How will Congress ever understand the struggles of ordinary Americans when its members' bank balances are anything but ordinary?
That's the question raised by a new report from the Center for Responsive Politics, showing that at least 268 of the 534 members of Congress had an average net worth of $1 million or more in 2012. The median net worth for the 530 lawmakers in office as of the May filing deadline last year was $1,008,767--up 4.4% from the previous year’s Congress.
The wealthiest member is Rep. Darrell Issa, a California Republican, who is worth an average net of $464 million, who made his fortune in the car alarm business before heading to Capitol Hill.
California also is home to the poorest member of Congress: Rep. David Valadao, a Republican, who reported debt of up to $12.1 million as a result of loans for his family dairy farm.
But party lines don't seem to make much of a difference when it comes to what politicians have in the bank. Congressional Democrats had an average net worth of $1.04 million, while Republicans were close behind with a median of almost exactly $1 million.