08/21/2012 12:24 pm ET Updated Aug 21, 2012

Richest Members Of Congress Are Mostly Republicans

With a net worth of at least $290 million, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) is the wealthiest member of Congress, followed by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), with $199 million, in second place and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), with $141 million, in third.

The annual ranking of the 50 richest members of Congress was calculated by The Hill, based on the financial disclosure forms filed by lawmakers.

Republicans dominate the list, with 31 members of the GOP among the top 50. But the party's presumptive vice presidential nominee, Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.), is not among them. On the contrary, Ryan's net worth of approximately $2.2 million places him on the low end of the congressional wealth spectrum.

A significant number of the richest lawmakers owe their fortunes to their spouses, including the top two on the list. McCaul's wealth can be traced to his father-in-law, who founded Clear Channel Communications, a nationwide network of radio stations. Kerry's assets are largely due to wife Teresa Heinz Kerry's stake in the Heinz family's ketchup fortune through her first husband, the late Sen. John Heinz (R-Pa.).

Another House member, Democrat Chellie Pingree of Maine, owes her first appearance on the list, at number 12, to her recent marriage to hedge fund manager Donald Sussman -- a move that increased her net worth from at least $500,000 in 2010 to $31.8 million last year.

While Pingree won big, some lawmakers recently lost millions, including Issa, who watched his personal fortune shrink by nearly $80 million, or more than 35 percent, last year. The losses bumped him from number 2 to number 3 on the list.

The figures for the lawmakers' wealth are not exact because lawmakers are only required to gauge their assets within a range on the disclosure forms. The Hill calculated its rankings using the low end of those ranges. Nevertheless, the minimum combined net worth of the top 10 richest members of Congress is a whopping $1.11 billion.

Despite the GOP's dominance among the top 50, Democrats outnumber Republicans, seven to three, among the top 10. The rest of the top tier, in order, are Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), who is worth $91.9 million; Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), with $85.9 million; Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), with $83.1 million; Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who is worth $80.1 million; Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), with $56.9 million; Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), with $47.2 million; and first-term Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Ohio), who is worth $36.7 million.

To read the complete top 50 list, click here.



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