published Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Lamar Alexander, Bob Corker high on Congress' rich list


by Chris Carroll

  • photo
    In this file photo, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., speaks during a news conference on the debt ceiling on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP)

They're not the wealthiest in Congress — that distinction belongs to a Texas lawmaker worth at least $294 million — but Tennessee's senators certainly aren't hurting for cash.

According to the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call, Sens. Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander, both Republicans, hold the 14th and 27th largest fortunes out of 535 members of Congress.

Lowball estimates place Corker's holdings at $21.1 million and Alexander's at $10.2 million. Using maximum values, Corker could be worth more than $100 million.

"Senator Corker started a business from scratch and feels very blessed to have had the kind of success that allows him to donate his Senate salary directly to charity," said Todd Womack, chief of staff for Corker.

Alexander's high-value estimate is $34 million.

Federal law requires U.S. representatives and senators to disclose their assets and liabilities, but only in wide ranges -- $5 million to $25 million, for example.

To make the list, Roll Call used financial disclosures, adding up the minimum value of total assets and subtracting the minimum value of total liabilities.

Asked whether Alexander's wealth made it hard for him to understand the troubles of ordinary Tennesseans, his spokesman, Jim Jeffries, issued a statement.

"Senator Alexander is the son of a principal and teacher from Maryville and knows what it's like to live and grow up without extra money and is doing all he can to create an environment in which more people can find good jobs," Jeffries said.

Records show that Corker, a former real estate developer, derives his wealth from his property holdings. He owns a shopping center in Maryville, Tenn., and an office building in Chattanooga, both valued between $5 million and $25 million.

Corker upped his fortune by at least $3 million in 2010, adding a new investment in a Dow Jones Industrial Average index fund, also valued between $5 million and $25 million.

By contrast, Alexander's fortune dropped by about $2 million, partly because of a real estate transaction.

Alexander and his wife recently sold their investments in an undeveloped land parcel in Nantucket, Mass., in two sales valued at $500,000 to $1 million each. In last year's report, Alexander reported the Nantucket investments' worth at $1 million to $5 million each.

A former Tennessee governor, U.S. education secretary and president of the University of Tennessee, Alexander held on to his investment of $5 million to $25 million in Knoxville-based Processed Food Corp., where he served on the board before his election to the Senate, according to Roll Call.

Both senators fall within the income bracket targeted by President Barack Obama, who recently announced his intention to end George W. Bush-era tax cuts for high-income households. The president also plans to push to close loopholes and limit deductions for those earning more than $250,000 a year.

Womack, Corker's chief of staff, said his boss embraces tax reform that "permanently lowers individual and corporate rates."

Tri-state delegates from the U.S. House of Representatives did not make Roll Call's list. U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann reported between $1.66 million and $3.41 million, while U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais reported assets between $403,000 and $945,000 last year, records show.

Twenty-nine House members and 21 senators comprised the Top 50. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, reported $294 million in assets, making him the wealthiest member of Congress.

Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., cracked the list at No. 49, reporting $6.47 million in the bank.

The annual salary for rank-and-file House and Senate members is $174,000.

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EaTn said...

It makes me feel comfortable knowing that the folks in DC representing our interests share and understand our country's depressed economic situation of lack of health care and family supporting jobs.

September 22, 2011 at 6:41 a.m.
chatttn said...

EaTn - haha! Good one!

September 22, 2011 at 8:47 a.m.
nowfedup said...

It would appear that our "representative government" is more like some update on feudalism, or royal courtiers. Amazing that those folks with all that money can still be bought off by lobbyists.

September 22, 2011 at 9:25 a.m.
klugermann said...

Corker and Alexander have made millions of dollars in side ventures while holding public office. Are people really so naive that they can't understand how a position in government - with access to public money and lobbyists - can make a 'representative of the people' extremely rich in this country? Bob and Lamar hold firm the belief that tax breaks for the rich create jobs for the poor. There's not a single shred of evidence to support that theory. To the contrary, there's plenty of evidence to suggest that tax breaks for the rich have generated more jobs overseas than they have in this country. So what can a mere citizen do? Support the Tea Party? Sadly, the Tea Party has been taken over by the very same millionaires who deftly manipulate our fears while stuffing their pockets with private-interest donations. You see, this isn't about class warfare or socialism as our pin-striped officials would like us to believe. It's about 535 elected representatives milking a broken system for personal gain at the taxpayer's expense. It's about paying wolves to guard our hen houses.

