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Tea party members of Congress a well-heeled lot

January 05, 2012|By Kim Geiger
  • Rep. Michele Bachmann speaks during a tea party rally on Capitol Hill.
Rep. Michele Bachmann speaks during a tea party rally on Capitol Hill. (Olivier Douliery / Abaca…)

Members of the tea party movement that swept into power in 2010 may be anti-elitist in their rhetoric, but their personal finances tell a different story.

While the median average net worth in the U.S. House of Representatives was $755,000 in 2010, the comparable figure for the House Tea Party Caucus’ 60 members was $1.8 million, according to an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics.

The caucus -- known for its populist politics -- has 33 millionaires, including six members who are worth more than $20 million, the center found.

By comparison, the House Progressive Caucus’ 73 members reported a median average net worth of $639,500. Twenty-four members of the progressive caucus are millionaires.

Of the Tea Party Caucus members, Texas Rep. Kenny Marchant is believed to be the richest, with an estimated net worth of $49.3 million. Tennessee Rep. Stephen Fincher is the poorest, with an estimated net worth of negative $3.3 million.

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, who founded the caucus, is worth at least $900,000.

In the Senate, however, the three members of the chamber’s Tea Party Caucus are considerably poorer than the rest of their colleagues. Sens. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah had an average worth of less than $774,000, compared with the Senate-wide average of $2.6 million.

The Center for Responsive Politics is a nonpartisan watchdog group that tracks the flow of money in national politics. The center conducted its analysis by reviewing personal financial disclosure forms that were submitted by members of Congress for the year of 2010.

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