Roll Call published its annual list of the 50 richest members of Congress, a pleasant regular reminder to voters that the halls of government are filled sloppy with rich folk who have subzero personal incentive beyond the mental exercise of “imagining what it feels like to be poor” to write our nation’s rules. Here are the top ten!

  1. Rep. Michael McCaul (R) – $294.2 million
  2. Rep. Darrell Issa (R) – $220.4 million
  3. Sen. John Kerry (D) – $193 million
  4. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D) – $81.6 million
  5. Sen. Mark Warner (D) – $76.3 million
  6. Rep. Jared Polis (D) – $65.9 million
  7. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D) – $55 million
  8. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D) – $52.9 million
  9. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) – $45.3 million
  10. Rep. Vern Buchanan (R) – $44.2 million

[Roll Call]

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  • Barb

    We know Bachmann's worth without her having to disclose it. She's a two-bit whore for the Tea Party.

    • nounverb911

      You're being generous. (What's she worth without the farm subsidies?)

      • Fare la Volpe

        About as much as the kid subsidies.

    • DashboardBuddha

      And that's getting a nickle in change.

  • nounverb911

    I'm surprised the car thief Darryl Issa isn't first.

    • At least he didn't inherit it like Kerry and Rockefeller, he made it the old fashioned way: Stealing from the government and grifting rubes who fall for his snake oil scams.

      • Ol' Kerry likely got a couple of sheckels from marrying Teresa '57' Heinz.

        • BarackMyWorld

          Whose money used to belong to the late Sen. John Heinz (R-PA).

          • PristinePantalones

            I can't imagine putting it to too many better uses. Teresa Heinz Kerry is pretty fucking soshulist, for a rich gal.

          • Limeylizzie

            She's also hot, no?

          • PristinePantalones

            Yes. Was I drooling too obviously?

          • Limeylizzie

            You love those short, sassy Europeans.

          • Not_So_Much

            Doesn't everyone? But, does help if they're loaded. (that was a monetary reference — not roofies [this time])

          • PristinePantalones

            Because I have impeccable taste.

          • Negropolis

            I thought she was an African?

          • Limeylizzie

            Portuguese/Swiss parentage but born in Africa, so Afro-Caucasian?

          • horsedreamer_1

            Man, she's practically Jonas Savimbi.

            Thank God we kept her & her no-good husband out of the White House.

            Sent from Ken Blackwell's Blackberry.

          • Limeylizzie

            This is such a fine example of Mighty Whitey at work…

          • AJWjr.

            For a 72 year-old, I guess.

          • SorosBot

            Who would be called a RINO and probably been primaried out of office today if it hadn't been for that plane crash.

        • When interviewing John Kerry in 2003, Jon Stewart asked "Is it true that every time I use ketchup your wife gets a nickel?". Cracked me up.

        • GOPCrusher

          I was going to say. John Kerry is probably worth $1.25. Teresa Heinz is worth 193 million bucks.

          • Negropolis

            lol! But, seriously, Kerry's family was pretty comfortable in his youth, weren't they? I tend to remember him talking about how his family could have easily bought his way out of going to war, but that he didn't, or something.

    • petehammer

      Chop shops ain't payin' what they used to.

    • PristinePantalones

      Hey! You forgot "insurance fraudster."

  • These are mere servants for the people who run our "Democracy".

    • I get so depressed by that clip, but it does bring me down to earth when I need to be reminded how things really are.

      • Yeah, that era of Carlin can be a downer. However, I love his proposal to turn golf courses into shelters for the homeless!

  • nounverb911

    Didn't Kerry's money come from his wife's first husband?

    • OkieDokieDog

      Heinz money? I remember her saying something about the GOP liked it when they got the benefits of it.
      I rather liked her.

      • PristinePantalones

        Me too. Smart woman, tough as nails, trends progressive in her support of causes.

    • SorosBot

      He came from a fairly wealthy family, but yeah I think the big money in from the Heinz ketchup connection.

  • OkieDokieDog

    But all the Dems feel our pain. And all the Repubs don't give a fuck.

    • Sue4466

      But yet they both pass legislation that fucks us over. Funny how that works.

      • OkieDokieDog

        haha! They don't really give a rat's ass either. They "feel" our pain doesn't mean they want to alleviate it any.

  • Arken

    How many millions is the poorest member worth? You know it's millions.

    • BerkeleyBear

      Joe Walsh – negative value (both fiscally and morally). Owes 100k in child support.

