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These Are the 15 Wealthiest Members of the 112th Congress

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"For the first time, the richest member of Congress … had a net worth of more than $300 million ..."

True, we already did a “top whatever” list today (sort of), but it was a bit heavy on the numbers and light on the amusement. So, to make up for that, we thought we bring you the following list of the top 15 wealthiest members of 112th United States Congress.

“For the first time, the richest member of Congress … had a net worth of more than $300 million [emphasis added],” CNBC.com reports, citing Roll Call’s annual list.

How did Roll Call put together this year’s list? CNBC.com explains:

The rankings are based on minimum net worth based on assets and liabilities that are cited in broad ranges, so the actual net worth of each representative is not precise.

Roll Call determines net worth by consulting the annual financial disclosure reports from all House and Senate lawmakers, and for each one, subtracts the total minimum value of all liabilities from the total minimum value of their assets.

These disclosures typically involve a wide range of things, including assets and liabilities, loans and credit card debt, stock holdings, rental properties, and “mortgages (reported for the first time this year),” the report adds.

However, it’s important to note that factors such as personal property values and retirement savings are not included.

Roll Call points out a theme for the 2012 list: About half of the 50 wealthiest members of Congress reported a lower minimum net worth than last year,” CNBC notes. “It says this can be attributable to new mortgage disclosures.”

These are the top 15 wealthiest members of the 112th U.S. Congress [all block quotes via CNBC.com]:

Rep. Rick Berg (R-N.D.)

Minimum net worth: $23.78 million

Much of Berg's growing fortune is in real estate.

The first-term North Dakotan owns dozens of apartment units and commercial properties that contributed to a minimum net worth of $23.78 million in 2011.

Berg's stake in multiple buildings held by Old Abe Capital LLP were worth more than $8.9 million, according to his most recent filing.

Berg also reported as assets multiple outstanding loans that he has made to individuals, businesses and his campaign.

Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.)

Minimum net worth: $24.79 million

The first-term lawmaker's 2011 minimum net worth nearly rebounded to that which she reported as a candidate after dropping precipitously last year to $10.63 million.

The Tennessean's reported minimum net worth is $24.79 million.

One of Black's largest listed assets is $5 million to $25 million in Aegis Sciences stock that also generated $100,000 to $1 million in income last year after a merger.

According to the company's website, Aegis started as a sports anti-doping laboratory at Vanderbilt University and is now a full-service forensic sciences company. Black's husband, David Black, is president and CEO.

A rental property in Nashville worth $5 million to $25 million and a money market account held by David Black were the couple's other largest assets.

The Blacks also purchased two new rental properties in Nashville during 2011, which had minimum reported values of $500,000 and $1 million. The reported mortgages for the properties fell into the $500,000 to $1 million range, nearly offsetting their value.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)

Minimum net worth: $26.43 million

The House minority leader's reported minimum net worth dropped by almost $9 million last year but had little effect on where she landed among Congress' wealthiest.

[...]

Pelosi's husband, Paul, invested more heavily in the United Football League last year, reporting 27 separate purchases. His stake in the league is now valued at $1 million to $5 million, and he has a separate interest in the Sacramento Mountain Lions worth $5 million to $25 million.

Much of the couple's wealth comes from real estate. A vineyard in St. Helena, Calif., had a reported worth of $5 million to $25 million and generated at least $50,000 in grape sales. A San Francisco commercial property was also worth at least $5 million, as was a commercial rental property Paul Pelosi owns in San Anselmo, Calif.

The Pelosis reported about $12.85 million in liabilities, including newly disclosed mortgages on their residences and a brokerage collateral loan with City National Bank that was taken out in 2011 for $1 million to $5 million.

Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine)

Minimum net worth: $28.58 million

Pingree's marriage to financier Donald Sussman last year catapulted her from the middle of the pack to the upper echelon of congressional wealth.

The Maine Democrat now has a minimum net worth of $28.58 million.

In addition to an asset listed as the Nebo Lodge, an inn and restaurant in North Haven, Maine, Pingree included dozens of spousal assets that were not on prior forms. Many were valued in the "over $1 million" category for assets of senators' spouses that can dramatically deflate the true net worth of a couple by millions of dollars.

Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.)

Minimum net worth: $36.49 million

Buchanan's minimum net worth dropped markedly for the second year in a row.

Just five years ago, the Florida lawmaker's wealth surpassed $65 million. Now it is roughly half that, with a reported net worth of $36.49 million in 2011.

Though Buchanan has sold off some of the auto dealerships that generated his fortune in the first place, he still owns at least part of three that are together worth a minimum of $12 million.

Some of the three-term lawmaker's other notable assets are an aircraft ownership and leasing operation valued at at least $5 million and VB Motor Yachts, which is also worth at least $5 million.

Though Buchanan reported more than $63 million in assets, he also had at least $26 million in liabilities, including at least $7 million related to the purchase of aircraft and a mortgage on a yacht with a value of at least $1 million.

Buchanan also disclosed two liabilities to law firms of at least $100,000 and $50,000. He has been the subject of two investigations by the House Ethics Committee, one of which is ongoing.

Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Ohio)

Minimum net worth: $36.67 million

Renacci's minimum net worth remains relatively unchanged from the year before, rising just slightly to $36.67 million.

