Nel's New Day

November 17, 2011

Almost Half Congress in Top 1%

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 4:45 PM
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The Occupy Movement, sometimes called “We Are the 99%,” has brought the concept of unequal income in this nation to the media every day. What exactly is the income for the top 1 percent? Although sources differ, the income of the top 1 percent varies between $387,000 to over $1 million. Even using the highest number, however, there is one place whose membership is nearly half composed of the top 1 percent—the U.S. Congress.

Having 250 millionaire members in Congress means that about 47 percent of this legislative body easily fits into the top 1 percent, according to a new study by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics which examined lawmakers’ personal financial disclosure forms for 2010. The study found that 183 members of the House of Representatives classify as millionaires. That’s only 42 percent of these members whereas 67 Senators (two-thirds of that body) fit into the Top One.

The median estimated net worth among House members, overall, stood at $756,765 in 2010, a much poorer showing than the median wealth of $2.63 million for the Senators. Some representatives, however, are doing very well—like Darrell Issa (R-CA), the top of the heap with an average net worth of $448 million.

According to the Center’s method of analysis, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) ranks as the wealthiest member of the 112th Congress. When members of Congress file annual reports, they list the value of their assets and liabilities in broad ranges. The Center determines the minimum and maximum possible values for each asset and liability for every member of Congress and then calculates each lawmaker’s average estimated net worth. Sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars–if not millions of dollars–separate a lawmaker’s minimum estimated worth from his or her maximum estimated wealth which makes the figures approximate. Issa’s minimum estimated net worth in 2010 was $195 million, while his maximum estimated net worth was more than $700 million. That gives Issa an average net worth of $448 million.

Members of Congress might be more financially well off than their annual reports show. The annual filings do not include the values of government retirement accounts and personal property (cars, artwork, any non-income-generating property such as their primary residences). As we know, some government officials choose not to declare requested information, such as when Supreme Court Justice neglected to report his wife’s income for a number of years.

The current Congress has consistently refused to consider a surtax on millionaires’ income. With 47 percent of the deciders being millionaires, the 99 Percenters should understand why they are opposed to losing their money.


  1. You are a very capable individual!


    Comment by devenir riche — February 5, 2012 @ 4:17 AM | Reply

  2. I love what you are doing here, Nel, thank you.

    I am sending you a link to check out about what I think the next step should be for the Occupy movement after exposing that nearly half of Congress is in the 1%. How do Oregon’s representatives and senators measure on that scale?

    There are two videos in this link to watch. VERY informative. Worth the time.


    Comment by Renee LaChance — November 17, 2011 @ 6:54 PM | Reply

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