- The Washington Times - Friday, June 15, 2007

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The political fortunes of new congressional leaders House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid soared last year, and financial disclosure forms revealed yesterday they are also doing well in personal money matters.

Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, holds stocks and property worth well into the millions. Mr. Reid, Nevada Democrat, reported having property around his hometown of Searchlight, Nev., as well as investments valued at several million dollars.

They are hardly the richest members of Congress. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, reported four Kennedy family trust funds worth $20 million to $100 million.

Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV, West Virginia Democrat, heir to his family’s oil fortune, has three blind trusts worth more than $80 million.

The Republican leaders also reported healthy incomes and assets.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said he held property in Washington worth $1 million to $5 million. But a large portion of his family’s assets is held by his wife, Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao. She had investments, mostly in index and mutual funds, totaling between roughly $850,000 and $1.9 million, plus retirement accounts valued at between $265,000 and $600,000.

House Minority Leader John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, reported assets of $1 million to $5 million in the retirement plan of a plastics company he previously headed.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, who is running for president, reported that her husband, former President Bill Clinton, made more than $10 million for giving speeches last year. The couple held two accounts — a regular bank account and a blind trust, each valued at between $5 million and $25 million.

Not everyone in Congress is rich. Rep. David R. Obey, Wisconsin Democrat, and Sen. Robert C. Byrd, West Virginia Democrat, the two Appropriations Committee chairmen who are in charge of annual budgets worth almost $1 trillion, reported among the most simple personal budgets. Mr. Byrd listed among his major assets a $100,000 to $200,000 retirement account, while Mr. Obey claimed two IRAs totaling less than $115,000.

The disclosure forms reveal a variety of income sources. Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, Connecticut Democrat and presidential candidate, took in rent of $5,001 to $15,000 for his cottage in Ireland and received a $30,000 book advance for “Letters From Nuremburg.” His father was a prosecutor at the Nuremburg war crime trials after World War II in Germany.

Several other senators were also involved in book projects: Mrs. Clinton reported royalties of $350,000 for her book, “Living History.” Sen. Christopher S. Bond, Missouri Republican, received a $16,667 advance for a book he is co-writing on radical Islamic movements in Southeast Asia.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, California Democrat, made $1,462 from sales of her suspense novel, which features a combative, liberal senator much like herself. Mrs. Boxer also was paid $737 for playing herself on an episode of the HBO series “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”