Difference between revisions of "Government Accountability Institute"

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==See also==
==See also==
*[[Net worth of United States Senators and Representatives]]
*[[Net worth of United States Senators and Representatives]]
*[[United States Senate]]
*[[United States House of Representatives]]
==External links==
==External links==

Revision as of 08:12, 14 July 2014

Government Accountability Institute
Organization Profile
Type: 501(C)(3)
Founder(s):Peter Schweizer
Website:Official website
The Government Accountability Institute, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, is a group focused on identifying government corruption. The organization was founded and is led by Peter Schweizer.

The mission statement of the association is:

To investigate and expose crony capitalism, misues of taxpayer monies, and other government corruption or malfeasance.[1]

Congressional Personal Gain Index

The "Congressional Personal Gain Index" is a four-part measurement that illustrates the extent to which members of the U.S. Congress have personally benefited from their tenure as public servants.

It consists of four different metrics pioneered by the Government Accountability Institute:

The four metrics captured within the Personal Gain Index are:

The Net Worth Metric

  • Has a politician’s net worth had an abnormal increase? How does the increase in an incumbent’s net worth compare to the increase of other incumbents? How does it compare to the typical U.S. citizen?

The K-Street Metric

  • Where did the people hired into a congressional staff previously work? The K Street Metric is a report on how many staffers on each politician’s legislative staff were once employed by a lobbying firm.

Donation Concentration Metric

  • There are two objective measurements in the Donation Concentration Metric. One is the ratio of the top three donors to the incumbent’s campaign committee as a percent of total donations in the most recent applicable election cycle. The other is the ratio of the total dollar contributions from the top donating industry divided by total donations to the candidate.

Stock Oversight Authority Metric

  • This is a measure of how much of the incumbent’s portfolio is invested in industries over which the incumbent’s committee has oversight authority. It is derived by dividing the value of the investment in the “overseen industries” by the incumbent’s total portfolio value.

The "Changes in Net Worth" metric

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

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.[2] 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 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. For example, the marriage of Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) to billionaire Donald Sussman in 2010 dramatically altered her net worth numbers.

Top 100 net worth increases

This chart shows the average yearly percentage change in net worth of the 100 congressional incumbents whose calculated net worth[3] divided by the number of years studied was the highest.[4]

  • The average increase in net worth in the Top 100 was 114% per year.[5]
  • 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
Top 20: The average increase in net worth in the Top 20 was 422% a year, excluding Chellie Pingree.
Chellie Pingree (D-ME)[7] 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)[8] 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)[9] 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%.[5]
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%.[5]
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%.[5]
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%.[5]
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.[10]

PGI percentage12.jpg

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

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[11] 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.[12]


Ten greatest overall losses

The ten current senators and representatives listed here experienced the greatest declines in net worth (by percentage) from 2004-2012.[12]


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 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[13] 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%

Recent news

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

Government Accountability Institute News Feed

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See also

External links


  1. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. The period studied is 2004-2012, or from the year the incumbent took office, if it was after 2004.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 This calculation excludes Chellie Pingree.
  6. 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.
  7. Pingree's dramatic increase in net worth after her 2008 election was due to her 2010 marriage to billionaire Donald Sussman.
  8. Gov. Pence left Congress in 2012 to become the governor of Indiana.
  9. Rep. Young passed away on October 18, 2013.
  10. $3,403,112, to be precise.
  11. 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
  12. 12.0 12.1 Or from the year the incumbent was first elected, if that year was after 2004.
  13. From their 2009 required candidacy filing to 2012