, Sen. John McCain would have his net worth percentage divided by eight (2004-2012), since those are the years for which data is available for his net worth. For someone like Sen. Ted Cruz, however, his total net worth increase would be the same as his average yearly net worth increase, since the only available data is the increase between 2011 and 2012.

The average member saw his or her net worth increase by an average of 15.4 percent per year.

PGI percentage6.jpg

For the purpose of our comparison to the median American citizen data below, the median congressional increase was 1.55 percent per year.

Winner's Circle

When the members who lost money during this time period are removed from the calculation[35], the growth in wealth among the "wealth gainers" stands out. If a member gains, expect the gain to be large.
The average yearly percentage increase for those members who increased their net worth was 43.6 percent.

PGI percentage8.jpg

Millionaire's Club

Those in Congress who held assets above the median net worth of $1 million in 2012 also saw a hefty annual percentage increase.
Congressional millionaires had an average yearly percentage increase of 23.9 percent.

PGI percentage9.jpg

Total average gains

As compared to the yearly average gains, the total average gains percentage change looks at the total change between the first year data is available for each member[36] and the 2012 data. Although this data is harder to compare member-to-member because the starting year may be different, it still provides insight as to who experienced the most drastic total increases.

Ten greatest overall gains

The ten current senators and representatives listed below experienced the highest overall net worth gains (by percentage) from 2004-2012.[37]

CPGI-TOP-10-Graphic.png

Ten greatest overall losses

The ten current senators and representatives listed here experienced the greatest declines in net worth (by percentage) from 2004-2012.[37]

CPGI-BOTTOM-10-Graphic.png

Congress compared to American citizens

During this same period, 2004-2012, the median American household[38] saw an inflation-adjusted decrease of assets from $18,990 in 2004[39] to $17,557 in 2012. This was an inflation-adjusted annual percentage change of -0.94 from 2004 to 2012. Note that in order to have an apples-to-apples comparison between the household net worth of U.S. Congressmen and that of the American citizen, the value of equity in the citizen's personal residence was not taken into account in calculating the net worth of the average citizen, since the value of the personal residence of a Congressman is not included in their disclosure of their household net worth.

Median annual congressional growth:[40] Median annual citizen growth:[41]
PGI percentage11.jpg
PGI percentage7.jpg

American citizens

American Citizen Median value of assets for households - Census data
Raw figures Adjusted for inflation
Year Net worth excluding home equity Percent change (year to year) Net worth excluding home equity[42] Percent change (year to year)
2012[43] $17,298 N/A $17,557 -7.55%
2004 $15,561[44] 28.7% $18,990
Change from 2004 to 2012 $1,737 -26.76% -$1,433 -7.55%
Average yearly change over eight years ('04-'12) -0.94%[45]
Source: United States Census Bureau; Wealth and Asset Ownership; Detailed Tables on Wealth and Asset Ownership (http://www.census.gov/people/wealth/data/dtables.html)

Freshman increases

A limitation to the data set is that the whole picture of wealth growth while in Congress is unavailable for those members who entered office prior to 2004.

For example, Sen. John McCain, who has been in Congress since 1982, shows a total net worth decrease of -74.5 percent during the period of 2004-2012. However, what the study is missing is how much he was worth in 1982 compared to 2012.

For this reason, Ballotpedia studied the freshmen members of both the 113th Congress (which began in January 2012) and the 112th Congress (which began in January 2010). Although the 2012 freshmen only saw moderate growth after one year in office, the growth for the 112th freshmen was staggering. One could say that the new retirement plan is to get elected and then re-elected (that is the key) to Congress and you will be set for life.

113th Congress freshmen

From 2011 to 2012, the average net worth change of a freshman member of the 113th Congress in one year was:

PGI percentage2.jpg

The study is able to have figures for freshman members of the 113th Congress from 2011, despite their terms beginning in 2012, because they were required to file Personal Finance Disclosure forms during their candidacies in 2011.

The 2012 "Freshman 15"

The following 15 freshman senators and representatives of the 113th Congress saw their net worth increase the most out of their incoming class of new members:

Member Increase from 2011-12
Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX) 994.1%
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) 82.5%
Rep. Kerry Bentivolio (R-MI) 80.2%
Rep. Steve Daines (R-MT) 76%
Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI) 59.9%
Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC) 59.8%
Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-CA) 53.9%
Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) 52.3%
Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) 51.3%
Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) 50.2%
Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA) 45%
Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX) 41.4%
Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA) 38.9%
Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX) 35.9%
Rep. Trey Radel (R-FL) 29.8%

112th Congress freshmen

From 2009 to 2012, the average net worth change of a freshman member of the 112th Congress in three years[46] was:

PGI percentage3.jpg

The 2010 "Freshman 15"

The following 15 freshman representatives of the 112th Congress (no senators made the top 15 list) saw their net worth increase the most out of their incoming class of new members:

Member Increase from 2009-12
Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) 1981.6%
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) 633.9%
Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-MS) 251.7%
Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) 230.1%
Rep. Jeff Landry (R-LA) 219.5%
Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO) 212.2%
Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA) 210.9%
Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN) 160.3%
Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) 136.2%
Rep. Charlie Bass (R-NH) 136.2%
Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO) 111.9%
Rep. James Lankford (R-OK) 105.2%
Rep. Reid Ribble (R-WI) 94.1%
Rep. Rich Nugent (R-IL) 93.2%
Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) 83%

Amount of increase

The amount of assets held by individual members increased by a total of $316.5 million between 2004 (or later, depending on when the member joined Congress) and 2012.[47]

