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Financial Planning > College Planning > Student Loan Debt

10 Poorest Members of Congress: 2014

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Election Day is almost upon us and it got ThinkAdvisor wondering about how much our elected leaders are worth. We know that sounds like the start of a bad joke about the lack of meaningful work being done in Washington, but our thoughts are purely on finances.

In a report on the net worth of the 538 members of Congress, it turns out that our congressmen made out like bandits with their collective wealth increasing by at least $150 million over the prior year.

Congress being Congress, exact figures are hard to come by because their financial disclosures are made in wide ranges. Still, Roll Call, as it does each year, calculated the minimum net worth for each member of Congress, noting that their wealth is likely greater. The latest data covers 2013.

The figures show that more than a third of Congress could call themselves millionaires.

One wonders if the have-nots in Congress are at least a little jealous of their well-heeled colleagues. Those at the bottom of net worth are actually in negative territory. Maybe that makes them better able to face the vast number of their constituents who have credit card debt, mortgages and tuition payments weighing them down.

(Related on ThinkAdvisor: 10 Richest Members of Congress: 2014. )

Here, is the list of the 10 Poorest Members of Congress:

Top 10 Poorest Members of Congress:

Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La. (Photo: AP)

(Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La. Photo: AP)

10. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La.

Net Worth: -$671,000

First Elected: 2008

Scalise’s liabilities of $675,000 come with an asterisk, according to Roll Call. That’s because he refinanced $300,000 worth of mortgages during the year. Financial disclosure rules make it appear he has about twice as many liabilities as he actually carries.

9. Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa.

Net Worth: -$700,000

First Elected: 1994

Mortgages were the culprit in dragging down Fattah’s net worth, with $800,000 borrowed. Fattah did report assets of more than $100,000 in the form of his wife’s investment in GE.

Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill. (Photo: AP)

(Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill. Photo: AP)

8. Sen. Martin Heinrich. D-N.M.

Net Worth: -$722,000

First Elected: 2012

Mortgages totaling $850,000 left Heinrich in the red.

7. Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill.

Net Worth: -$780,000

First Elected: 2008

Two mortgages and $80,000 owed to credit card companies weigh Quigley down financially.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo. (Photo: AP)

(Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo. Photo: AP)

6. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo.

Net Worth: -$848,000

First Elected: 2004

A mortgage and two loans, one for $1 million, are Cleaver’s chief liabilities.

5. Rep. Dana Rohrbacher, R-Calif.

Net Worth: -$924,000

First Elected: 2012

Roll Call noted that that more than half of Rohrbacher’s debt was in the form of a mortgage that was paid off in 2013, but was still required to be reported on financial disclosure forms.

Sen. Howard “Buck” McKeon, D-Calif. (Photo: AP)

(Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif. Photo: AP)

4. Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif.

Net Worth: -$943,000

First Elected: 1992

Mortgages and a personal loan are the reasons McKeon landed in the bottom 10.

3. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.

Net Worth: -$972,000

First Elected: 2004

Two mortgages and credit card charges add up to negative net worth for the chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

Rep. David Valadao, R-Calif. (Photo: AP)

(Rep. David Valadao, R-Calif. Photo: AP)

2. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla.

Net Worth: -$2.23 million

First Elected: 1992

More than two decades ago, Hastings was impeached while a federal judge and the legal bills have left him in debt.

1. Rep. David Valadao, R-Calif.

Net Worth: -$3.7 million

First Elected: 2012

The good news for the man at the bottom of the list is that he managed to lower his indebtedness by $400,000 in the last year. Valadao does have considerable assets in the form of a diary farm worth more than $1 million. Liabilities tied to the farm drag his net worth to the bottom of Congress.

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