Thursday, September 2, 2010

Richest lawmakers grew wealthier as economy faltered

Seven of the top 10 are Democrats. And No. 11 is Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., followed by Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., also makes the list at No. 23.

The rest of the country is still struggling with high unemployment amid a sluggish-at-best economic recovery -- but the wealthiest members of Congress are in high cotton. Indeed, the top 50 wealthiest lawmakers saw their combined net worths increase last year, according to the Hill's annual analysis of financial disclosure documents.

Combined, the 50 lawmakers were worth $1.4 billion in 2009 -- an $85.1 million increase over their 2008 total -- the Hill reports. The members' total combined assets depreciated by nearly $36 million last year -- but Congress' well-to-do set also reduced their debts by a combined $120 million.

The list of 50 lawmakers spans both parties (27 Democrats and 23 Republicans) and both chambers of Congress (30 House members, 20 senators), the Hill reports.

Democratic Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts topped the list for the second year in a row; Republican Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas made his debut in the top 10.

Here are profiles for the 10 most flush Hill power-and-money brokers:

1. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.): $188.6 million. Kerry's worth, which grew by $20 million in 2009, stems from his wife's assets. Teresa Heinz Kerry, of the Heinz ketchup family, inherited hundreds of millions upon the death of her previous husband, Sen. John Heinz.


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