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Archive for the ‘Congress’ Category

15 Richest Members of Congress

Posted by Steve Markowitz on January 1, 2012

CNN and Roll Call published their list of the wealthiest members of Congress.  They obtained the financial from publicly available disclosures made by the politicians.  While these disclosures do not offer the a precise net worth, they enabled Roll Call to make reasonable minimal net worth estimates.  The wealthiest top fifteen is listed below,

This Blog does not begrudge politicians for their wealth.  However, the list questions the narrative created by progressives that the Left is concerned with the well-being of the common man.  Of the top 15 wealthiest members of Congress, eight are Democrats with two of the top five being Rockefeller and ultra Liberal Kerry who obtain their wealth through inheritance and/or marriage.  In addition, some of the Leftists members of Congress on the list have professed support for the Occupy Wall Street movement even though they themselves are in the top 1% club.

While President Obama often refers to Warren Buffett’s willingness to pay more taxes in class warfare speeches, he ignores the accumulated wealth that some of his most important supporters in Congress have accumulated.  How convenient.  Another example of hope and change in Washington.

1. Representative Michael McCaul, Republican, Texas

Estimated minimum net worth – $295 million.

Main source of wealth – Marriage: wife Linda is daughter of Clear Channel Communications founder Lowry Mays.

Significant occurrences – one of Linda investment accounts doubled in value in the past year from a minimum of $25 million to $50 million.

2. Representative Darrell Issa, Republican, California

Estimated minimum net worth – $295 million.

Main source of wealth – founded Direct Electronics, a manufacturer of car alarms

Significant occurrences – Issa’s Greene Properties doubled in value last year from $25 to $50 million.

3. Senator John Kerry, Democrat, Massachusetts

Estimated minimum net worth – $200 million.

Main source of wealth – Marriage: wife Teresa is window of John Heinz, a heir to the ketchup company.

Significant occurrences – lists over hundred 40 assets, each that above $1 million in value.

4. Senator Jay Rockefeller, Democrat, West Virginia

Estimated minimum net worth – $80 million.

Main source of wealth – Inheritance: descendent of oil baron John D Rockefeller.

Recent significant occurrences – two trusts owned by the senator each generated from $1 million to $5 million in income for 2010.

5. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.)

Estimated minimum net worth – $50 million.

Main source of wealth – founder of telecommunications company, Nextel.

Significant occurrences – investment in Columbia Capital Equity Partners increased fivefold from 2009 to 2010.

6. Representative Jared Polis, Democrat, Colorado

Estimated minimum net worth – $25 – $50 million.

Main source of wealth – varied.

Significant occurrences – during 2010, net worth increase by $9 million.

7. Senator Frank Lautenberg, Democrat, New Jersey

Estimated minimum net worth – $50 million.

Main source of wealth – founder of data processing company, ADP.

Significant occurrences – net worth increased nearly 11% during 2011.

8. Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat, Connecticut

Estimated minimum net worth – $25 – $50 million.

Main source of wealth – Marriage: wife, Cynthia is the daughter of New York real estate magnate, Peter Malkin.

Significant occurrences – Family owns significant real estate in New York including the Empire State Building Associates.

9. Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat, California

Estimated minimum net worth – $20 million.

Main source of wealth – Marriage: husband Blum’s numerous investments and partnerships.

Significant occurrences – owns San Francisco’s Carlton Hotel Properties, as well as a Hawaiian condominium valued at over $1 million.

10. Representative Vern Buchanan, Republican, Florida

Estimated minimum net worth – $20 million.

Main source of wealth – car dealerships.

Significant occurrences – wealth dropped 20% in 2010 due to losses in the sale of some car dealerships.

11. Representative Jim Renacci, Republican, Ohio

Estimated minimum net worth – $10 million.

Main source of wealth – ownership of nursing homes.

12. Representative Nancy Pelosi, Democrat, California

Estimated minimum net worth – $10 Million.

Main source of wealth – Marriage: husband Paul has significant real estate holdings in California..

Significant occurrences – net worth has increased in the last two years by over 60% due to investments in real estate and football.

13. Representative Rick Berg, Republican, North Dakota

Estimated minimum net worth – $10 million.

Main source of wealth – investments in real estate.

14. Senator Bob Corker, Republican, Tennessee

Estimated minimum net worth – $10 million.

Main source of wealth – real estate investments.

Significant occurrences – an investment in a Dow Jones Industrial Average index fund valued in excess of $5 million.

15. Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen, Republican, New Jersey

Estimated minimum net worth – $10 million.

