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Once retired, Pelosi can drink to enviable portfolio

Boehner has stock in BP, other oil companies

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 16, 2010

When her day job as House speaker ends, Nancy Pelosi might one day retire to her vineyard in Napa Valley.

Annual financial disclosure reports released Wednesday show that most congressional leaders have built up nice nest eggs, including investments worth millions, to see them through when they finally give up their hold on political power.

Mrs. Pelosi can repair to her vineyard in St. Helena, Calif., valued at between $5 million and $25 million, that she owns with her wealthy real estate-magnate husband, Paul. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid could return to Searchlight, Nev., site of some of his many mining claims he valued at well over $1 million.

House Minority Leader John A. Boehner of Ohio reported some 40 stock holdings in the $15,000-$50,000 range. His investment in BP, the oil company responsible for the Gulf oil spill, may be suffering, but he backs that up with stock in several other oil companies, including ConocoPhilips, Exxon and Occidental.

Eric Cantor of Virginia, the Republican whip in the House, has an extensive investment portfolio including a money market fund in Goldman Sachs valued at $100,001 to $250,000.

Congressional salaries are modest compared to what some politicians might make in the private sector. Mrs. Pelosi earned $223,500 as speaker - supplemented by $102,000 in book royalties - while the House and Senate majority and minority leaders got $193,400. Rank-and-file lawmakers received $174,000. Congress, fearing the wrath of constituents, did not give itself a raise in 2010.

The financial disclosures offer only a snapshot of the outside incomes of lawmakers: assets and income are estimated within a wide range and the financial affairs of spouses are not included.

Much of Mrs. Pelosi's family wealth is listed to her husband, including a commercial property in San Francisco worth $5 million to $25 million and common stock in Apple Inc. and Visa Inc, worth $1 million to $5 million each. Mr. Pelosi also reported $1 million to $5 million in capital gains from selling Apple stock.

Other congressional leaders, while not in Mrs. Pelosi's class, are also doing just fine. House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, has a Legg Mason Value Trust Fund valued at $250,001 to $500,000. House Democratic Whip James E. Clyburn of South Carolina has an investment in the $100,001-$250,000 range and received a $52,000 pension from his days as a South Carolina state official.

Lawmakers dabbling in the stock market sometimes don't choose any better than the rest of us. Mr. Boehner lists an investment in now defunct Bear Stearns valued at $15,000 to $50,000. Mr. Cantor had small investments in two companies whose stock suffered huge declines: Fannie Mae and General Motors.

Congressional ethics rules bar members from receiving expensive gifts or profiting from speaking engagements, but they can still take fact-finding trips paid for by interest groups. A Hoyer trip to Israel was paid for by the American Israel Education Foundation. Mr. Clyburn was reimbursed for eight domestic trips last year, including one to San Antonio paid for by the pharmaceutical industry's lobbying organization.

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