The first-term Ohioan's portfolio is one of the most diverse in Congress. Renacci reports having significant investments in fast-food chains, consumer electronics companies, drugmakers and oil giants.

Renacci has a stake in the Lancaster, Calif.-based minor league baseball team, the JetHawks, worth $100,000 to $250,000 and loaned the Westerville, Ohio, Gordy's Bar and Grill at least $250,000 in 2010. An investment in a Harley-Davidson dealership dropped in value from at least $500,000 in 2010 to about $4,400 in 2011.

Renacci is one of a handful of members of Congress who opted to disclose the exact value of many assets instead of reporting them within broad ranges. He listed $26,000 in Lululemon Athletica, $89,000 in McDonald's and $281,000 in Chevron stocks, among hundreds of financial holdings.

Renacci has a line of credit of $1 million to $5 million with his primary investment manager, Raymond James and Associates.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif)

Minimum net worth: $41.78 million

Feinstein's minimum net worth dropped about $3.6 million to $41.78 million in 2011.

But the reduction is hardly something to worry about when you're one of the wealthiest lawmakers in Congress.

Much of the apparent decline is due to a mortgage of $1 million to $5 million taken out on Feinstein's San Francisco home in 2010. This year's financial disclosures were the first batch that required lawmakers to disclose mortgages on personal residences that do not generate income.

The California Democrat continues to share a $5 million to $25 million investment in San Francisco's Carlton Hotel Properties with her husband. They also own a Kauai, Hawaii, condominium valued at $1 million to $5 million. Together the properties generated $150,000 to $1.1 million in rental income in 2011.

Like many of the wealthiest lawmakers, much of Feinstein's fortune comes from her spouse. Her husband, Richard Blum, is president and CEO of the private equity firm Blum Capital Partners LP.

Feinstein reported that Blum holds more than a dozen assets valued at $1 million or more, including investment partnerships, limited liability corporations and a stake in OZ Fitness, a health club chain in Washington state.

Assets held independently by spouses do not need to be delineated beyond $1 million on the Senate disclosure forms, so Feinstein's true wealth could be far more than what appears on paper.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.)

Minimum net worth: $56.8 million

Lautenberg's minimum net worth rose about $2 million in 2011, to $56.8 million.

The New Jersey senator co-founded Automatic Data Processing, the payroll processing company known as ADP, and received retirement income from the company of almost $185,000 during the period covered by his most recent filing.

Lautenberg and his wife, Bonnie Englebardt, have extensive real estate holdings.

There is a condo in Vail, Colo., with a reported value of $500,000 to $1 million as well as commercial real estate in Norwalk, Conn., and Sunrise, Fla., worth at least $1 million combined. And Englebardt has at least 12 real estate investments valued at $1 million or more.

Since a senator's spousal assets worth more than $1 million fall into a broad category of "over $1 million," Lautenberg's true minimum net worth could be far greater than reported.

Lautenberg also has two blind trusts: one valued at $5 million to $25 million and the other at $1 million to $5 million.

He reported at least $1.75 million in liabilities, including mortgages on two personal residences of at least $1.25 million combined.

Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.)

Minimum net worth: $72.09 million

Polis added at least $6 million to his fortune last year to arrive at a minimum net worth of $72.09 million.

One of the congressman's largest assets remains a blind trust that he created in 2010 that is worth $25 million to $50 million.

In addition to a diverse portfolio of stocks and funds, Polis reported having an array of real estate investments, including properties in Boulder, Colo., Denver and Florida, and sizable stakes in businesses including LifePics, a photo storing, sharing and printing service, and Symbius Medical, a home medical equipment supplier.

Polis reported having mortgages on a personal residence in Boulder and a vacation home in Berthoud, Colo. Another mortgage of at least $1 million on a property in Boulder was paid off sometime in 2011 when the home was sold, according to his most recent filing.

Polis holds dozens of positions at outside organizations, primarily venture capital funds and investment firms at which he is a full or limited partner.

Before coming to Congress, he founded an online offshoot of Blue Mountain Arts, his family's greeting card and publishing business, and the flower sales website ProFlowers.com.

Sen. Dick Blumenthal (D-Conn.)

Minimum net worth: $79.11 million

Like many on Roll Call's list, much of Blumenthal's minimum net worth of $79.11 million comes from the family of his spouse. His wife, Cynthia Blumenthal, is the daughter of New York real estate magnate Peter Malkin.

Many of Cynthia Blumenthal's assets listed in the Peter L. Malkin Family 9 LLC are worth more than $1 million, including a real estate company in Sao Paulo, Brazil, multiple properties in midtown Manhattan and entities that leased and operated the Empire State Building.

When a senator's spouse's assets are worth more than $1 million, they fall into a broad category of "over $1 million" that requires no further delineation, meaning the Blumenthals' actual wealth could be far greater.

The value of assets in family trusts that will eventually go to the Blumenthal's dependent children were also reported in this year's filing and included in the overall calculation of the senator's minimum net worth.

The senator reported a single mortgage of $500,000 to $1 million as a liability.

Click here to see the top 5 wealthiest members of the 112th United States Congress.

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All photos via the AP.

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