U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Austin) is among the eight congressional members with an average wealth of at least $100 million in 2009, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tyler) was near the bottom of the list ranked by personal wealth.
Nearly half of the 535 members U.S. senators and representatives — 261 — had an average personal wealth of $1 million or more, according to the watchdog site. Collectively, congressional members’ personal wealth increased by more than 16 percent between 2008 and 2009. The median wealth in 2009 for a representative was $765,010; for a senator, $2.38 million; and, overall, $911,510. Congressional members’ incomes peaked in 2007 before dropping more than 5 percent in 2008.
The estimated value of McCaul’s personal assets in 2009 ranged from $73.7 million to $201.5 million, giving him an average wealth of $137.6 million. That’s nearly double his average wealth in 2008 of $69.6 million. McCaul’s father-in-law is Clear Channel Communications founder and chairman Lowry Mays.
On the other hand, Gohmert’s average wealth was in the negatives, with between $200,000 and $100,002 in liabilities (in the form of a personal loan and a loan for his children’s college). His average wealth of -$150,000 represents an increase from his 2008 average wealth of -$250,000. Prior to joining Congress, Gohmert was a district judge and appellate justice.
CRP notes the limitations of its analysis: “In addition to only requiring congressional members to report their assets in ranges, federal financial disclosures don’t require members of Congress to report certain assets such as personal residences, which may represent significant stores of wealth.”
The estimated wealth of some lawmakers, such as U.S. Rep. Pete Olson (R-Sugar Land) fluctuate wildly from year to year.
In 2009, Olson’s estimated wealth was between $710,035 and $2.1 million, for an average of $1.4 million. In 2008, his wealth was between -$493,969 and $664,998, for an average of $85,500. In 2007, Olson’s wealth was between $1.0 million and $2.5 million, for an average of $1.8 million.
That mean’s Olson’s average wealth dropped 95 percent from 2007 to 2008 but soared 1,537 percent from 2008 to 2009, resulting in a net loss of 29 percent from 2007 to 2009. Olson’s totals were also affected by the presence of two mortgage loans in his 2008 report (totaling between $350,002 and $750,000) that do not appear on Olson’s records for 2009.
In 2007, Olson reported having a mortgage loan out for a rental property in Annandale, Va., but the report does not list the amount of the liability. In 2008, Olson reported the rental property mortgage loan to be between $100,001 and $250,000 — in addition to another mortgage loan (between $100,001 and $250,000) for a property in Sugar Land that he sold in 2009.
(Photo: Flickr Creative Commons/AMagill)Tags: Center for Responsive Politics, louie gohmert, Michael McCaul, open secrets, pete olson