WASHINGTON - Unlike the residents of Lake Wobegon, Minnesota's congressional delegation may be below average when it comes to personal wealth.
By law, members of Congress are required to release some details about their personal finances every year. Today, Congress released its members' 2010 disclosure forms.
From a first look at the data, Minnesota's delegation is pretty modest, especially if you consider that the average net worth of a U.S.House member in 2009 was $4.9 million while Senators averaged $13.4 million. (Granted, those averages are skewed by the presence of a significant group of members whose net worth is in the hundreds of millions of dollars.)
The House forms were released electronically, so we'll start there.
A couple of other caveats - GOP Reps. Michele Bachmann and Chip Cravaack received extensions and didn't file today. Since her presidential announcement, Bachmann's disclosure will get special scrutiny from the media.
The Senate forms were released on paper and we don't yet have a physical copy of them. DFL Sen. Al Franken has asked for an extension so his forms won't be available until next month.
The disclosures only list assets, liabilities and additional income in broad ranges, so as to preserve some privacy for the members. Information about primary residences, car loans and how much a spouse earns from their main job is excluded from these forms.
You can find the forms yourself here.
Now, the details:
MN-1 - Tim Walz - Walz's net worth is between negative $130,000 and $570,000.
Walz's assets are somewhere in the range between $334,000 and $760,000. Most of his assets are concentrated in retirement funds, life insurance and a rental property in Mankato.
Those are offset by debts that are somewhere between $190,000 and $465,000 spread between three credit cards, the mortgage on the rental property and an additional line of credit on the same property.
MN-2 - John Kline - Kline's net worth is between $251,000 and $676,000 with no reported liabilities.
His assets are split between a family farm in Houston, MN and a variety of annuities and mutual funds.
As a former colonel in the Marine Corps, Kline also receives a pension from the U.S. military in addition to his congressional salary of $174,000.
MN -3 - Erik Paulsen - So far, Paulsen is the wealthiest member of Minnesota's delegation although I suspect that both Al Franken and Michele Bachmann's net worth will outpace Paulsen's.
Paulsen's 2010 net worth is between $152,000 and $800,000 with zero reported liabilities.
The bulk of that money appears to be invested in retirement and college savings funds but Paulsen, a former Target executive, also appears to enjoy dabbling in stock trading. He reports holdings of less than $15,000 each in blue chip companies such as Coca-Cola, Proctor & Gamble, Medtronic (Paulsen also co-chairs the House Medical Technology Caucus) and Cisco.
MN-4 - Betty McCollum - McCollum, who sits on the big money Appropriations and Budget Committees, has a net worth is somewhere between $11,000 and $165,000.
She has no reported liabilities and the bulk of her assets are invested in mutual funds, including two managed by Goldman Sach.
MN-5 - Keith Ellison - The Minneapolis progressive likely has the lowest net worth of the delegation, which is somewhere between $19,000 and negative $48,000.
Ellison, who sits on the Financial Services Committee, has a small portfolio of mutual funds that's worth between $2,000 and $34,000 but also records a liability between $15,000 and $50,000 with the Congressional Federal Credit Union that's marked down as "Ready Reserve."
MN-6 - Michele Bachmann - As noted above, Bachmann has requested an extension on filing her disclosure. You can be sure that we (and the rest of the media) will write up the details once we get hold of them.
MN-7 - Collin Peterson - It's probably no surprise that the ranking member and former chairman of the House Agriculture Committee owns a farm.
But Peterson, whose net worth is between $68,000 and $195,000, sold a half stake of his farm last year for between $50,000 and $100,000.
He's long criticized Wall Street for being reckless and it's perhaps no surprise to see that Minnesota's longest-serving member of Congress has no money invested in the markets. His assets are tied up in a property partnership and a business, Peterson Fox.
Peterson had no liabilities in 2010.
MN-8 - Chip Cravaack - As noted, Cravaack also asked for an extension. Spokesman Shawn Ryan said Cravaack should be filing his disclosures today.
Question #1. The wording on Congressman Walz implies that he his a negative net worth (between negative $130,000 and $570,000) ... is that correct ?
Comment #1. Is it not correct that a personal residence is not included and as such there actual net worth is higher ?
Comment #2. Hasn't Ms. Bachmann typically asked for extensions in the past ?
Comment #3. Shouldn't this be listed in historical terms ... it might be more relevent as to whose financial disclosures have risen and whose has decreased.
In response to your comment:
Q#1 Yes, Walz could theoretically have a negative net worth if you take his maximum possible liabilities measured against his minimum assets.
Comment#1 As noted, personal residences (and their associated mortgages) are excluded so it's possible that the net worth figures could be higher or lower.
Comments #2 and 3 - I just started this job in February and haven't had a chance to tabulate the historical data/note who has and hasn't applied for extensions before but hope to soon.
Thanks for commenting.
I agree with MN Central on the last point. It would be nice to see the year over year changes. Also, MN central meant to say "their" not "there"