WASHINGTON -- How much do your members of Congress make? According to a new report, for the first time ever, more than half of those in Congress are millionaires, and that includes two Idahoans. In fact, Idaho's delegation has one of the richest congressmen and one who is among those with the least amount of wealth.
A new report has just been released from the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics. It shows, just over 50 percent of those in Congress had a net worth of $1 million or more in 2012. That's up from 48 percent in 2011. And it marks the first time that a majority of politicians on Capitol Hill are in the millionaire's club.
Where do Idaho's congressmen rank? Sen. Jim Risch has an estimated worth of more than $53 million. That makes him the 17th richest lawmaker.
Much further down the list, but still a millionaire is Rep. Mike Simpson, who has an estimated net worth of about $2.6 million.
Sen. Mike Crapo checks in with about $870,000.
And, Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador is listed as one of the least rich in Congress, with an estimated worth of about minus $57,000. That doesn't mean that Labrador is poor, just that, like many Idahoans, he has loans, debt, or mortgages on properties that produce income.
It's impossible to know exactly how much money lawmakers have. They are required to report their assets in broad ranges only. But, this information still got people talking on KTVB's Facebook pages. Some really didn't care, but still took the time to post. Others talked about this showing how out-of-touch Congress is. While others had no problem with the numbers, saying, if they earned it, good for them.
But, how did these congressmen earn all this money? For most of them it's from real estate. Congress-members' combined real estate assets are valued at between $442 million and $1.4 billion. And 91 percent of Sen. Risch's net worth is tied to real estate.
If you were wondering, the richest lawmaker is Rep. Darrell Issa, a California Republican. The Center calculates his average net worth at about $464 million.
The study was released as lawmakers in both parties are putting a spotlight on income disparities now and in the coming weeks in Congress.