In Paul’s roundup this morning he mentions several of the reports that came from the release earlier this week of the PFDs — personal financial disclosure forms — filed by House and Senate members that profile their personal financial interests — stocks, mutual funds, IRA assets and other holdings and liabilities.
Newspapers and other media outlets all across the country have dug into the reports and are highlighting nuggets they’ve found about the finances of their local congressional delegation. For instance, The Boston Globe found that “six of the 10 House members from Massachusetts are landlords who made thousands of dollars last year on rental properties.” The Washington Post found a clue as to why former Rep. Al Wynn resigned his seat to take a position with a K Street lobbying firm whose “partners on average make slightly more than $1 million a year”…He needs the money. And then there is Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, who decided apparently that she does not need the money. The Kansas City Star reports on her walking away from $1 million dollars, having past a deadline last week to pay off the loan she made to her 2004 gubernatorial campaign. As her report indicates, she is one of the more wealthy members of Congress, so much so that she won’t likely miss the fortune she’s walked away from. And The Cleveland Plain Dealer‘s Washington bureau chief, Stephen Koff, got especially creative in his review of the reports. He was able to get independent professional financial advisers to look at and comment on the reports of each member of Northeast Ohio’s congressional delegation. The financial advisors have some interesting advice on what financial strategies the lawmakers have employed in managing their own money. Quite clever.
Unfortunately, the Congress doesn’t have to put this information online and so they don’t — at least not in a timely fashion. Where our government fails us, the activist community has come through. LegiStorm has posted on their Web site all the reports of the members of Congress who filed on time. They will soon post the reports of the senior staff members who earn over a specific salary threshold. Center for Responsive Politics‘ Personal Financial Disclosure Database is a great site where you can view each report.
Bill tells us that Congressional Quarterly provides access to them as well. I also want to remind our readers about Sunlight’s newly launched Fortune 535 project allows you to follow the growth or decline of a member of Congress’ net worth during their tenure. We haven’t updated it with the most recent information yet, but will do so in the coming weeks.