September 22, 2011 at 9:26 a.m.
joneses said...

klugermann, did you know that Nancy Pelosi's wealth has increased 67% to 70 million dollars in the last 2.5 years? Where is your outrage about her wealth? Also you are a liar by saying the Tea party has been taken over by wealthy people. I can honestly say you liberals have been taken over by the likes of George Soros who happens to be one of the wealthiest people in the world. Where did he make his wealth? As a hedge fund manager which is something this fool, Hussien Obama, you have as a president has been pissing and moaning about for years but he does not mind taking money from the most socialist minded, corupt hedge fund manager in the world does he? You and all your liberal fools are hypocrits and you should be ashamed of yourself for spreading your lies and hate.

September 22, 2011 at 9:42 a.m.
chatttn said...

It doesn't matter whether politicians are liberal or conservative - all are corrupt to a degree. Some (of both parties) are just more so than others.

September 22, 2011 at 9:54 a.m.

These numbers are peanuts next to the amount of taxes Warren Buffett has dodged. Regressives are such hypocrites.

September 22, 2011 at 10 a.m.
hambone said...

What do you expect? These people live in gated communities, have a driver for the limo, never pump gas, someone to shop at the super market for them, fly first class or privite jet and never have contact with us common folk! They have no idea what the real world is like!!

September 22, 2011 at 10:33 a.m.
DarkSky said...

I used to work at a gas station and Sen. Corker fills up there when he is in town. I can say for a fact, he does pump his own gas. And he will take time and talk to you if you want.

September 22, 2011 at 10:58 a.m.
joneses said...

hambone, I will say for a fact that Sen. Corker worked for everything he has. He chose to work versus sitting around pissing and moaning about how unfair it is for people to have more than him. Maybe you should try that.

September 22, 2011 at 11:29 a.m.
joneses said...

Mr. Obama purposely leaves out the fact that the rich and business owners earn their money, many by risking their life savings to start a business. In almost every case, they’ve worked long hours that most people could not tolerate. These small-business owners whose risk and sacrifice create the 9-to-5 jobs for their employees, also pay half the payroll taxes, health insurance and worker compensation costs for their employees. They also pay virtually 100 percent of the taxes in this country to support more than 21 million government employees, one-fifth of whom make more than $100,000 a year for a 9-to-5 job.

If Mr. Obama were honest, he would say, “From now on, everyone who risks their life savings and gives up the security of a five-days-a-week, 9-to-5 job, early retirement and guaranteed pension to start a business must be punished and have their earnings confiscated and redistributed to my voters.”

How would Americans feel about that statement? Sadly, many of the 50 percent who have their hands out but don’t pay taxes would applaud. Remember that famous quote from an Obama supporter: “I just want some of that Obama money.”

September 22, 2011 at 11:59 a.m.
hambone said...

joneses, Why do you think that just be cause someone posts a opinion you don't like that they are on welfare and living off the tax payer. I spent 4 years in the Navy, worked construction for over 42 years and have been retired for 6 years. I've paid my share of taxes. I watched Corker for a long time and to say he has been completely on the up and up I can't, mostly in the right place at the right time. Especially with his Real Estate dealings.

As for Alexander, can you remember what he did before he was a "public servant"?

September 22, 2011 at 12:43 p.m.
EaTn said...

Maybe some of the posters on here can enlighten me...how do the top 5% wealth in this country manage to convince about half the other 95% that they've earned their fortunes and paid their fair share while the rest have slothed around and should thank them for the crumbs they've dropped off the table.

September 22, 2011 at 12:49 p.m.
joneses said...

hambone, I siad nothing about welfare or living off taxes. You are a liar by saying I said that. As far as you working construction, that was your choice and it appears you are jealous of other peoples choices that have been more successful in wealth than you. You might want to take a look at your insecurities.

Ea Tn, I do not know of any wealth person, and I know a few, who expects anyone to thank them for these so called crumbs you seem to be collecting.

Both of you would be better off by not being so jealous of something you are not. I would bet you two are buying lottery tickets to become what you are so jealous of. Get a life and stop trying to destroy others.

