House Majority Whip Roy Blunt got one break this year when he joined his 434 colleagues in making public his financial records on Wednesday: He didn’t have to list the gifts from his wedding last October.
Blunt, R-Mo., asked for and was granted a waiver from the House ethics committee so he could keep private his wedding benefactors, presumably including some in the business community with ties to the third-ranked Republican, or friends of his bride, a lobbyist. Asked by The Associated Press for a list of gift givers, a spokeswoman in Blunt’s office said his office doesn’t have one.
Otherwise, he and other House members were required, in an annual rite, to submit financial disclosure forms that show outside sources of income beyond their $154,700 salaries, assets, liabilities, travel paid by private interests and speech honoraria.
Members of the Senate released their financial disclosure forms on Monday.
Generally younger than senators
House lawmakers tend to be younger and somewhat less well-off than their Senate counterparts, who include multimillionaires such as John D. Rockefeller IV, D-W.Va., Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., a surgeon whose family owns a private hospital group.
But some, including the longest serving member of the House, 77-year-old Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., are doing quite well. Dingell’s wife, General Motors Corp. Foundation vice chairman Debbie Dingell, holds General Motors Corp. stock options worth $1 million-$5 million and a G.M. savings/stock purchase plan worth $500,000-$1 million.
Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, like many members of Congress, supplements his congressional paycheck with numerous investments. He has a stock and pension plan at a plastics company valued at between $515,002 and $1.05 million and six mutual funds worth $146,006-$365,000.
On the other side of the financial spectrum was fellow Ohio Republican Bob Ney, chairman of the House Administration Committee. Ney reported as his major asset a savings account of less than $1,000 and his major sources of unearned income interest from that savings account of less than $200.
Ney was able to shrink a debt on two credit cards from $30,002-$100,000 last year to below $10,000, possibly with the help of $34,000 he won playing a game of chance at the Ambassador’s Club casino in London.