PGI percentage10.jpg

See also

External links

References

  1. OpenSecrets, "Millionaires' Club: For First Time, Most Lawmakers are Worth $1 Million-Plus," January 9, 2014
  2. Open Secrets, "Personal Financial Disclosures"
  3. Edelman Financial, "Could You Come Up with $5,000 in an Emergency?" June 21, 2014
  4. As calculated by median net worth data.
  5. $316,491,032.00 to be precise.
  6. All data relating to the average net worth of individual members of congress from OpenSecrets.org/ The Center for Responsive Politics is posted under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
  7. Members of Congress are permitted to ask for a three-month extension.
  8. Legistorm, "About LegiStorm's Financial Disclosures"
  9. OpenSecrets, "About the Personal Finances Data & CRP's Methodology"
  10. Outside, earned income that exceeds $200 must be reported. (Note that elected officials and senior staff may only earn outside income up to $26,100 a year. Some exceptions apply; for example, in the case of previously approved income and some book royalties and advances).
  11. Elected officials and senior staff are prohibited from receiving honoraria for speeches, articles or appearances. In lieu of an honoraria, they may designate an amount to be donated to charity. Any such honoraria must be reported on the PFD by source and amount.
  12. Assets held for investment or the production of income that were worth more than $1,000 at the end of the calendar year, must be reported.
  13. Filers must disclose the purchase, sale or exchange of any assets that amount to more than $1,000 in the calendar year in question.
  14. Any liability or loan where the filer, their spouse or their dependent children owed more than $10,000 at any time during the calendar year.
  15. Filers must disclose positions they hold with non-governmental organizations, except for their membership in religious, social, fraternal or political organizations.
  16. Conditions for re-employment, Severance payments, Buyout agreements, Profit-sharing plans.
  17. [Travel and travel-related reimbursements from a single source, valued at more than $305 in aggregate for the year and connected to official business and the source, dates, and purpose of the travel and itinerary.
  18. Those from personal acquaintances, contributions to legal defense funds and commemorative items.
  19. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  20. http://www.opensecrets.org/pfds/methodology.php
  21. OpenSecrets.org, "About the Personal Finances Data & CRP's Methodology," accessed July 8, 2014
  22. This figure represents the total percentage growth from either 2004 (if the member entered office in 2004 or earlier) or his or her first year in office (as noted in the chart below).
  23. The period studied is 2004-2012, or from the year the incumbent took office, if it was after 2004.
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 24.4 This calculation excludes Chellie Pingree.
  25. This number was found by dividing each member's total net worth growth percentage by the number of years included in the calculation. For example, for Chellie Pingree, her total net worth increase was divided by four, since it was calculated for four years (2008-2012). If the incumbent had been in office earlier than 2004, it would still only be divided by eight (2004-2012), since those are the only years for which we have data.
  26. Pingree's dramatic increase in net worth after her 2008 election was due to her 2010 marriage to billionaire Donald Sussman.
  27. Gov. Pence left Congress in 2012 to become the governor of Indiana.
  28. Rep. Young passed away on October 18, 2013.
  29. $3,403,112, to be precise.
  30. This number was found by dividing each member's total net worth growth percentage by the number of years included in the calculation. For example, for Chellie Pingree, her total net worth increase was divided by four, since it was calculated for four years (2008-2012). If the incumbent had been in office earlier than 2004, it would still only be divided by eight (2004-2012), since those are the only years for which we have data.
  31. Pingree's dramatic increase in net worth after her 2008 election was due to her 2010 marriage to billionaire Donald Sussman.
  32. Gov. Pence left Congress in 2012 to become the governor of Indiana.
  33. Rep. Young passed away on October 18, 2013.
  34. Percentage increase is not meaningful for this candidate as the initial average net worth is less than or equal to zero.
  35. I.e. had a negative percentage change.
  36. The data starts in 2004 for any member who started either in 2004 or prior, or at a later year for anyone who was elected after 2004.
  37. 37.0 37.1 Or from the year the incumbent was first elected, if that year was after 2004.
  38. The citizen net worth data was calculated from figures from the United States Census Bureau. In keeping with the method of calculating congressional net worth, home equity was withheld from the figure. The figures reflect the median household holdings.
  39. The 2004 figure was adjusted for inflation to 2012 dollars.
  40. This percentage reflects the median annual percentage growth of all members of Congress.
  41. As stated above, this is the total change in the amount of assets the median American household had from 2004 to 2012 divided by the eight year span.
  42. To ensure consistency among data sets, home equity was withheld in a similar fashion to primary residences not being counted as assets for congressional data.
  43. Because 2012 household net worth figures had not been released as of publication date, this figure represents the 2011 numbers adjusted for inflation. These estimates assume no change in net worth between 2011 and 2012. The 2012 figure will be updated when available.
  44. Census figures were unavailable for the raw, excluding home equity figure -- this figure is an estimate calculated by applying the 2005 ratio of net worth excluding home equity to the net worth figure available for 2004 (which included home equity).
  45. For a direct comparison to each individual member's figures (as shown on his or her Ballotpedia profile), the yearly change will correspond with each member's average yearly change.
  46. From their 2009 required candidacy filing to 2012.
  47. Because many members went from a negative net worth to a positive net worth between the years calculated, this figure is an important figure because, unlike the percentages averages that cannot include the negative to positive percentage increases, the total asset increase can figure in all members' asset growth.