Main source of wealth – Inheritance: a third of the Congressman’s wealth comes from Procter & Gamble stock.  Frelinghuysen’s father, formerly a New Jersey congressman, was married to Beatrice Sterling Procter and heiress of the founding family.

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Congressman Congressman Hank Johnson Fears Guam Might Tip Over from Excess Population Fears Guam Might Tip Over from Excess Population

Posted by Steve Markowitz on December 18, 2011

All of the polls indicate that most Americans are disenchanted with Congress with its approval ratings often falling in the low teens.  This dissatisfaction comes from the dysfunctional nature of a Congress that includes a majority of its members who rarely produced anything for society prior to becoming professional politicians.  With many members being more concerned about reelection than doing what is right for the Country, Congress is often corrupted with the favors and money received from lobbyists.

Ironically Congress men and women, who often hold some the more important public service positions in the Country, need no qualifications for the job.  Their election at best is based on simple popularity and often on the whims of power brokers inside of the two major political parties.  Examples of outright stupidity by members of the Congress are many.  This poster child for stupidity was former Congressman Anthony “Oscar Meyer” Wiener.

A fine example of the ignorance of those who serve in Congress is Georgia Democrat Hank Johnson.  This fine example of congressional intellect blamed the Fast and Furious scandal in which the US government sold guns to narco-terrorist in Mexico on the Tea Party stating: “I think this is another manufactured controversy by the second amendment, NRA Republican tea party movement”.

In a further display of intellectual numbness, Johnson, while questioning a Navy admiral about sending 8,000 troops to Guam, stated his fears that those additional people could cause the island to “become so overly populated that it will tip over an capsize.”  …….  Yikes, and this guy has a law degree!

Congressman Johnson is a member of the House Armed Services and the Judiciary Committees.  In these posts he is involved in overseeing important military matters, as well as judicial appointments.  Given Johnson’s outrageous statements above, he is not capable of performing these important tasks.  But, he will likely hold these positions for many years to come in the good old boy network that is Congress.

In fairness to Congressman Johnson, it should be mentioned that he suffers from long-term Hepatitis C and is on medication for this serious illness.  Possibly, this medication affects his ability for rational thought.  However, this too should make him unfit for the job.

The video below with Congressman Johnson’s outrageous Guam claim was taken at a hearing during 2010.  However, the mainstream media ignored this outrageous claim by a US Congressman because he happens to be a fellow Leftist.  The media’ s refusal to call Leftist politicians when they exhibit outrageous and incompetent behavior will be viewed by history as a reason for the degradation of the Democratic Party and more broadly the American political system.

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Payroll Tax Break Extended; Republicans Pressure Obama on Oil Pipeline

Posted by Steve Markowitz on December 17, 2011

United States Senate today approved a two month extension of the payroll tax break in a vote of 89 to 10.  This decreases the amount of money employees are required to fund Social Security.  This vote is further evidence of the dysfunctional nature of the legislative branch of government in Washington and its inability to address the current and long-term financial problems that face the Country.

Extending the payroll tax break puts only a few dollars in American pockets each week, but further increases the problem of the you deficit that the Social Security Ponzi scheme faces.  The Senate passed this legislation in its continuing lame efforts to pacify an increasingly restive electorate.  While such action by the legislative branch has been ongoing for decades if not generations, the scope of the dollars involved more recently is staggering.  In addition, given the $15 trillion deficit the United States currently has, these “presents” now handed out are being purchased on a credit card and charged to the next generation.

The Senate Republicans, who exposed to be fiscally conservative, agreed to continuing the current handout in exchange for Senate Democrats agreeing to force president Obama to make a decision on whether to proceed with the TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL crude-oil pipeline within 60 days.  The decision to continue a tax break is either good or bad for the Country on its own.  The same is the case on the oil pipeline. The fact that two distinctly different subjects are tied together in one piece of legislation is another example of why our government is so incapable of creating a strategic vision for curing the ongoing economic ills of the country.

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Large Companies pay more to Lobbyists than Taxes

Posted by Steve Markowitz on December 13, 2011

Public Campaign, a nonpartisan organization, published a report in December that speaks volumes about the dysfunctional and corruptive US Federal Tax Code.  The report is further proof that the US Tax Code needs to be scrapped and that Congress must be stripped of its ability to choose winners and losers through the taxing code.

The report, which gathered information on 30 large public corporations, is titled “How Corporations Pay More for Lobbyists That in Taxes“.  It offers the following findings on the 30 companies:

  • The 30 corporations paid more to lobbyists than in taxes during the three years spanning 2008 to 2010.
  • The companies had a total profit of in excess of $160 billion during the three years, but actually received net tax refunds of $11 billion.
  • These company spent over $475 million during the same three years on lobbying Congress, an amount equal to about $400,000 for every day of the year.

