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Millionaires’ club in U.S. Congress exceeds half of members

By Derek Wallbank
Bloomberg News

We’ve heard about the 1 percent.

We’ve heard about the 47 percent.

And now, for the first time, more than 50 percent of the members of the U.S. Congress are millionaires, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, the Washington-based organization that tracks political spending.

The median net worth in 2012 for all current members of Congress in office as of the May filing deadline, which was 530 of 535 lawmakers, was $1,008,767.

That’s the first time the median has exceeded $1 million, the center found in a survey of congressional and candidate financial disclosures. There are 268 current members who had a net worth of $1 million or more, up from 257 members, or 48 percent, a year earlier.

The milestone comes as Congress is having difficulty approving benefits for people who have less, such as extending expanded unemployment benefits, funding for food stamps and increasing the minimum wage.

“Despite the fact that polls show how dissatisfied Americans are with Congress overall, there’s been no change in our appetite to elect affluent politicians to represent our concerns in Washington,” Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the center, said in a statement on the group’s website.

Krumholz said it is “undeniable” that to run for office in the U.S. electoral system “candidates need access to wealth to run financially viable campaigns, and the most successful fundraisers are politicians who swim in those circles to begin with.”


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