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The Nation

Filings Give Glimpse Into Senators' Finances

June 14, 2003|Richard Simon and Mark Fineman | Times Staff Writers

WASHINGTON — Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) took in more than $300,000 from book royalties, movie rights and about 300 radio commentaries, contributing the money to charity. Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.), a Hall of Fame pitcher, raised $100,000 for charity by signing autographs.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) made a cameo appearance on the TV show "Gilmore Girls" and donated the $1,375 payment to charity. Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) collected about $18,000 from writing songs such as "America Rocks!" And Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) picked up $21,866 for teaching a college class on constitutional law on Saturday mornings.

The annual filings of lawmakers' outside income, financial holdings and liabilities for 2002 show the Senate very much remains a millionaire's club but the reports also offer a glimpse into what members of the deliberative body do when they're not on the Senate floor.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and her investment-banker husband, Richard Blum, filed a report that runs 137 pages, 13 pages longer than last year.

Their reported assets range from $35 million to $96 million. The discrepancy results from the fact that lawmakers are required only to report in broad ranges. For example, Feinstein reported a blind trust worth between $1 million and $5 million. Her report listed stock in Northwest Airlines -- of which Blum is a board member -- and an interest in the Carlton Hotel in San Francisco.

The filing noted in several places that Blum's partnerships hold "no ownership interest in any investment in the People's Republic of China."

An aide explained, "Because there's been confusion over the issue, we wanted to make sure it's clear."

During the 2000 campaign, Feinstein bristled at suggestions by her Republican challenger that she should have refrained from voting to promote trade with China because of her husband's international business dealings. Blum has previously said that he will not invest in mainland China as long as Feinstein is a senator to avoid any hint of impropriety.

Boxer filed a handwritten six-page report showing that her assets are almost entirely made up of a blind trust valued at between $1 million and $5 million.

California's senators hardly stand out in a Senate whose members include John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), who is married to Teresa Heinz Kerry of the ketchup fortune; Jon Corzine (D-N.J.), former chairman of the investment firm Goldman, Sachs & Co.; John D. "Jay" Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), great-grandson of John D. Rockefeller, and Herbert Kohl (D-Wis.), owner of the Milwaukee Bucks professional basketball team.

Corzine reported assets in excess of $100 million, checking off one box that says "over $50 million" for his stock in Goldman Sachs.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) reported that her husband, former President Clinton, received $9.5 million from 60 speeches -- including one fetching $400,000 -- while the former first lady received $1.1 million of the reported $8-million advance for her recently released memoir, "Living History." Clinton listed among the couple's liabilities more than $1.7 million in legal fees.

Clinton wasn't the only senator collecting royalties from a book. Sen. James M. Jeffords (I-Vt.) received $100,000 in royalties for two books he wrote.

Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii) collected $927 in royalties for an autobiography he wrote in 1967. An aide said he donated the money to a veterans group.

Even Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, who reported net worth of at least $23 million, got a $7,500 advance from Simon & Schuster last July for a "book and audio contract to publish an as yet untitled memoir." Edwards, too, donated it to charity.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), whose family founded the Hospital Corp. of America, now known as HCA, the nation's largest chain of for-profit hospitals, had one blind trust valued at between $5 million and $25 million, and he and his family had eight other trusts each valued at more than $1 million.

Of more modest means, Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), listed holdings totaling $400,000 to $1 million.

It is difficult to determine a lawmaker's precise net worth from the forms because personal assets and liabilities are reported in only broad ranges, from $250,001 to $500,000, for instance. Lawmakers are not required to list their $154,700 salaries. Nor do they have to specify their spouse's salaries or the value of personal residences unless they receive rental income from them. The Senate isn't entirely made up of big money.

Sen. Robert C. Byrd's (D-W.Va.) filing was just two pages, listing assets valued between $300,000 and $600,000.

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) shared the pain of investors in the telecommunications and energy sectors last year. He reported losses of $20,000 or more when his IRA dumped stock in El Paso Corp. and WorldCom.

Financial disclosure reports for House members will be available Monday.

*

Contributing to this report were Times interns Justin Gest and Christopher Chandler in the Washington Bureau.

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