The personal wealth of members of Congress collectively increased by 16 percent between 2008 and 2009, even as the economic downturn eliminated millions of jobs for ordinary Americans, according to a study by the Center for Responsive Politics released Wednesday.
In the House, the study found, the median wealth was $765,010, up from $645,503 in 2008. In the Senate, median wealth grew from $2.27 million in 2008 to $2.38 million in 2009.
The new data come as lawmakers consider whether to extend tax cuts for couples making $250,000 or more - a move that presumably would benefit many of the members. The Obama administration wants to confine the tax breaks to earnings under $250,000, although it has signaled it might be open to a compromise with Republicans on the issue [Dan Eggen, "," Washignton Post, 2010.11.17].
Interestingly, I check the original database at OpenSecrets.org and find there is no mathematical correlation between Congresspeople's personal wealth and party affiliation. The Democrats have as many rich lawmakers as the Republicans.
Perhaps that's one more reason that the difference between Democrats and Republicans, left and Right, isn't as big as you think. The real battle lines in American politics may be between individual rights and corporate power... and those of us on the individual rights side are sorely outgunned!
Our Congresspeople don't have to give exact data, just ranges for their net worth. Using OpenSecrets.org's calculation of average worth, 43% of House members and 70% of Senators were millionaires in 2009. Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin was one of them, with $1.3 million. She ranked about 160th among her colleagues.
Neither of our Senators made the millionaires' club in 2009. Senator Tim Johnson was back at $724K, ranking 79th. Senator John Thune showed "only" $441K in average net worth, ranking 88th.