Whether it's refusing to use a national tragedy as a xenophobic soapbox, keeping their genitals out of the public eye, or nobly declining to have sex with prostitutes while wearing diapers, we can always count on our elected representatives to put aside petty differences and do what's right for America. But shocking new data shows that Congress has lost touch with average Americans and has grown richer over the last several decades, at a faster rate than even the richest 10% of the country.
According to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, the median net worth of Congress increased by 15% from 2004 to 2010, while the net worth of everyone else sunk by 8%. Even the average worth of the wealthiest 10% of Americans saw no gain. Per an analysis by the Times, from 1984 to 2009 the median net worth of a House member more than doubled, from $280K to $725K. During that same time period, the wealth of an average family dipped from $20,600 to $20,500.
Middle class candidates are all but barred from running for office: the average successful House campaign costs over $1 million, and in the Senate it jumps to around $10 million.
Though individual members of Congress aren't required to release their tax returns, CRP analyzed individual disclosures and calculated a list of the top-25 richest lawmakers. New York's Democratic Congresswoman Nita Lowey came in a #21, with an average net worth of $41,210,018. New Jersey's Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg is #12 with $85,572,116. NYC's own Carolyn Maloney is worth around $28 million. Poor Chuck Schumer loses to Kirsten Gillibrand with net worths of $851K and $998K respectively.
Republican Congressman from California, Darrell Issa, wins the title of the richest Congressman, with an average net worth of $448,125,017 (it's estimated he could be worth more than $700 million). Because he co-founded the company that makes Viper alarms, you can hear his voice the next time you're breaking into a car when looking for something to eat.