The Congress of the United States
The Congress of the United States is the legislative, or lawmaking, branch of the federal government. It is a bicameral legislature, which means that it is made up of two chambers, or houses. They are the House of Representatives and the Senate. The CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES gives the two houses similar powers. The most important of these is that no law can be adopted unless it is first passed in identical form by a majority (more than half) of the members of each house. For more on US Congress and other governmental links, click here.
The Fifty United States of America
For a map of the Federal Districts, click here.
These figures are base estimates provided by senators and house members on their financial disclosure forms.
|Posted on Mon, Jun. 16, 2003|
Pelosi among richest Democrats in House
WASHINGTON - The top Democrat in the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, owns vineyards and other properties that make her far wealthier than her Republican counterpart, Speaker Dennis Hastert of Illinois.
House financial records for most of the House's 435 members sketch a detailed though imprecise portrait of a chamber whose members include wealthy heirs and business people. The 2002 forms were released Monday.
One, freshman Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., a former White House political adviser to President Clinton, reported earning $9,678,775 in deferred and other compensation alone last year from Wasserstein Perella and Co., an investment banking firm.
Yet there are also those like Bill Thomas, R-Calif., chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, who reported owning no assets. Lawmakers, most of whose House salaries were $150,000, are not required to report their homes or their spouses' earnings.
Arrayed between the two extremes are legislators who are generally more comfortable than the average American, though not immune to the pitfalls of today's sagging financial markets.
House Budget Committee Chairman Jim Nussle, R-Iowa, reported that his investment portfolio lost nearly $30,000 last year.
Many own stock in companies that could be affected by energy, prescription drug or other legislation that Congress is considering.
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, listed $50,000 to $100,000 in Exxon Mobil Corp. stock.
Texas Rep. Martin Frost, the top Democrat on the House Rules Committee, reported stock in pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co. of the same approximate value. Lawmakers are required to report only ranges of figures, not precise numbers.
"It doesn't affect my decision-making at all, and in fact, I'm on the opposite side of the prescription drug companies for years," Frost said in a statement.
Also chronicled is widespread free travel, sometimes financed by interests overseen by committees the lawmakers serve on. Such trips are legal as long as they are reported and designed for gathering information.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Billy Tauzin, R-La., took a three-day trip to Palm Beach, Fla., paid for by the Florida Power & Light Co. Minnesota Rep. James Oberstar, top Democrat on the House Transportation Committee, journeyed to Las Vegas, compliments of the American Road and Transportation Builders Association.
Among the more well-traveled members were House Education and Workforce Committee Chairman John Boehner, R-Ohio, who reported 11 free trips, and Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank, top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, who listed 17.
Pelosi is a 16-year House veteran who this year became the first woman to lead a party in either chamber of Congress.
She reported owning two vineyards in St. Helena and Rutherford, Calif., worth from $6 million to $26 million with her husband, Paul, a San Francisco businessman.
The Pelosis also own six California properties worth from $2.8 million to $11.5 million. The report listed millions of dollars worth of real estate and stock owned solely by Paul Pelosi.
Hastert, who as speaker had a $192,600 salary, revealed a far more modest portfolio.
The former Illinois state legislator reported a $28,397 pension payment from that job.
His largest listed asset was his Washington, D.C., townhouse, which he said was worth $250,000 to $500,000 and which earned him $5,000 to $15,000 by renting parts of it to two top aides.
He also reported selling two buildings in Illinois and a money market fund for a total of $450,000 to $1 million. An aide said he used the money to purchase a new home in rural Kendall County, Ill.
The reports also showed that:
Senate Millionaires Top
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Herb Kohl, D - Wisconsin: $111,015,016
John Rockefeller, D - West Virginia: $81,648,018
Jon Corzine, D - New Jersey: $71,035,025
Dianne Feinstein, D -California: $26,377,109
Peter Fitzgerald, R - Illinois: $26,132,013
Frank Lautenberg, D - New Jersey $17,789,018
Bill Frist, R - Tennessee: $15,108,042
John Edwards, D - North Carolina: $12,844,029
Edward Kennedy, D -Massachusetts: $9,905,009
Jeff Bingaman, D - New Mexico: $7,981,015
Bob Graham, D - Florida: $7,691,052
Richard Shelby, R -Alabama: $7,085,012
Gordon Smith, R - Oregon: $6,429,011
Lincoln Chafee, R - Rhode Island: $6,296,010
Ben Nelson, D - Nebraska: $6,267,028
Lamar Alexander, R -Tennessee: $4,823,018
Mike DeWine, R - Ohio: $4,308,093
Mark Dayton, D -Minnesota: $3,974,037
Ben Campbell, R -Colorado: $3,165,007
Chuck Hagel, R - Nebraska: $2,963,013
Olympia Snowe, R - Maine: $2,955,037
James Talent, R - Missouri: $2,843,031
Arlen Specter, R -Pennsylvania: $2,045,016
Judd Gregg, R - New Hampshire: $1,916,026
John McCain, R - Arizona: $1,838,010
James Inhofe, R -Oklahoma: $1,570,043
John Warner, R - Virginia: $1,545,039
Kay Bailey Hutchison, - Texas: $1,513,046
Mitch McConnell, R -Kentucky: $1,511,017
Harry Reid, D - Nevada: $1,500,040
Sam Brownback, R -Kansas: $1,491,018
Thomas Carper, D -Delaware: $1,482,017
Ted Stevens, R - Alaska: $1,417,013
Maria Cantwell, D -Washington: $1,264,999
Barbara Boxer, D -California: $1,172,003
Orrin Hatch, R - Utah: $1,086,023
Mary Landrieu, D -Louisiana: $1,080,014
Bill Nelson, D - Florida: $1,073,014
Charles Grassley, R - Iowa: $1,016,024
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