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For the First Time, Half of Members of Congress are Millionaires… Democrats Worth more than Republicans

By Noel Brinkerhoff | AllGov | January 11, 2014

Members of Congress continued to get richer last year, resulting in more than 50% of lawmakers possessing a net worth of $1 million or more—something that’s never happened before in congressional history.

Of 534 current members of Congress, at least 268 were millionaires, according the Center for Responsive Politics’ review of financial disclosure reports filed last year.

The median net worth for the 530 lawmakers who were in Congress as of the May 2013 filing deadline was $1,008,767—up from $966,000 during the previous year.

The center also found that Democrats overall were a little wealthier than Republicans in Congress, $1.04 million versus $1 million.  Both groups saw their collective net worth go up, from $990,000 for Democrats and $907,000 for Republicans in the previous year.

Democrats in the House were richer than their GOP counterparts, $929,000 versus $884,000. House Republicans, however, could boast having the richest member: Darrell Issa of California, who has had this distinction in other years. The Viper car-alarm magnate has a net worth of $464 million.

In the Senate, the GOP caucus was noticeably wealthier than the Democratic caucus, $2.9 million versus $1.7 million.

Senate Democrats experienced a steep drop in their median net worth from $2.4 million in 2011, due in part to the loss of two multimillionaires: John Kerry of Massachusetts (net worth $248 million) and Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey ($87.5 million). Nonetheless, the four richest senators are still Democrats: Mark Warner of Virginia ($257 million), Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut ($104 million), Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia ($101 million) and Diane Feinstein of California ($68 million).

The center noted: “Members of Congress have long been far wealthier than the typical American, but the fact that now a majority of members—albeit just a hair over 50 percent—are millionaires represents a watershed moment at a time when lawmakers are debating issues like unemployment benefits, food stamps and the minimum wage, which affect people with far fewer resources, as well as considering an overhaul of the tax code.”

To Learn More:

Millionaires’ Club: For First Time, Most Lawmakers are Worth $1 Million-Plus (OpenSecrets.org)

Half of Congress Members Are Millionaires, Report Says (by Eric Lipton, New York Times)

2012 Personal Financial Disclosures

The Rich Get Richer…and So Does Congress (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Wealth Gap between Congress and Other Americans Widens to 9 to 1 (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)

January 11, 2014 Posted by | Corruption | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

For First Time, Most Americans Believe Federal Government Threatens Personal Freedoms

By Noel Brinkerhoff | AllGov | February 02, 2013

Distrust of the U.S. government has reached an all-time high among Americans, a majority of whom now say Washington represents a threat to their personal freedoms.

According to a new poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, 53% of respondents said the federal government threatens their own personal rights and freedoms. Those disagreeing numbered 43%.

The percentage of those viewing the government as a threat represents a six-point increase from nearly three years ago, when 47% said they felt that way, and a 23% jump from November 2001, when Americans rallied around their government following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Conservative Republicans are the largest group who distrust Washington, with 76% expressing fear for their personal freedoms. A majority (54%) described the government as a “major” threat.

Three years ago, 62% of conservative Republicans said the government was a threat to their freedom, while 47% said it was a major threat, according to the Pew survey.

Meanwhile, only 38% of Democrats see the government as a threat to personal rights and freedoms, with 16% viewing it as a major threat.

Among gun owners, 62% see the government as a threat, compared with 45% of those without guns.

February 2, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | 1 Comment