      A fair number at the lower end would have almost no personal (disclosable) wealth – they do, however, have all that sweet, sweet office/staff allowance, PAC, SuperPAC and campaign warchest cash to roll around in late at night. Especially the "example-setting" assholes who sleep rent free in their offices, use the (free) gym to shower, rely on other privileges to do all their other daily activities from haircuts and drycleaning to Internet (porn) access, eat subsidized meals in the cafeteria and then bitch about people on welfare as wealth takers. Oh and spend their budget funds on every damn thing they can get their hands on to make sure they get the same or a bigger allocation next year.

    • SorosBot

      I think I remember reading that, prior to becoming VP, Joe Biden was the poorest man in the Senate.

      • DustBowlBlues

        I think you're right. His wife was working because the cash was handy. It's one of the things I love about Joey.

      • PristinePantalones

        He's one of the very, very few who *hasn't* parlayed his political career into a personal fortune.

        • tihond

          That's why he has to charge the Secret Service to rent out his shed.

    • finallyhappy

      Pretty sure, my congresswoman, Donna Edwards and Senators Mikulski and Cardin don't have much- but i could be wrong.

    • Jerri

      I thought Feingold used to be among the poorest members of congress. Not that he was destitute, I'm sure, but didn't he used to give whatever raise congress gave itself back to the treasury?

      That is to say, I miss Russ.

    • Negropolis

      I guess it's already been said, but quite a few of the members start out poor, and even some (a few) veterans remain middle class. Some even go into Congress just for the moneny.

      I know that freshman Congressman Hasen Clark of Detroit is not personally wealthy, at all.

  • Mahousu

    Not surprising: a Rockefeller is only the fourth richest on this list.

    Surprising: A "Jared" and a "Vern" make the top 10.

    • flamingpdog

      But this Jared is no back-country hick. First openly gay man to be elected to Congress after he came out.

  • TX_Bluebonnets

    And it makes perfect sense to this crowd that money equals speech, and that money (received as donations) or earned (by fortunate birth or exploitation) is just an outward sign of inward and visible grace.

    Remember, fellow poors: if we were good enough, we would be them. And plucky hard work will work out for you just as well as it did for them. Say it with a straight face until you believe it or pass out from hunger. But don't fall into the hobo beans–they're my dinner.

    • PristinePantalones

      I don't know why I should have to explain this to someone living on Hobo Beans, but the more of us fall into your beans, the better for you — MOAR protein. Just install good hair filters. There's nothing worse than finding pubes in your hobo beans.

      • flamingpdog

        Or on your Coke can.

        • PristinePantalones

          Well, yes, but fortunately, we can't all have our own personal Clarence "Uncle" Thomas.

  • PuckStopsHere

    So that government of the (rich) people, by the (rich) people and for the (rich) people shall not perish from the face of the earth…

  • metamarcisf

    The first thing I'm gonna do the day I become worth $220.4 million is burn down my own fucking house and blame it on the Talking Heads.

    • TX_Bluebonnets

      Stop making Sense!!

    • Barb

      Watch out, you might get what you're after.

    • And live a wild life?

    • MissTaken

      But what if this is not your beautiful house?

      • TX_Bluebonnets

        And she is not your beautiful wife!

    • poncho_pilot

      be careful. they've got computers. they're tapping phone lines.

    • fuflans

      pyscho killer really really seems to have been written for michele.

  • SorosBot

    And these people get to decide on their own taxes.

    • NorthStarSpanx

      Especially when Sen. Dianne Feinstein is worth $45.3 million and still has the same hairstyle from the 60's. . .where's the common sense?

  • 7/10 are D's. Good to know the Dems are winning at something in Congress.

  • SudsMcKenzie

    I thought Dennis Kucinich would finally make the list with all of his "pitted olive" money.

    • He's spending it to move to the Soviet of Washington to run in our new blue congressional district.

      • DustBowlBlues

        Seriously? Wasn't it someone from the FDR years who gave the speech where he said, "The 47 states and the Soviet of Washington."

        • That was FDR's U.S. Postmaster General, James Farley, who made the quip at a 1936 gala. We've tried to stay true to our Wobblie roots, even to today.

      • PristinePantalones

        Yay Dennis! Hope he wins. Sometimes I wanna smack him, but his olive tooth suit was perfectly valid, since it caused him some real damage, expensive damage. Mostly I like that he takes his gadfly role seriously.

        • SudsMcKenzie

          Seriously, who puts "non pitted" olives in a sandwich?
          ,,, and I Seriously want to bang his wife.

          • PristinePantalones

            So do all of us, so take a number and get in line.

  • Troglodeity

    Jared Polis is the first openly gay person ever elected to Congress. And he's fabulously wealthy.

    • Limeylizzie

      Come on homo Wonketteers, get on that!

