- The Washington Times - Monday, June 16, 2003


House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who this year became the first woman to lead a political party in Congress, is also among the Democrats’ wealthiest members, according to financial disclosure forms released yesterday.

The California Democrat joins another newcomer to the leadership, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Tennessee Republican, in the Capitol Hill multimillionaire club. Senators released their disclosure forms on Friday.

Mrs. Pelosi, the daughter of a former mayor and congressman from Baltimore, holds her assets jointly with her husband, Paul, a San Francisco businessman.

They include a vineyard in St. Helena, Calif., valued at $5 million to $25 million; another vineyard in Rutherford, Calif., listed at $1 million to $5 million; and an option on San Francisco commercial property valued at $1 million to $5 million.

They list as liabilities a mortgage on the St. Helena property and a line of credit, both listed at $1 million to $5 million.

Mrs. Pelosi commands a good deal more wealth than other recent House Democratic leaders, including Tom Foley of Washington and Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri.

House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, Illinois Republican, who was a high school wrestling coach before entering politics, also had a more modest portfolio, reporting as his major asset a Washington town house where he lives, which he valued at $250,000 to $500,000. He also reported savings accounts at a bank and credit union, and a mutual fund, each valued at $50,000 to $100,000.

Mr. Hastert reported as unearned income $5,000 to $15,000 from renting parts of his town house to two members of his staff.

Mr. Hastert, as speaker, received a salary of $192,600 last year. Mrs. Pelosi received $150,000, the general salary for representatives and senators in 2002.

All 535 members of Congress are required to submit financial disclosure forms every year that show outside sources of income, assets, liabilities, travel paid by private interests and speech honoraria.

Mrs. Pelosi’s deputy, Rep. Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, reported a pension fund, worth $250,000 to $500,000, as his major asset. He purchased Telkonet stock four times throughout the year within his pension fund.

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, Texas Republican, still was collecting money to pay off legal fees for a lawsuit filed against him by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The lawsuit, claiming violations of racketeering laws, was dismissed in 2001.

Mr. DeLay listed a liability of $50,000 to $100,000 to a Houston law firm, and reported gifts to his legal-expense trust totaling $48,900.

The House leadership also includes lawmakers notable for their lack of extraordinary wealth. Rep. Bill Thomas, California Republican, a professor turned politician and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said he had no major assets, unearned income or major liabilities.

Rep. Henry J. Hyde, Illinois Republican and chairman of the International Relations Committee, listed as his major asset a Congressional Federal Credit union account worth $50,000 to $100,000. He received $7,277.76 as a pension for being a former member of the Illinois General Assembly.

Among the House millionaires, Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., Wisconsin Republican, listed his net worth down to the penny: $9,315,491.13.

Mr. Sensenbrenner, heir to a paper manufacturing fortune, is one of many members who could benefit from the recently enacted cut in taxes on capital gains and dividends paid by corporations. He reported holdings of two stocks, Kimberly Clark and Pfizer, worth between $500,000 and $1 million and three others in the $250,000-to-$500,000 range.

Rep. John D. Dingell, Michigan Democrat, the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the longest-serving House lawmaker, reported 37 mutual funds owned alone or with his wife, Debbie. He did not list the salary of his wife, who works for General Motors, but did say she has $1 million to $5 million in GM stock options and $500,000 to $1 million in a GM Savings-Stock Purchase Program.

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