Several members of Congress have amassed vast wealth between stocks, private equity and mutual funds, bonds, and private companies. Many of them were considerably well-off before joining Congress.
Both Sides of the Aisle
Don't think that talking about money means we're referring to just Republicans or just Democrats. In Congress, Private equity investment is split almost straight down the middle. Ten of Congress's most prominent private equity investors are Republicans, and 12 are Democrats.
If you're wondering where these Senators and Representatives sit regarding their political leanings and private equity investment, here's how it all shakes out.
1. Rick Scott (R-FL)
With an estimated net worth of $200,327,223, Rick Scott is easily the wealthiest member of Congress, having founded two healthcare companies, HCA Healthcare (formerly Columbia Hospital Corp.) and Solantic. He also holds extensive stocks, bonds, LLCs, private equity funds, gold trusts, and treasury notes.
2. Mike McCaul (R-TX)
Thanks primarily to his wife, Linda, Mike McCaul is thought to be the second-wealthiest member of Congress. With $250,000 in Netflix stock and the bulk of their fortune in iHeartRadio, McCaul has an estimated net worth of $125,880,292.
3. Darrell Issa (R-CA)
Hailing from California, Darrell Issa comes in as the third richest Congressman. The bulk of his $115,850,012 comes from his income as the CEO of Directed Electronics and a car alarm system called Steal Stopper. The Senator listed his assets as “jointly-owned,” mostly in diversified stock funds. He also owns property in California and Ohio and listed one debt to a margin account of $50 million.
4. Vern Buchanan (R-FL)
Representing Florida, Vern Buchanan has a net worth of $113,384,088. Having ownership of several car dealerships, a ‘limited liability company' (LLC) named Aircraft Holding and Leasing, and a printing company, American Speedy Printing.
Buchanan only listed $14 million in liabilities tied to a plane and a yacht for the LLC. He will likely become the ranking GOP member of the Ways and Means Committee, allowing him to write and heavily influence tax law.
5. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
The late Senator from California held most of her wealth, estimated to be $96,518,036, in assets that belonged to her husband, Richard Blum. President of Blum Capital, Feinstein's wealth came mainly from private equity, a $1 million deposit account, and $25 million in a blind trust. She had liabilities of $3 million. She was also one of 48 Congress members accused of violating the STOCK Act.
6. Mark Warner (D-VA)
Warner, a Democrat from Virginia, has $93,534,098 in assets. As a 3-term Senator and former Virginia Governor, Warner ran a venture capital firm, Columbia Capital. He was also involved in a telecom company, Capital Cellular Corporation. His wealth sits between mutual and hedge funds and a healthy portion of private equity.
7. Mitt Romney (R-UT)
Very well acquainted with private equity, Mitt Romney gained most of his healthy $85,269,083 in wealth from a successful run with Bain Capital. He also has a large fortune in Goldman Sachs mutual funds.
His wife, Ann, also has several million invested in private equity and hedge funds with a liability of $4.5 million.
8. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
Cynthia Blumenthal (Malkin) holds the majority of Richard Blumenthal's wealth. Between hedge funds, stocks, real estate, and property partnerships, including The Empire State Building. Her father is also the chairman of Malkin Holdings and deals heavily as chairman emeritus for the Empire State Realty Trust.
According to Blumenthal, their only liability is a 30-year mortgage on a property Cynthia bought in 2011.
9. Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (R-IN)
While Hollingsworth doesn't have a diversified selection of assets, the bulk of his impressive wealth of $74,629,062 sits within Hollingsworth Capital Partners. According to the Congressman, this Tennessee-based group builds and markets industrial facilities in 17 states.
10. Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA)
Married to Roger Sant, Doris Matsui holds an estimated net asset of $73,872,062. Her husband is the founder of AES Corporation, a holding company in the Fortune 500 market that specializes in generating electricity and electrical distribution. Their money is tied to exchange-traded and money market funds, LLCs, and trusts.
Mrs. Matsui listed a $165,000 liability in credit card debt.
11. Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX)
Congressman Roger Williams is worth $67,438,045 and holds a $4 million liability due to lines of credit, a loan, payable notes, and at least two mortgages. He owns several Texas car dealerships, stocks, and real estate properties. Several mutual funds hold the majority of his money.
12. Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI)
Reasonably new to Congress, Peter Meijer, who is related to the Meijer family who owns the Midwestern grocery chain of the same name, said the bulk of his $60,514,285 is in a “generation-skipping trust.” The assets in the trust have at least some stock in Johnson and Johnson, Tesla, Home Depot, and Visa.
13. Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA)
Formerly an executive at Microsoft, DelBene has at least $1.1 million in Microsoft stock. The rest of her $52,156,097 is in mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, and real estate endeavors. DelBene is another Congress member accused of violating the STOCK Act.
14. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
Before stepping down as Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi amassed a sizeable net worth of $46,123,051, although she claimed most of the wealth belonged to her husband, Paul. Besides her home in Napa, California, and a Wells Fargo bank account of $15,000, Pelosi only claimed $20 million in mortgage liabilities for properties in D.C. and California. Paul has holdings in several tech companies, however. Slack, Tesla, Disney, Visa, PayPal, and Netflix are just some of them.
15. Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA)
Holding a net worth of $39,738,062, Peters's assets are primarily in government securities. He and his wife, Lynn Gorguze, have invested in several mutual funds as she is the CEO of Cameron Holdings, a private equity firm. Peters only listed a $30,000 liability for “revolving credit.”
16. Rep. Jay Obernolte (R-CA)
In 1988, Obernolte launched a video game studio called FarSight Studios. Most of his $39,250,014 fortune comes from this venture. Relatively new to Congress, elected in 2019, he also listed several investments in Vanguard tax-managed mutual funds. He didn't disclose any liabilities.
17. Rep. David Trone (D-MD)
Holding ownership in several Total Wine & More wine, beer, and spirit shops, Trone lists his assets as $32,927,094. Also new to Congress in 2019, Trone's wife owns stock in Alphabet, Pepsi, Apple, etc. He recorded one business loan liability of $5 million from PNC Bank.
18. Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA)
Although his assets are considerable at $29,805,092, Beyer lists his assets as “jointly-owned” in stocks, government securities, and real estate property. He also claims $8.6 million in mortgage liabilities.
19. Rep. Kathy Manning (D-NC)
Splitting her assets among government securities, mutual funds, real property, stocks, and exchange-traded funds, Manning also claimed stocks in Alphabet, Apple, Starbucks, Disney, Microsoft, Nike, and more. Her wealth, sitting at $27,202,287, is due partly to ownership in Stonefield Cellars Winery in North Carolina. Very new to Congress, in 2021, the Congresswoman listed liabilities of $1.5 million on a line of credit owned by her spouse.
20. Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK)
Boasting a net worth of $26,761,380, Hern holds several trusts and IRAs among himself and his family. These trusts have mutual and electronic funds and stocks, including at least $250,000 worth of Amazon, $100,000 worth of Alphabet, and $530,000 of Microsoft. He listed two liabilities: $500,000 to buy a McDonald's restaurant and a $1 million debt his wife used to purchase another company.
21. Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN)
Having been the CEO of Phillips Distilling Company, chairman of Talenti Gelato, and cofounder of Penny's Coffee, Phillips has a net worth of $24,778,495. Joining Congress in 2019, he holds stock in Apple, Facebook, and SPDR S&P 500 ETF (Exchange Trade Fund).
Phillips placed his assets into a blind trust approved by the House Committee on Ethics, giving him very little control over his wealth while he was a member of Congress.
22. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI)
Fred Upton is the grandson of Louis Cassius Upton, the man who founded the appliance company Whirlpool. Upton reported at least $1 million in stock for the company and another $1 million in Pepsi. He's also invested in Raytheon, Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, Facebook and Texas Instruments. He reported a $15,001 mortgage through JPMorgan Chase.
23. Rep. John Rose (R-TN)
Owner of Rose Farm, which is worth up to $25 million, the newly minted Congressman (2019) listed $500,000 in stock for Citizens Bank and $100,000 in Alphabet. He also holds stakes in several residential buildings across the country. He carries a monthly bill on his credit card of $15,001 on his assets of $23,362,065.
24. Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-CA)
Carrying $6 million in Qualcomm stock, a company her grandfather co-founded, Jacobs is new to Congress as of 2021. She also owns stock in Apple, Microsoft, and Mastercard and has most of her $21,428,125 in a trust created in 2009.
25. Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC)
2017 saw Norman elected to Congress in a special election when Mick Mulvaney became Donald Trump's Director of the Office of Management and Budget. Holding his $20,679,156 in assets in an array of property, mutual funds, and retirement accounts, Norman listed at least $100,000 in Exxon Mobil stock and $2 million in liabilities.
Loopholes in Law
While the wealth of these Congressmen and women may seem impressive or significant, you need to understand that they take advantage of laws written to aid in growing their assets. One such loophole is a tax code that allows them to pay significantly less taxes on “carried interest.” This ‘perk' means that hedge fund and private equity managers can treat their income as capital gains rather than earned income.
In turn, this lowers their tax liability to a degree that is much less than other Americans. It's only one reason that many U.S. citizens consider them the “rich elite.” They didn't become part of the 1% by keeping their heads down and working endlessly. Some were born into wealth, like Peter Meijer or Sara Jacobs.