The chart below share specifics of the 30 companies and their payments.  It is hard to imagine how such a huge lobbying expenses can be spent legitimately.  It is clear at the least that they are corruptive of politicians and directly relate to cajoling Congress into manipulating the US Tax Code to their benefit.

While Barack Obama promised change in the way Washington did business, this was campaign rhetoric.  While Obama may be favoring different companies, the back door deals and special tax breaks continue.  In addition, the President is quick to promote class warfare attacking “millionaires and billionaires”  However, this is disingenuous given that Obama has made General Electric’s CEO, Jeffrey Immelt, the head of his Jobs CouncilGE is number one on the list of negative corporate federal income taxes paid.  …..  As they say, if the quacks like a duck it’s not an elephant.

 


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Sarah Palin Gets it Right on the Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street and Political Corruption

Posted by Steve Markowitz on November 18, 2011

An American proverb states: “Don’t judge a book by its cover”.  This is one of many that Progressives just don’t get.

She’s a woman, married to the same man for 20-plus years, a mother, attractive, not a graduate of an Ivy League school, religious and a political conservative.  To Liberals, that makes her unintelligent and fare game for attack.  She is Sarah Palin.  But Palin is more than some list adjectives.  She is a self-made success that should make her the poster women for the feminist movement.  However, that movement has degenerated into a mere puppet of the Radical Left.

Ms. Palin published an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journalthat correctly points to the major challenge facing America today; the corruption of the political and elitist class (How Congress Occupied Wall Street).  This corruption is supported by a Congress that is exempt from laws that apply to We the People for whom they are suppose to be working, including Whistleblowers statutes and Freedom of Information Act requests.

 

The Problem:

Palin simplifies the problem by asking a series of questions:

  • How do politicians who arrive in Washington, D.C. as men and women of modest means leave as millionaires?
  • How do they miraculously accumulate wealth at a rate faster than the rest of us?
  • How do politicians’ stock portfolios outperform even the best hedge-fund managers’?  I answered the question in that speech.

The Immoral Acts:

Palin the offers examples of inappropriate, but technically legal, actions of members of Congress in both political parties that include:

  • Accepting sweetheart gifts of IPO stock from companies seeking to influence legislation.
  • Insider trading with nonpublic government information.
  • Earmarking projects that benefit personal real estate holdings.
  • Subtly extorting campaign donations through the threat of legislation unfavorable to an industry.

The Solution:

In typical Palin, her proposed solutions are simple to understand and implement, which is why they are so opposed by mainstream politicians and elitists:

  • Congress should be subject to the Freedom of Information Act like everyone else.
  • We need more detailed financial disclosure reports, and members should submit reports much more often than once a year.  All stock transactions above $5,000 should be disclosed within five days.
  • From now on, laws that apply to the private sector must apply to Congress, including whistleblower, conflict-of-interest and insider-trading laws.
  • Trading on nonpublic government information should be illegal both for those who pass on the information and those who trade on it.  (This should close the loophole of the blind trusts that aren’t really blind because they’re managed by family members or friends.)
  • No more sweetheart land deals with campaign contributors.  No gifts of IPO shares.
  • No trading of stocks related to committee assignments.
  • No earmarks where the congressman receives a direct benefit.
  • No accepting campaign contributions while Congress is in session.
  • No lobbyists as family members, and no transitioning into a lobbying career after leaving office.

Palin’s conclusions are as transparent as her problem definition. “Politicians derive power from the authority of their office and their access to our tax dollars, and they use that power to enrich and shield themselves.  ……  This call for real reform must transcend political parties.  The grass-roots movements of the right and the left should embrace this.  The tea party’s mission has always been opposition to waste and crony capitalism, and the Occupy protesters must realize that Washington politicians have been “Occupying Wall Street” long before anyone pitched a tent in Zuccotti Park.”

Most not inflicted with Palin Derangement Syndrome (PDS) will agree her observations and proposed solutions.  Those still bothered by PDS will need to wait for the cure.  Maybe it will be covered under ObamaCare, should Congress be able to fund it.

Posted in Congress, Corruption, Sarah Palin | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Nevada Special Election is a Big Win for Republicans

Posted by Steve Markowitz on September 14, 2011

to special congressional elections were held yesterday, one in New York and the other in Nevada.  The New York election in which Republican Bob Turner defeated Democrat David Weprin garnered much of the today’s attention given is the first time a Republican has been elected in the district in about 90 years.  However, the Nevada election also is significant for national politics.