    • flamingpdog

      He made his own personal fortune selling greeting cards and on-line flowers (Pro Flowers).

    • CapeClod

      I guess it pays to be Gay.

  • Now I know why Feinstein (D-DINO), pisses me off so much.

    • ShaveTheWhales

      Oh, this isn't the only reason.

      • Bonzos_Bed_Time

        The big head?

  • chascates

    During his career Sam Rayburn had developed a reputation for honesty. When he died in 1961 his savings totaled $15,000.

  • Gorillionaire

    Virginia Foxx has running water in her outhouse and pile of Confederate gold certificates under her mattress, making her the richest person in her district at least.

    • Limeylizzie

      She has a face like a fucking squint-eyed possum.

    • ttommyunger

      She also reportedly has running sores in her dank, fetid nether regions; so she has that going for her, which is nice….

  • BarackMyWorld


  • jus_wonderin

    Did I really need to see this going into the weekend?

    • DustBowlBlues

      It will give us something to bitch profanely about when we need breaks from our real worlds. Or maybe that's just me. Cold threads on wonkette beat conversations with okies, hot (108F today) or cold.

  • DustBowlBlues

    Did anyone see Stewart eviscerate the right over income equality? I mean eviscerate. The DNC should buy the rights and use it for an ad.

    • HelmutNewton
      • jus_wonderin

        I like that he's a southpaw…like me.

        • mannacler

          And Obama.

      • DustBowlBlues

        Thanks for the link. I pasted it on my FB page because I realized the week had gone by without one rant from me about what douchebags Republitards are. Wonder why the right wingers keep unfriending me? Must be something I said.

        • Texan_Bulldog

          Wow! You're brave–I don't get into political discussions with my FB friends. It's just not worth the headache & banging your head against the keyboard hurts!

      • Fukui_sanYesOta

        As much as I like JS, both he and the fox news howler monkeys missed the main thrust of what Buffett was saying.

        Buffett only has an effective tax rate of 17.whatever% because the majority of his income is from dividends and share sales, which are capital gains. Bush fucked with that rate and now you're paying around 15% on those earnings, down from 20-40% (depending on a few factors) prior to that. Most would be in the 35-40% range. It's not like WB is paying himself a flat fucking salary, let's face it. Payroll tax? Lolz.

        It might change in 2013, but expect a huge fight.

    • V572 T-Blow

      It was a beautiful thing to see, although much as I enjoy it I wonder what good does it do? Preaching to the choir, etc…

  • Steverino247

    And now you know why the Bush tax cuts were extended. Comfortable people won't do anything to change their level of comfort. At least not in the direction of potential discomfort.

    It costs a lot of money to run for office for a reason and that reason is to keep scum like you from running or getting elected if you do run. These campaigns don't need to cost as much as they do, but you're supposed to think that way. Who wants to run against Issa (besides me) when you'd be facing near constant media buys and profession dirty tricks, if he felt the slightest bit threatened.

    • jus_wonderin

      You've got that right. Beside the fact that if I had the guts to run they could hire folks to make up stuff (besides the stuff they'd find on me. Nothing embarrassing but that type of scrutiny would be overwhelming).

    • BeWoot

      Steverino247/jus_wonderin 2012!

  • Callyson

    How is Ben Nelson only #47? I would have thought he would have gotten a bigger payout for his service to HCR opponents…guess the competition for top whore in DC is fierce…

    • flamingpdog

      He'll get his in multi-million dollar paychecks for sitting in on hospital corporation and insurance company boards of directors' meetings four times a year after he retires.

    • ttommyunger

      He's not just a whore, he's a cheap, ugly whore.

  • Fox n Fiends

    i'm a US citizen living abroad and just caught wind of a new tax law that requires me to turn over my banking information so that the IRS can tax any untaxed or undertaxed non-American earnings that i work hard for, which includes things like foreign IRAs, education savings, and even lotto winnings. But guess what is exempt: money from trust funds! Aren't they clever, them rich ones.

    • DustBowlBlues

      Shit. What total bull shit. I hate the rich fucks.

    • Fukui_sanYesOta

      I'm a UK citizen living (legally, green-carded-up) in the US and have to declare fucking everything on my fed tax returns. Every bullshit which happens in my (several) European accounts. I find it hugely invasive.

      Not come across the trust fund thing because, hey, I'm not a rich.

  • Native_of_SL_UT

    7. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D) – $55 million

    Isn't this the guy you is now famously on Youtube and FoxNation as saying "We have to eliminate the waste rich?