September 22, 2011 at 1:17 p.m.
klugermann said...

In response to Joneses - I specifically referred to "535 elected officials" in my post. You're apparently unaware that this number includes everyone - conservatives, liberals, red and blue. Your assumption that I'm espousing some liberal view here speaks volumes about your limited comprehension and/or attention to fact. As for everything you've said, I can only observe that you are apparently much more adept at pissing and moaning than I. "You and all your liberal fools are hypocrits (sic) and you should be ashamed of yourself for spreading your lies and hate." Doesn't get much more pissy or moany that that. Well done, sir!

September 22, 2011 at 1:18 p.m.
hambone said...

lol

September 22, 2011 at 1:39 p.m.
EaTn said...

joneses...I'll admit to being a little jealous if you will admit to being a little gullible.

September 22, 2011 at 1:51 p.m.
joneses said...

gullible, no. I do not let the wealth of others run my life.

klugerman, before you softened your liberal views by stating about the 535 members of congress you said the Tea Party was run by millionaires. You have no proof to back that up and all you are doing is promoting class warfare. So sir you are the one pissing and moaning about the wealth of others by spreading these lies about the tea party. It is obvious you lack the ability to understand basic economics. As you can see by your messiah, Hussien Obama, your policies of spending more than you have do not work either. So where is your outrage against the failed hussien obama, pelosi and ried 1 trillion dollar stimulus bill? Why cannot we see where all that money has gone? I can only observe that you are a hypocrit of the worst kind by attacking what you percieve is the only tried and true method of economic recovery, less regulation, lower taxes for those who pay taxes and stop creating this sense of entitlement that you and others have acquired. You sir are not that bright.

Look at who agrees with you. Someone named "Hambone" and the only thing intelligent he can say is "LOL". it is sad you have to have someone named "Hambone" to make you feel intelligent.

You have a good evening. I am going to work my second job because with the inflation this fool we have as president is causing I want all I can get. I find working is more rewarding than pissing and moaning about others wealth. Try it one day and possibly you will be less pathetic.

September 22, 2011 at 4:02 p.m.
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September 22, 2011 at 7:14 p.m.
bret said...

How hard did Corker work to make this $3 million last year?

Corker upped his fortune by at least $3 million in 2010, adding a new investment in a Dow Jones Industrial Average index fund, also valued between $5 million and $25 million.

And guess what? His tax rate on this $3 million of earnings is a lot less than what you will pay. Ain't America great?

September 22, 2011 at 8:44 p.m.
hambone said...

OK! I'll answer my own question.

Alexander has never drawn anything but tax payer funded paychecks. He has been a "public servant" his whole life.

September 22, 2011 at 9:40 p.m.
NoMyth said...

Can someone tell me what legislation Corker or Alexander have written that has made sense and been passed into law? They are lawmakers, right? I read the paper every day and watch the news every day and I don't know of any laws that they have written and enacted. Seems like that would be a good and honest metric for the news media to focus on so that the public can judge their public masters...er, I mean servants.

September 22, 2011 at 10:14 p.m.
joneses said...

No Myth, none I hope. We do not need anymore legislation. I would bet you cannot name anything good this fool we have as a president has accomplished.

Bret, Are you saying it should be against the law to invest your own money as you see fit? And if his tax rate is lower than mine then mine needs to be lowered not his needs to be raised. You are correct, capital gains taxes are different than income taxes. How much did Se. Corker pay in income taxes? I would bet it is a higher rate than yours.

All you people might want to stop this wealth envy as it makes you look stupid.

By the way I just got home from my second job. I would bet you you people who continue to attack the wealthy because of your jealousy have never heard of working two shiffs at two different jobs.

September 22, 2011 at 10:55 p.m.
joneses said...

Hey all you wealth haters. Here is something you can piss and moan about.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) saw her net worth rise 62 percent last year, cementing her status as one of the wealthiest members of Congress.

Pelosi was worth at least $35.2 million in the 2010 calendar year, according to a financial disclosure report released Wednesday. She reported a minimum of $43.4 million in assets and about $8.2 milion in liabilities.

For 2009, Pelosi reported a minimum net worth of $21.7 million.

September 22, 2011 at 11:04 p.m.
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