Half of US Congressional politicians are millionaires

Congressman Darrell Issa in Washington on 4 December 2013 Republican Congressman Darrell Issa is the wealthiest member of Congress, with a net worth upwards of $598m (file photo)

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For the first time, half of the members of the US Congress are millionaires, according to a wealth analysis.

At least 268 of the 534 politicians in the Senate and House of Representatives had a net worth of $1m (£606,821) or more in 2012.

Democrats were slightly wealthier than Republicans, found the data from the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) at OpenSecrets.org.

It comes as politicians debate national jobless benefits and the minimum wage.

Start Quote

There's been no change in our appetite to elect affluent politicians to represent our concerns in Washington”

End Quote Sheila Krumholz Director of the Center for Responsive Politics

The median net worth for Washington politicians came in at $1m, according to data.

Democrats registered a median wealth of $1.04m while Republicans had $1m.

Senators ranked higher than members of the House in median wealth, with $2.7m versus $896,000 in the lower chamber.

The wealthiest member of Congress was Republican Congressman Darrell Issa. The Californian reported a net worth of up to $598m, earned largely through sales of a car antitheft system.

The poorest member of Congress was also a California Republican, Congressman David Valadao. He listed debts upwards of $12m, largely stemming from loans on a family dairy farm.

As Congress suffers under some of its lowest approval ratings in history, "there's been no change in our appetite to elect affluent politicians to represent our concerns in Washington", CRP director Sheila Krumholz told the Agence France-Presse news agency.

Also necessary is wealth "to run financially viable campaigns", she added.

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