The millionaire’s club

According to a new report issued by the Center for Responsive Politics, two hundred and thirty-seven members of Congress are millionaires. If you’re doing the math at home, that’s 44 percent of Congress, compared to about 1 percent of Americans overall. The CRP’s report noted California Republican Representative Darrell Issa is the richest lawmaker on Capitol Hill, with a net worth estimated at about $251 million. Wisconsin’s own Senator Herb Kohl came in third on the list, with an estimated net worth of about $214.5 million.

I suppose I shouldn’t be a bit shocked at the number of millionaires in Congress, but it just goes to show money rules all in politics.


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7 thoughts on “The millionaire’s club

  1. For me, the watershed moment was when the Republicans effectively ran no one against Herb Kohl last time around. Sure there was a guy who ran with an (R) after his name, but he got almost no money and no support from the party. Personally I really don’t like that we have two parties that almost totally dominate politics – but at least one of the things about the setup should be that for most offices, the race should at least be contested. While Kohl certainly isn’t the kind of guy to raise a great amount of widespread dissent (you can’t really hate a guy who almost isn’t there), he’s gotta be about the most ineffectual Senator in the country. And yet, for one of the highest offices in the country, he effectively ran unopposed because he had so much money.

    I’m sure there are similar situations only with the parties reversed – it’s not an R or D issue, money buys offices on both sides. It’s just sad.

    1. Which is why I’m such a supporter of a strong public financing system for elections. If we level the playing field, we might actually see some more folks with their heads screwed on straight running for office.

      1. I just don’t know. On the one hand, I hate that money buys office for so many. And a strong public option could do a tremendous amount of good to clean that up…to even out the money advantage so it’s more about the ideas, intelligence and dedication of the candidate.

        The problem I still run into is that I don’t believe an individual should have any restrictions on how much money he or she can give a politician to show their support. I know it’s unpopular on the web – and I’ve changed 180 degrees on this – but I really do believe the first amendment right to speech covers campaign contributions. As a citizen, one of the ways I exercise my free speech – is to support a candidate who is committed to the same positions I am. [I say this having never given a politician a dime 🙂 ] And as much as I really hate the lack of transparency that’s come along with the 527 groups, it seems a very clear example of “the right of the people peaceably to assemble.”

        That said, I’ve always thought that restrictions on a candidate’s expenditures should not have the same Constitutional problems. I just don’t any way to read a right to spend other people’s money to get elected for office. Said another way, I think SCOTUS got it backwards when they allowed contribution restrictions but not expenditure restrictions in Buckley v. Valeo. At best, the act of running for office itself is not speech. As worst, you’d be limiting the relatively few individuals who run for office, while allowing total freedom for everyone else.

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