The U.S. House of Representatives released personal financial disclosures of its members last week in a process intended to announce possible conflicts of interest and to provide a glimpse at the relative wealth of each legislator. A review of Minnesota’s delegation finds Rep. James Oberstar is the state’s wealthiest representative, while Rep. Keith Ellison the poorest. Rep. Bachmann benefited the most from special interest-funded travel, while neither Rep. Tim Walz nor Rep. Betty McCollum traveled on trips paid by interest groups. None of Minnesota’s delegation had any investments in BP.
Bachmann and McCollum filed their reports late, McCollum by nine days and Bachmann by 31 days. According to a spokeswoman at the Legislative Resource Center, Bachmann applied for and was approved for a filing extension this year.
Bachmann’s net worth (pdf) is between $512,000 and $2.055 million, an average of $1.283 million (Note: The congressional disclosure forms only record very broad estimates of assets and liabilities for each member). Bachmann’s assets are in the form of mutual funds, property, her family business and family farm.
Bachmann has accepted seven trips from interest groups including Concerned Women for America, Pat Robertson’s Regent University, and Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum.
Rep. Ellison’s assets (pdf) are invested in mutual funds and are worth between $2,004 to $34,000, an average of $18,002. Ellison accepted one trip, paid for by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, to Nairobi, Kenya.
Rep. John Kline (pdf) has investments totaling between $288,000 and $700,000 (an average of $494,000) and accepted a trip from the Heritage Foundation in 2009.
Rep. McCollum (pdf) has money in mutual funds worth between $25,000 and $200,000 or an average of $112,500. She accepted no money for trips in 2009.
Rep. Oberstar (pdf) has the most wealth of any member of the delegation, somewhere between $4.773 and $8.222 million, an average of around $6.5 million. He owns stock in numerous corporations including Apple, Exxon Mobil, Disney, General Electric, Home Depot, and Microsoft. He accepted two trips to the Aspen Institute in 2009.
Rep. Erik Paulsen (pdf) has mutual fund investments and holds stock in Proctor and Gamble, Excel Energy, Cisco Systems and Coca Cola among others. His worth is between $69,000 and $385,000, for an average of $227,000. He accepted one trip in 2009, from the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas.
Rep. Collin Peterson (pdf) has few investments but counts rent on a farm property and partnership in a property among them. His net worth is between $77,300 and $204,300, an average of $140,800. Chair of the House Committee on Agriculture, he accepted one trip in 2009, paid for by the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation.
Rep. Tim Walz (pdf) lists a rental unit, several mutual funds, and retirement accounts from his years teaching in Mankato public schools. His net worth is between $154,000 and $310,000, for an average of $232,000.
According to the Federal Reserve Board, the average family net worth in America is $120,300. That number, the most recent available, is from 2007 – before the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009.