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Archive for May 13th, 2008

Fortune 435: How wealthy is Congress?

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Jane Harman, who represents California’s 36th District, may be the wealthiest member of Congress. She may also be running second as the member of Congress who has seen the greatest accretion of net worth since attaining her House seat in 1994.

According to an analysis by the Sunlight Foundation called Fortune 435, Rep. Harman’s net worth in 2006 may have been $409,426,887, up from $241,334,326 in 2000. (Sunlight bills itself as “a catalyst to create greater political transparency and to foster more openness and accountability in government.”)

The site allows inspection of each member of Congress in terms of net worth. Tabs lead to “Wealthiest,” “Greatest Change,” “Started with $0 or less,” and “Ended 2006 with $0 or less.”

It’s great fun. But Fortune 435’s worth is not its revelation of congressional wealth; rather, it demonstrates the weaknesses in the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 that requires financial disclosures by members of Congress. That’s why “may” is the operative word regarding Rep. Harman’s wealth.
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

May 13, 2008 at 2:02 pm

Posted in Uncategorized