  • The Federalist founders thought that representatives should be rich because they'd be 1) educated and 2) able to vote disinterestedly, without regard to their own monetary gain. Better luck next time, Mr. Adams.

  • Who CARES about this when the Soviet Union is beginning to rise to power again:

  • V572 T-Blow

    Notice that billionaires have no representation at all in Congress. They are truly an oppressed class. How can a man with only $224 million possibly understand the needs of, say, the Koch brothers?

    • x111e7thst

      Congress is on the verge of becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of the Koch empire.
      I am thinking that any member that fails to tend to a Koch need in a completely satisfactory fashion will find themselves out of a job.

    • petehammer

      SO TRUE. Someone with $200 million can clearly understand the plight of a poor or middle class person because his wealth encompasses them as well. Same as when you have a good steak and immediately know what a McDonalds hamburger tastes like. But how could John Kerry ever understand what it is like to be Richard Branson?

      Richard Branson, I weep for thee.

  • Goonemeritus

    You know you are living in a dystopian hell when car alarms make you richer than marrying a ketchup heiress.

    • petehammer

      Well, the reason Issa can sell so many car alarms is because he's creating so much demand.

      Kerry's gotta get out there and label other condiments/Hunts as poison. Maybe break into people's house and destroy their existing ketchup supply.

    • Some hoarders "bury their talents" more deeply than others…

  • ShaveTheWhales

    I'd be curious to see who the lowest 50 are. Just as an observation, #50 clocks in at about $6M. Now, that is undoubtedly well-off, but only borderline "rich". Before divorce and retirement and college expenses, I probably had a net worth in the $3M range, and I can assure you I was barely upper-middle-class.

    No snark. Just, what could be done to make this different? All I can think of is mandatory public campaign financing (and prohibiting private financing) at all levels.

    And even then, you'd have to brace yourself for the onslaught of Xtine and nJtnP wifters.

    • poncho_pilot

      "All I can think of is mandatory public campaign financing (and prohibiting private financing) at all levels."

      i've been saying this for years. but it would be tough to impossible to make this happen with the current system/entrenched corporate political class.

      that's what's funniest to me about the baggers: they seem to think they are outsiders when they're just more of the same assholes who've been running/ruining things all this time.

    • iburl

      If 6 Million is borderline rich, I'll settle for not quite rich.

      • ShaveTheWhales

        Oh, I didn't mean to imply there was anything wrong with it. I'd be flaming delighted.

        My point, such as it was, is that $6M doesn't put you very near the top 1%.

        Using the Census numbers from 2007, the net worth of the upper 10%ile was:
        mean = $3.3M, median = $1.1M. Now, right off, that shows you how steep the slope is. But the median also says that all the households who were in the 90 to 95%ile of net worth had a net worth less than $1.1M. Or, alternatively, that the top 5% are all over $1.1M.

        I guess it comes down to your personal definition of "rich". Mine is "Having so much cheese that the no-risk interest from it provides enough cash flow to allow you to do pretty much anything a reasonable person would want, forever". Being a man of fairly inexpensive tastes, I'd be hugely satisfied with, say, $300K per year after tax, or $400K before. At current T-bill rates, that would actually require $12-15M of capital. So that's my "rich". I'm not, BTW. I've definitely settled for really, truly, not quite rich. I really don't have expensive tastes.

        • AJWjr.

          Heh. Exactly twice in my life I broke $50K/yr. Barely. Yet I own my house outright and am debt free in every other respect and have all the toys a youngish retiree should have–Harley, sports car, RV, and a small amount of liquid assets just in case. I feel pretty damned rich, myself!

        • What the hell bank gives you interest for cheese?

          • ShaveTheWhales

            First National Bank of Green Bay, natch.

        • Fukui_sanYesOta

          Mine is "Having so much cheese that the no-risk interest from it provides enough cash flow to allow you to do pretty much anything a reasonable person would want, forever".

          Yes, quite.

          I won't say "I feel your pain" because it's not pain. It's just not as one would want it.

          What are your views on taxation? As someone who dances the white-man-overbite wedding dance around the top-5% income level, I would be more than happy to pay more in top rate tax as long as I knew that the extra was going towards education, health and quality of life for lower-income people. Education and health especially.

          • ShaveTheWhales

            My view on taxation is that there should be quite a bit more of it.

            And I had the same opinion ten years ago when my income was high enough that I would have been affected a lot.

            I really am a socialist at heart.

  • unclejeems

    Nah. We have to rip out most of the old plumbing, and install new.

    "Speech" defined as not money.

    All public and no private funding of campaigns.

    Media allows any and all comers to advertise, sit in on debates (as it were) and so forth

    Elections seasons of no more than six weeks. President–Labor Day to election day, tops.

