WASHINGTON – House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (search) 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, as well as assets, liabilities, travel paid by private interests and speech honoraria. Most categories are reported within broad dollar ranges.
The House's no. 2 Republican, Majority Leader Tom DeLay (search), R-Texas, did report gifts he received, $53,500 in corporate and individual donations to his legal expense trust fund.
Among the donations were $5,000 from R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and $5,000 from Reliant Energy Inc. (search), a Houston energy company.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (search), in a lawsuit dismissed in 2001, had accused DeLay of violating racketeering laws. DeLay reported that he still owes $50,000-$100,000 to a Houston law firm.
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. Senators released their forms Monday.
But some in the House, including its longest serving member, 77-year-old Rep. John Dingell (search), 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.
House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., a high school wrestling coach before he got into politics, appeared to get by mainly on his salary as the House leader, $198,600, and a $28,567 pension he received as a former Illinois state legislator.
He has a mutual fund valued at $50,000-$100,000 and took in $5,000-$15,000 from rent on a townhouse he owns in Washington.
Far more affluent was Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., whose husband, an investor, has a long list of stock holdings, many in high-tech firms.
The couple's assets include a vineyard in St. Helena, Calif., valued at $5 million-$25 million. Last year they gained $1 million-$5 million from the sale of an 8-acre vineyard in Rutherford Calif.
Rep. John Boehner (search), 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 (search), 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.
Rep. David Obey (search), D-Wis., top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee that every year approves hundreds of billions of dollars in government spending, reported uncomplicated personal finances. His major assets were two individual retirement accounts with a combined valued of $16,000-$65,000 and a bank account worth between $1,000-$15,000.