While Nevada’s second Congressional District includes more Republicans than Democrats, it was the margin of the victory that made the election significant.  Republican Mark Amodei defeated Democrat Kate Marshall by over 24,000 votes.  However, just two and a half years ago Barack Obama lost in this district to John McCain by less than 100 votes.  In addition, Democrat Marshall was an attractive candidate without any particular political baggage.

It is clear that the unpopular policies of Barack Obama are having national impact. Last November’s elections led to historic gains for the Republicans in Congress.  It is becoming apparent that even more historic changes are coming in the election just over a year from now.

Given the significance of these recent elections, it is likely that Blue-Dog and middle-of-the-road Democrats will start distancing themselves from President Obama and his policies further increasing the President’s political problems and his ability to lead.

Posted in Congress, Elections, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Republicans Win Wiener’s Abandoned Congressional Seat

Posted by Steve Markowitz on September 14, 2011

Yesterday’s special election in New York City for the Congressional seat previously held by Anthony Weiner has led to a stunning result.  The district that includes Queens and Brooklyn has gone Republican for the first time in nearly a century with Republican Bob Turner defeating Democrat David Weprin.

The election has national implications with political novice Turner making the race a referendum on President Obama.  Turner said on Tuesday evening: “We’ve been asked by the people of this district to send a message to Washington and I hope they hear it loud and clear.  We only hope that our voices are heard.  We can start putting things right again.”

So far it the Dems are not getting the message with Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz saying of the election results: “It’s a very difficult district for Democrats.”  What????   That statement doesn’t even pass the smell test with the Democrats holding a three to one voter margin and the district’s history of voting for Democrats.  Adding insult to injury for the Democrats and the President, the district has a large Jewish population with many voting for Turner, a Roman Catholic, over Weprin, an Orthodox Jew.

The arrogance of Barack Obama will not allow him to read the tea leaves of this New York special election any more than he did with the results of the congressional elections of 2010.  For many who disagree with the direction the Country has taken since Obama was elected, that offers the prospects for real “Hope and Change”.

Posted in Congress, Elections | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Baboons and the Congress

Posted by Steve Markowitz on September 2, 2011

Lee sent in this appropriate bit of trivia that needs no further explanation.

The English language has some wonderfully anthropomorphic collective nouns for the various groups of animals.  We are all familiar with a Herd of cows, a Flock of chickens, a School of fish and a Gaggle of geese.

However, less widely known is a Pride of lions, a Murder of crows (as well as their cousins the rooks and ravens), an Exaltation of doves and, presumably because they look so wise, a Parliament of owls.

Now consider a group of Baboons.  They are the loudest, most dangerous, most obnoxious, most viciously aggressive and least intelligent of all primates.  And what is the proper collective noun for a group of baboons?

Believe it or not ……. a Congress!

Posted in Congress | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Congressman David Wu to Face Ethics Probe

Posted by Steve Markowitz on July 25, 2011

Yet another U.S. Congressman is in trouble, this time seven-term Democrat from Oregon, David Wu.  Wu is accused of an unwanted sexual encounter with a teen-aged daughter of a donor.  This follows Wu’s announcement in February that he was undergoing psychiatric treatment.  It seems that the good Congressman emailed photos of himself wearing a tiger suit to staff.  The charges are serious enough that Democratic leader Pelosi called for an ethics investigation.  So far Wu has indicated that he will not resign.

Wu is just the latest politico in Washington to go public with outrageous behavior.  He has already overtaken Anthony “Oscar Meyer” Weiner in the sleaze category.  Still, we continue to give these misfits in Washington more power.  Yikes!

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Representative Anthony Weiner is a Weasel Concerning a Suggestive Tweet

Posted by Steve Markowitz on June 1, 2011

This time it is Congressman Anthony Wiener, Democrat from New York, who is on the hot seat.  Earlier in the week a West Coast college coed received a rather suggestive photo supposedly of the Congressman and from his Twitter account.  Initially, Wiener’s office claimed that the Congressman’s account was hacked.  However, Wiener’s actions since cast doubt on that story.

After first claiming his Twitter account was hacked, a crime the Congressman refused to report to law enforcement, Weiner has since called the action a “prank”.  While he denied sending the photo, in the same interview he would not deny that the suggestive photo was actually Weiner.

Weiner – “I know for a fact that my account was hacked.  I can definitively say that I did not send this.

Reporter: “Is that picture you?”  Weiner’s reply: “You know I’m not going to talk about this anymore.

Strange actions and responses from an innocent man.

Politicians on the Left and the Right, especially those in Washington, continually show disdain for the people that they work for.  Power breeds corruption and contempt for the law.  Power must be stripped from those in Washington, except for those powers specifically granted under the Constitution.

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