    Congruent state and federal election regulations.

    And more. It'll take a constitutional amendment or several of them. Cold day in hell.

    • ShaveTheWhales

      Completely OT, I quite like your av. If my tuxedo kitty can ever figure out how to get under a couch cushion, I'll have photo evidence.

  • MissusBarry

    My, how times change…I interned for an über-rich, once top spot holding, republican many years ago. I always had a twinge about the R, but Amo had more integrity, kindness, compassion and smarts than the whole lot of the current crop and a good chunk of the Dems, too.

  • iburl

    My guy won! Hooray Tom Delay! Hooray redistricting my central Austin Neighborhood into the richest suburbs of Houston 3 hours away. Hooray Clear Channel! Hooray Nepotism! Hooray Monied elite owning my family like cattle!

    • ShaveTheWhales

      I wondered who that guy was.

    • flamingpdog

      I'm always touched when I see someone happy and upbeat on Wonkette.


    I want to see the 50 Poorest Members of Congress. Guess how much they make?

    • axmxz

      5.6 median household incomes, plus the never-ending bag of rat dicks. Untaxed, of course.

  • Until I looked him up on the googles, I had no idea that Darryl Issa, according to Debbie is a "Hezbo" and one of radical Islam's favorite congressmen.

    Strange stuff.

  • DustBowlBlues

    I'm watching Spooky Doktor Tom's forum that's being broadcast on a public tv station just to pick up some priceless nuggets to perk up your boring Friday, because if you are home on Friday, like I am, you need something to smile about.

    First question: Old lady wanted to know what our government is prepared to do if 10,000-15,000 Mexicans storm the border?

    Shit. I wish I could live blog this with the wonkeratti. S.D. Tom is so far the sanest one in ithe room. Old man: Liberals are better at telling people what they want to hear. SDT: intellectual liberals, if there were some, would want to solve "these problems." So far, the issues we should be honest about are how much better our health care system is than the Canucks, and those fucking Mexican militias massing at the Rio Grande.

    Another Uncle Remus reference. Tom just can't help himself.

  • DustBowlBlues

    Now we're on how nothing in the constitution says the government has to take care of you.

    Why the fuck don't they ever read the part that says, "for the public welfare"?

  • DustBowlBlues

    Fuck this. I can't do thin anymore, even for the wonkerattis' enjoyment. I'd rather go to bed than listen to fuckwads. What a bunch of idiots.

    • AJWjr.

      Valiant effort, doomed to failure…

  • Texan_Bulldog

    All I can say is Holy Christ & who the hell is Rep. Vern Buchanan (R) ?

  • Negropolis

    Of all of the people undeserving of their money due to their utter and absolute moral bankrupcty, Darrell Issa is tops. What a fucking crook.

    BTW, what does Jared Polis do? I had no idea he was wealthy. Isn't he the youngest person on that list, too?

    • flamingpdog

      I think Jared lives on the proceeds from selling off businesses he started and built up to the point where large corporations wanted to buy him out. The most recent one, I believe, was the on-line flower service, Pro Flowers. I should know more about his history – he's my Congressman. I think he's still inclined to come down just a little too much on the business side of issues, but otherwise he's a first-rate progressive.

      • "I think he's still inclined to come down just a little too much on the business side of issues, but otherwise he's a first-rate progressive."

        Enough said.

  • Negropolis

    BTW, how the hell does McCaul go from $74 million in 2010 to $294 in 2011 and at the age of 49, no less? What the fuck did he do before Congress, or who the hell is he married to?

    EDIT: I see. He's married to the daughter of the Chairman of Clear Channel Broadcasting, and he brother is the CEO.

  • otakuboyt

    I saw we means test paying congress.

  • ttommyunger

    I know that there are plenty of crooked, sleazy fucks who look perfectly wholesome and normal; just so happens Darrell Issa is not one of them.

  • PuglyDoRight

    I'm pretty sure that Teresa Heinz Kerry's money will go to her sons. JK will get to keep his clothes and his car and his fancy bicycle, and maybe one of the houses.

  • axmxz

    I look forward to seeing Darrell Issa stripped of some of that lucre by the SEC. And hopefully outfitted in a snazzy orange jumpsuit.

  • Winnie_Cooper

    Okay, I'm just assuming that every Republican on that list is a lost cause. But I feel like the Democrats at least have to keep up the pretense of caring about those less fortunate, so I am going to write each and every one of them (along with each and every person on the stupid debt panel) a letter pleading for the future of our entitlement programs.

    Then I will write to Santa to ask for a pony.

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