Millionaires now a majority in Congress

A new study shows that for the first time more than half of members had an average net worth of $1 million or more in 2012.

By MSN Money Partner Jan 10, 2014 1:12PM

The stars and stripes flag flying at the Capitol Building, Washington D.C. © Tim Graham/Getty ImagesBy Robert Frank


According to the Center for Responsive Politics, a majority -- 268 of the 534 members of Congress -- had an average net worth in 2012 of $1 million or more, marking the first time millionaires held a majority in Congress.


The previous year, only 257 members had millionaire status.


The median net worth for the lawmakers who were in Congress as of the May 2013 filing was $1,008,767, up from the previous year's $966,000.


Of course Congress, and especially the Senate, has long been a wealthy club. But millionaires have always been in the minority. The Center for Responsive Politics said that this is a "watershed" moment and shows how removed Congress has become from the concerns of most, non-millionaire Americans.


"Despite the fact that polls show how dissatisfied Americans are with Congress overall, there's been no change in our appetite to elect affluent politicians to represent our concerns in Washington," said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the center. "Of course, it's undeniable that in our electoral system, candidates need access to wealth to run financially viable campaigns, and the most successful fundraisers are politicians who swim in those circles to begin with."CNBC on MSN Money


For all of Congress, Democrats are richer than Republicans. Congressional Democrats had a median net worth of $1.04 million, while congressional Republicans had a median net worth of almost exactly $1 million. In both cases, the figures are up from the previous year, when the numbers were $990,000 and $907,000, respectively.


The Senate is much richer than the House. The median net worth for all senators increased to $2.7 million from $2.5 million. In the Senate, Republicans are richer than Democrats. Senate Democrats reported a median net worth of $1.7 million (a decline from 2011's $2.4 million), compared with Senate Republicans, at $2.9 million (an increase from $2.5 million).


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Jan 10, 2014 2:23PM
It is proof that this country is run by greed, not the interest of the public.
Jan 10, 2014 2:03PM
This info doesn't tell us the most important data many and how became millionaires AFTER they got into congress? I hear it pays very well outside of a gov't paycheck. In American politics of today, doing nothing(or negative) for America is a path to personal riches.

Jan 10, 2014 2:27PM
WE THE PEOPLE.............Doesn't seem to apply anymore.
Jan 10, 2014 2:30PM

Of Course members of Congress are millionaires. They are contstantly paid off by the Billionaires .


Members of Congress has sold out the Middle Class to prostitute themselves to the Billionaires that own them.


With Congress in power who needs enemies. Why spend $800 Billion on Defense when then greatest destructive and constand force taking out the Middle Clas is Congress.


Impeach all members of Congress,

Term limits and publicly pauid elections versus ":PRIVATELY OWNED MEMBERS OF CCONGRESS"

Jan 10, 2014 2:44PM
Is it any wonder why government is out of touch with the average American?
Jan 10, 2014 2:37PM
Wow-now there's some representation. Now we know why tax breaks for the rich is their #1 priority.
Jan 10, 2014 2:01PM

It always amazes me how the representatives of "party of the common man" is better off than the "party of the wealthy".


Cronyism has it's rewards.  It is amazing all the friendly loopholes you can put in these overbearing regulations to benefit you and your friends' interests. b Are they looking to protect "the common man" or keep us where we belong, under their thumb.

Jan 10, 2014 2:53PM

I was taught in school that the original congress was designed for thehard working class of America like the farmers who had to go back to the farm in spring to plant their crops. The Senate was for the high society that would have died if they had to work. Now it looks like we have the high society in both the Senate and Congress. It is still true they would die if they had to do actual work. We need to eliminate the career politition. Just look at the condition our country is in. Since I do not vote by political party but by the best person for the position, I can blame them all for being a bunch of dead beats. All they have done is increase their standard of living while decreasing our standard of living. Remember this at election time and watch all the sheep being lead to the slaughter as they vote for the same idiots that have caused this mess.


I can see by the replies to my remarks you do not think for yourself. My main point is it is people with out a backbone that have allowed us to get into the mess we are in. You have allowed the career politician pull the wool over your eyes. I am a big supporter of term limits. We need to get the dead beat millionaires out of office. I know if we had more common men running our country we would not be in the mess we are in.

Jan 10, 2014 2:54PM
The costs of running a successful campaign are crushingly prohibitive to anyone but the elite.  
Jan 10, 2014 1:41PM
I'm sure they can relate to the average guy. Snark, snark.
Jan 10, 2014 3:41PM
And these "millionaires" are exempt from Obamacare, and the taxpayer pays for their Cadillac insurance plans, and for their pensions, etc. etc.....  But they're all worth it aren't they?
Jan 10, 2014 3:32PM
53% of the 1% are Dems yet they try and make everyone beleive that only republicans are rich.
Jan 10, 2014 2:34PM
Jan 10, 2014 3:01PM
Who says we don't have "Royals" in the US?!?
Jan 10, 2014 2:57PM
Why would anything in government change? They are getting exactly what they want the way things are. Stoning sounds good to me.
Jan 10, 2014 2:49PM
Jan 10, 2014 2:46PM
  Worse, most are trial lawyers. Very good at spinning lies. The difference in the senate is Cary the richest man to ever run for pres.
Jan 10, 2014 3:49PM
I have no problem with them being millionaires.  I have a problem with them being self serving idiots.  Term limits please.
Jan 10, 2014 3:36PM

So much for the whole Republicans are rich old white guys and Democrats represent "the people" fallacy.

Its a shame this won't get out to the people. Proof that both parties are really nothing more than Country Clubs.

Jan 10, 2014 3:54PM

This is why the AVERAGE CITIZEN that could help this country by being  elected to office is run over by the MONEY GRUBBY POLITICIANS.

WE NEED TERM LIMITS NOW, and set a MAXIMUM amount for campaigning so the average person has a chance.

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