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Rep. Issa Discloses Assets Worth $99 Million

June 17, 2003|Richard Simon and Nick Anderson | Times Staff Writers

WASHINGTON — Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), whose money has helped fuel the drive to recall Gov. Gray Davis, is one of the House's wealthiest members, with assets of at least $99.4 million and perhaps much more, according to financial disclosure reports released Monday.

The documents also showed that at least 19 of California's 53-member House delegation have assets in excess of $1 million.

One of them, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), is the wealthiest of the House leaders, with assets in excess of $26 million.

Issa's report underscores the vast financial resources he can draw upon to promote his campaign to put a measure before California voters asking whether they want to recall Davis, and, if so, who they want as his replacement.

If the recall effort gains enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, Issa may be a gubernatorial candidate.

Issa's filing shows that his assets could total as much as $319 million. The information is sketchy because federal law requires only that lawmakers list holdings in broad ranges.

The investments Issa listed, for example, included two valued at anywhere from $25 million to $50 million.

Issa owned a lucrative car alarm business before he was elected to Congress in 2000.

One of the investments valued at $25 million to $50 million is a corporation known as DEI LLC, which owns and manages office property in Carlsbad, Fallbrook and Santa Ana. That investment accounted for $100,001 to $1 million in income to Issa last year.

He also has $5 million to $25 million invested in Greene Properties, a property management company that owns industrial and office property in Vista and Oceanside. Last year, that investment brought in $1 million to $5 million in revenue for him.

Issa reported having $25 million to $50 million invested in a mutual fund. Much of his money is invested in mutual funds or municipal bonds.

Although imprecise, the annual disclosure statements shed light on the personal finances of virtually all of the 435 House members for last year.

Investments range from commonly held blue-chip stocks to the eclectic, such as holdings in coins, a horse racing stable and vineyards.

Among other Californians, Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice) filed a 65-page report listing assets for her and her husband worth more than $100 million.

She checked off one box that put the value of one investment at "over $50 million."

Other House members from the state with at least $1 million in assets -- alone or with their spouses -- included Reps. Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena), Wally Herger (R-Marysville), Ellen Tauscher (D-Pleasanton) Tom Lantos (D-San Mateo), Pete Stark (D-Hayward), Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose), Dennis Cardoza (D-Atwater) and David Dreier (R-San Dimas).

Others were Reps. Jerry Lewis (R-Redlands), Gary Miller (R-Diamond Bar), Ken Calvert (R-Riverside), Mary Bono (R-Palm Springs), Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-Carson), Christopher Cox (R-Newport Beach), Loretta Sanchez (D-Anaheim) and Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks).

No statement was available from Rep. Doug Ose (R-Sacramento), who previously listed assets in excess of $1 million.

At the other end of the spectrum was Rep. Bill Thomas (R-Bakersfield), who as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee plays a key role in deciding the nation's economic policies. He listed no assets.

Lawmakers are not required to list their annual salary of $154,700, up from $150,000 in 2002.

Congressional leaders receive more. Pelosi's salary as minority leader is $171,900, the same as the salary earned by Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas).

Pelosi and her husband, Paul, a San Francisco businessman, listed assets ranging from more than $26.6 million to almost $115 million.

In contrast, House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) reported assets ranging from $253,000 to $595,000. These included a Washington townhouse worth $100,000 to $250,000.

Hastert's 2003 salary of $198,600 is the highest in Congress.

Pelosi reported real estate assets of more than $15 million, including an interest in a vineyard in St. Helena, Calif., with a value of $5 million to $25 million.

Once the Pelosis' liabilities are subtracted, the couple's net worth ranged from $19 million to $78 million.

DeLay, the second-ranking Republican, reported assets ranging from $66,000 to $166,000. He owned ExxonMobil stock worth $50,001 to $100,000, but owed a comparable amount to a Houston law firm for expenses connected to a lawsuit filed against him by congressional Democrats.

The second-ranking Democrat, House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, reported as his largest asset a retirement fund valued at $250,001 to $500,000.

The records also show that lawmakers last year took trips to places such as Las Vegas, Baghdad and Havana, courtesy of outside groups.

Thompson traveled to London, courtesy of the International Federation of Wine and Spirits. He also traveled to Baghdad in September at the invitation of Life for Relief and Development, a Michigan-based humanitarian relief organization.

California Democratic Reps. Sam Farr of Carmel, Cal Dooley of Hanford, Lois Capps of Santa Barbara, Bob Filner of San Diego and Thompson also traveled to Cuba at the invitation of the Center for International Policy, a Washington-based think tank.

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) took 15 trips last year, courtesy of such groups as the Recording Industry Assn. and the United Steel Workers.

Under the category of outside positions, "compensated and uncompensated," Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) wrote "mother."

Senators filed their forms last week.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and her husband, businessman Richard Blum, reported assets ranging from $35 million to $96 million.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif) reported assets almost entirely made up of a blind trust valued at $1 million to $5 million.


Times researcher Christopher Chandler contributed to this report.

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