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The Rich? They Get Elected

Posted on Nov 7, 2009

Rep. Darrell Issa, with a net worth in the quarter-billion-dollar range, is the wealthiest member of Congress.

A day after it was announced that the U.S. unemployment rate had hit the double-digit mark, a report was released showing that nearly half of the members of Congress are millionaires, seriously questioning the notion that our lawmakers identify with “we the people.”

Hilariously enough, four of the top five richest lawmakers in Congress are Democrats. —JCL

Talk about bad timing.

As Washington reels from the news of 10.2 percent unemployment, the Center for Responsive Politics is out with a new report describing the wealth of members of Congress.

Among the highlights: Two-hundred-and-thirty-seven members of Congress are millionaires. That’s 44 percent of the body – compared to about 1 percent of Americans overall.

CRP says California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa is the richest lawmaker on Capitol Hill, with a net worth estimated at about $251 million. Next in line: Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), worth about $244.7 million; Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), worth about $214.5 million; Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), worth about $209.7 million; and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), worth about $208.8 million.

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, November 8, 2009 at 8:19 am Link to this comment

By Ed Harges, November 8 at 7:05 am #

I think an overhaul of the electorial process is in order beginning with campaign financing and lobby reforms.

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Ed Harges's avatar

By Ed Harges, November 8, 2009 at 3:05 am Link to this comment

By PatrickHenry, November 7 at 6:32 pm #

“America - the best government money can buy.

I love my country but hate my government.

Here’s a syllogism for you, Pat:

(1) Americans believe in “economic freedom” - the freedom to do whatever one
wants with one’s wealth.

(2) Since there will always be a government, one thing you can be sure of in a
country that believes in “economic freedom”: the wealthiest people will simply buy
that government. They are merely exercising their “freedom of speech”, since
libertarian conservative judges have established the legal principle that money is

(3) Therefore, Pat, America’s ideological commitment to your libertarian ideology of
“economic freedom” guarantees that America, which you claim to love, will always
have the kind of government which you claim to hate: a bought government.

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By johannes, November 8, 2009 at 2:49 am Link to this comment

In France its clear to see, they come mostly from the same administratief highschool, they are sitting in the same class and even same desk, than they start their theater, going left or right, playing with the people, indoctrinate them, wel its dirty and very messy, but it is seemingly not to by breaking up soon.

Its an big famelie who is flooting on the surface of the society, filling their pockets, meanwhile preacing goodness, and prommesing heaven to the poor.

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By Mary Ann McNeely, November 8, 2009 at 12:29 am Link to this comment

The corrupt nincompoops like Issa and his equally corrupt and narcissistic counterparts among the Democrats represent the majority of the American people who aspire to be nothing more than these very same obscenely wealthy leeches who are destroying their way of life. How bone dumb can you get?

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By Mike, November 7, 2009 at 10:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I thought this was well known, and when has it been different?  Being in these poitions is the best way for the wealthy to protect their wealth - they’re around to make sure no proposals to tax the wealthy get anywhere.

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By Am, November 7, 2009 at 6:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Here’s the thing that gets forgotten when things like
this are reported - who is most able to resist the
special interest lobbies and the lure of campaign
donations by corporate interests?  Love ‘em or hate
‘em, it’s the folks that have their own money.

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By PatrickHenry, November 7, 2009 at 2:32 pm Link to this comment

America - the best government money can buy.

I love my country but hate my government.

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By trisha, November 7, 2009 at 1:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Politicians have been scumbags and liars since the Greeks first invented them. Surely, you haven’t just discovered this fact?

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By gerard, November 7, 2009 at 12:56 pm Link to this comment

The sad fact is that America is stuck in a patterned way of thinking (“individual enterprise”, unregulatled capitalism, “each man for himself”, whatever you call it) that stymies creative thinking and belief in the ability to change.
  Much could be done to mitigate the evils of such inequalities, but the national will is lacking because each person hopes to advance his/her own interests more or less free of concern for others. In this regard Congress, Wall Street and Main Street are scarcely at odds, though the incomes they are dealing with are far too widely different.
  We need to organize a more just, equal, humane and peaceable society as quickly as possible, because the present situation is falling apart.
  How this will occur is unclear, but that it must occur is as clear as crystal.

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By johannes, November 7, 2009 at 12:16 pm Link to this comment

Its not hilarious at all, bud very sad, and on the other side you have to be very naîf to belief they are sitting their for the citizen, o no they are working with each and everyone, and for them selfs.

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By paul bass, November 7, 2009 at 11:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

wow shocking i had thought all of these people were elected based on being principled truthful humble servants of the people.

im just so glad that they have full health care coverage… just imagine if they had to pay their own bills they would be so desprate they might have to find another government to work for…. aint that right…jane?

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