The Recession Proof Congress


The Center for Responsive Politics reports that the personal finances of members of Congress grew by 11 percent between 2006 and 2007, despite the fact that the economy was already showing signs of a slow down. Based on their analysis of lawmakers’ latest personal financial reports, CRP found that U.S. senators had a median net worth of approximately $1.7 million in 2007, and 61 percent of the senators are millionaires. House members’ median net worth was about $684,000, CRP reports, with 39 percent being millionaires. Only about 1 percent of all American adults can be considered millionaires, they report. Members of Congress are paid about $169,000 annually. On average, members saw their net worths soar 57 percent from 2004 to 2007, CRP reports.

“Worries about the economy that most members of Congress are feeling right now are likely coming from their constituents, who will head to the polls in less than three weeks,” said Sheila Krumholz, CRP’s executive director. “For the majority of lawmakers, the pressure they are feeling wouldn’t appear to be coming from their personal finances. With a median net worth of $745,000, most members of Congress have a comfortable financial cushion to ride out any recession.”

CRP lists Congress’s wealthiest members, Congress’s poorest members, the most popular investments of lawmakers, and investments by industry. CRP’s free, publicly available, searchable database, details the finances of each member of Congress, as well as the finances of the president, vice president and selected executive branch officials. They just updated the database to include data on officials’ finances for 2004 through 2007. You can now easily compare the officials’ wealth over the four-year period.

Sunlight is pleased to have provided funding for this database.