Chellie Pingree listed as the 12th richest member of Congress

BDN file photo

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree is worth $31.5 million — which makes her the 12th richest member of Congress.

WASHINGTON — Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, is worth $31.5 million — which makes her the 12th richest member of Congress, according to The Hill newspaper. 

The newspaper, which covers the Capitol, just released its 2012 list, based on financial disclosure forms, using the low figures in a range for assets and liabilities if more exact financial statements are not available.

Much of Pingree's wealth comes from husband S. Donald Sussman, a Wall Street millionaire and philanthropist who also owns several Maine newspapers. Their assets include real estate, solar power, a sunscreen manufacturer and an organic milk producer.

Here are the top 30 of The Hill's list — 23 men and 7 women, 15 Republicans and 15 Democrats, in descending order of wealth:

1. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., $355.4 million

The richest member of Congress is also its busiest watchdog. Issa made much of his money through the popular anti-car theft viper system and has much of his wealth in huge investment funds now.

2. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, $101.9 million

McCaul was listed as The Hill's wealthiest lawmaker for 2010 and 2011 but his dropped to No. 2 after he chose to report he and his family's holdings differently. His wife, Linda, is the daughter of the founder of radio behemoth Clear Channel Communications.

3. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., $88.5 million

The former Virginia governor made his pile by co-founding the company that became Nextel and has invested in tech startups since, as well as established Internet and software companies.

4. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W. Va., $83.8 million

The great-grandson of oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller got his wealth the old-fashioned way — he inherited it. Most of his reported wealth is in three different bank accounts, though he owns more than $1 million in stock in PepsiCo, where his wife, Sharon Percy Rockefeller (daughter of former Sen. Charles Percy of Illinois), sits on the board.

5. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., $76.6 million

Blumenthal married the daughter of a New York real estate magnate, elevating the worth of a man who has spent most of his career in public service. Their investments include trusts and investments in office buildings, apartments, warehouses and shopping centers.

6. Rep. John Delaney, D-Md., $68.4 million

Delaney founded two publicly traded companies — HealthCare Financial Partners and CapitalSource Inc. About $25 million of his reported fortune is in CapitalSource stock and has several finance-industry investments, including Goldman Sachs.

7. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., $60.2 million

Polis helped move his family's greeting card business online and launched He lists a blind trust worth at least $25 million and investments in software and Internet companies.

8. Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif., $44.7 million

Two factors play into Peters' wealth: his move from the Environmental Protection Agency to an attorney representing business interests and government agencies, and his marriage to the CEO of a private equity firm founded by her father. The couple has oil interests in Argentina, aerospace and government bonds.

9. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., $41.6 million

The veteran senator owes much of her wealth to her husband, president and CEO of a private equity firm. They own a big stake in San Francisco's Hotel Carlton and have a million-dollar condo in Hawaii.

10. Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Ohio, $35.9 million

The certified public accountant founded a company that owns and operates nursing homes. Most of his assets of in funds investing in companies such as Apple, Costco, Google and Inuit.

11. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., $32.7 million

Car dealerships, stocks, bonds and real estate provide the bulk of Buchanan's nest egg. In 2012, he mortgaged a home on the members-only Florida island of Useppa.

12. Pingree

13. Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., $25 million

Nashville real estate and investments in Aegis, Dell, eBay, Google, Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, Target and Nestle make up the bulk of the wealth listed for Black and her husband.

14. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., $24.4 million

Pelosi's husband has invested at least $10 million in two United Football League franchises, and the couple own a home and vineyard valued at at least $5 million. Her reported worth decreased about $2 million in 2012.

15. Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., $23.9 million

Microsoft has been very very good to DelBene and her husband. She worked there for 12 years and he still does, and the couple has several big Microsoft assets. DelBene, through her husband, also participated in the company's health plan last year.

16. Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., $22.3 million

Collins lists 16 different companies where he is a director or partner. His big holdings include biotech and electric repair companies around Buffalo, N.Y., and a drug development company based in Auckland, New Zealand.

17. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., $20.9 million

His million-dollar holdings include Proctor & Gamble and IBM and he owns a rental home in Stockbridge, Mass.

18. Rep. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, $19.2 million

Much of his wealth comes from three investments in large tracts of ranch and farm land in his state.

19. Rep. Gary Miller, R-Calif., $17.8 million

Miller founded a company that built houses and created planned communities. His listed investments included land in Rancho Cucamonga and Rialto, Calif.

20. Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-N.C., $17.1 million

Pittenger's pile comes from a company that invests in land in the Carolinas. The Hill says the congressman plans to donate his Capitol salary to charity, as he has done with the money from a pension he receives from North Carolina for his time as a state senator.

21. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., $16.7 million

Grayson's fortune stems from IDT Corp., a telecommunications firm he founded in the early 1990s. His listed investments included pharmaceuticals, financial management and gold and minerals.

22. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., $16.7 million

Corker made his money in commercial real estate in Chattanooga and still has much of his fortune in rental real estate. He took a nearly $3 million hit last year, much of it from a UBS Bank account that lost most of its value.

23. Rep. Joe Kennedy, D-Mass., $15.2 million

Yes, a Kennedy is on this list. The affable freshman Congressman has much of his money in trusts, one of which has sizeable investments in General Electric, Google and Merck. Kennedy has listed three 2006 student loans for at least $80,000 among his liabilities.

24. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., $14.9 million

Much of McCaskill's wealth comes from her husband, a St. Louis businessman who has invested In New Zealand, a Georgia-based affordable housing firm, cloud computing, Berkshire Hathaway, Johnson & Johnson, Clorox and United Technologies.

25. Rep. Richard Hanna, R-N.Y., $14.4 million

Hanna founded a construction company before politics. He has big investments in a money-market account, PepsiCo, Chevron and Verizon.

26. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., $14.2 million

The former North Dakota governor (and ex-director of the Bank of North Dakota) invests in companies such as Heinz, McDonald's and Ralph Lauren.

27. Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., $12.8 million

Lowey's husband, chairman of a law firm, holds some of their bigger assets. They have their money in investment and retirement accounts and some property.

28. Rep. Scott Rigell, R-Va., $12.6 million

A car dealership is a big part of Rigell's portfolio, as are commercial real estate properties in Virginia Beach.

29. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., $12.5 million

Johnson lists at least $5 million with Charles Schwab and another $4.3 million in rental real estate in Wisconsin. He holds more than a $1 million stake in a polyester and plastics manufacturer of which he was CEO before politics.

30. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, $12.1 million

Harkin and his wife, Ruth, own a vacation home in the Bahamas worth at least $500,000,. His wife also has at least $3 million worth of holdings in ConocoPhillips, Phillips 66 and United Technologies Corp.

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JOANNE MOORE's picture

Does anyone really think........

..........these people give a hoot or a hoorah for the likes of us common folk? They do not. Believe me, they have had to step over many dead bodies (figuratively speaking) on their way up the ladder to wealth and power.

But you know what? They still have to sit on the toilet and that's how I like to picture them when they get rantin' off at the mouth.

ERNEST LABBE's picture

Exactly correct

Exactly correct. Why do these people who could easily live a life of luxury continue to be public servants? It's not for the money, it's not to help the poor people, it's for the power.

Doe's anyone really believe that these people have any clue what it's like to live from paycheck to paycheck? Most likely not a one of those 30 knows what the cost of a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk is.

 's picture

Wealth And The Kennedy?

Lets give this a break Ole Ted drunk and the son of a rum runner never had to answer for a drunken ride over a bridge?

Ya pal you are a brain trust for the Democratic Party!!

Bob White's picture

Wow I only thought

Wow I only thought Republicans were rich doesn't the democrats dislike rich people? I forgot only there peasants do


Wealth has very little to do

Wealth has very little to do with party affiliation. The Kennedy family was very wealthy for their day. Still aren't paupers.

Chellie's wealth is her husbands, though I'm sure she's done okay by herself.

Speaking very generally, the difference between a wealthy Democrat and a wealthy Republican is how they use that wealth. Republicans are never happy with how much they have, always trying to gather more to themselves and, in doing so, really don't care about stepping on "the little people." Many, though not all, wealthy Democrats have a sense of ethics - of paying back for what they've gained and for paying taxes - the dues of a civilized nation.

 's picture

Sorry Tony but

Democrats lost any ounce of ethics a long time ago, during the Johnson administration. Democrats are the most stingy people on the face of the earth. I think if you did a little research you would be embarrassed to see how little your democrats donate to charity. But they are very generous with someone else money. Got to give them that.

RONALD RIML's picture

Your claim - your burden of proof.....

Post the statistics with links to the supporting proof.

Otherwise you're simply blowing hot air.

Bob White's picture

Why does he need any proof

Why does he need any proof you don't need any when it comes to the Governor.

David  Cote's picture

It doesn't matter if this claim is substantiated in print...

That's due to the source, in all likelihood, is a right-wing website. If that's the case, you'd be poo-pooing that away. So what does it really matter Ron, especially if you know the truth about it already?

RONALD RIML's picture

If, if, if.....

His claim - his burden of proof.

David  Cote's picture

Burden of proof, eh?

This isn't a court of law, nor is it the interrogation room at the local p.d. This forum is for people who simply want to let out steam. So the writer made a claim that got in your craw. He's got as much right to state it as you have to disagree with it. I think it's bogus and you may feel the same way about it. The difference is I don't feel compelled to get my fruit-of-the-looms in a tangle over it because I have the confidence in believing I'm right. And if I'm not, so what? What's your take? Power trip?

RONALD RIML's picture

I tried to be nice about it....

So what do you want to hear? "If you can't put up, Shut up!!" (Now that's a power trip)

The other is merely reasonable rules of debate; obviously he doesn't understand.

David  Cote's picture

As I stated, I agree the claim is garbage...

And, once again, I'll reiterate, any type of proof he may display most likely would be from some Republican website. It all goes back to the old saying, "You can't believe everything you read on the internet." I respect what you're saying about the reasonable rules of debate, however, for that to work doesn't the opponent need to be reasonable?

Bob White's picture

Not when your talking about

Not when your talking about the Democrats.

Bob White's picture

Kinda like a superhero Tony?

Kinda like a superhero Tony? Sure you keep believing that one. There like a leader of cult make you clowns do all the dirty work while they reap the rewards. Trust me when it comes to money they are all the same. That's why they have it.


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