Thursday, November 5, 2009

Rich Man, Poor Man

Sen. Jeff Bingaman is the only bona fide millionaire among New Mexico's Congressional delegation, although Sen. Tom Udall and Rep. Harry Teague might be.

This is according to a new study by the Center for Responsive Politics. The Center, using annual financial disclosure statements required of each member of Congress ranks the members according to personal wealth.

However, it's impossible to be precise due to the disclosure forms. As a disclaimer on the group's says:
It is difficult to gauge what a lawmaker is worth based on what they file because the disclosure forms do not require exact values. Instead, the lawmaker reports the range of value into which an asset, for example, falls. As the values increase, the ranges get broader. To calculate net worth, shown here, CRP added together the lawmaker's range of assets and then subtracted their range of liabilities. We then calculate the midpoint of the resulting range and use this figure to rank the filers.

Nearly half the members of Congress are millionaires, the Center says.

Here's how our team in Washington is doing.

Bingaman ranks 22nd in terms of net worth in the Senate with a range of $4,434,112 to $10,178,001.

Sen. Tom Udall ranks 60th in the Senate. His net worth is estimated at $817,028 to $2,056,000.

In the House, all three of New Mexico's Congressmen are in the bottom rung of wealth.

CD 3's Rep. Ben Ray Lujan ranks 379th in the House with a net worth ranging between $31,003 and $115,000

Rep. Martin Heinrich from the 1st CD ranks 400th. His net worth ranges between $10,818 to $43,816.

Oilman Teague of CD 2 ranks 438th -- that's next to the "poorest"-- in the House with a net worth ranging from (negative) $4,270,958 to $1,211,999. What brings down Teague's total net worth is a liability in the form of a personal loan -- reported at being between $1 million and $5 million -- from his company Teaco Energy.

Like many members of Congress -- not to mention the rest of us -- Teague took a financial bath last year. In his report filed last year, before he was elected, his net worth was between $2.2 million and $29.2 million.