Rich Congressman, Poor Congressman: Issa and Rohrabacher at Opposite Ends of Roll Call List

Dana Rohrabacher should hold out his hat and collect charity, based on a new D.C. wealth report.
Dana Rohrabacher should hold out his hat and collect charity, based on a new D.C. wealth report.
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Dana Rohrabacher? More like Poorbacher, according to a new D.C. insider list of the wealth of members of Congress. But the Huntington Beach Republican is not the only Orange County congressman to get listicled. Can you guess who was named the "richest" congressman?

It was none other than car alarm king Darrell Issa (R-Vista), whose 49th congressional district mostly covers northern San Diego County, but he does have a district office in Dana Point as that Orange County city as well as San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano and Ladera Ranch fall within the areas he represents.

Rep. Darrell Issa stays on top.
Rep. Darrell Issa stays on top.

According to Roll Call's list of the richest, the seven-term congressman was the wealthiest lawmaker fro the second year in a row due to a fortune and high-yield bonds that drove his net worth to more than $357 million.

Meanwhile, the top (or should that be bottom?) 10 members of Congress on the Roll Call list of poorest all have negative incomes due to the way their wealth (or lack thereof) was calculated. Mortgages must be reported as liabilities--without disclosing the actual home values--which could thus make someone appear to be quite poor even if they have a ton of home equity.

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So under this formula, Rohrabacher is found at the No. 5 poorest congressman with a net worth of MINUS $924,000. Notes Roll Call, "Rohrabacher is new to the list, but his spot carries an asterisk. One of his biggest liabilities in the calculation--a mortgage exceeding $500,000--was paid off during 2013. Reporting rules still require him to list that mortgage under his liabilities. Rohrabacher's biggest reportable asset is an investment of more than $100,000 in a small biotech firm called ISI Life Sciences Inc."

He is sandwiched between Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon (R-Santa Clarita) at No. 4 and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (D-Mo.) at No. 6. The poorest of the poor is said to be Rep. David Valadao (R-Bakersfield) with a net worth of -$3.7 million. Yikes! But don't cry for him, Kern County; Valadao has been named "poorest" before.

"[H]is inclusion on the list could also be seen as a prime example of how imprecise congressional financial disclosure requirements are," Roll Call notes. "Under Roll Call's minimum net worth calculation, we subtract minimum reported liabilities from minimum reported assets. But because they are reported in broad ranges, Valadao's actual net worth is a mystery. His interest in a dairy farm is listed in two assets--one worth $1 million to $5 million (counted as $1,000,001 under our methodology), and another worth $500,001 to $1 million, which we count as $500,001. Five separate million-dollar-plus liabilities related to the farm drag him down."

Guess we can count on his vote for the farm bill.

Email: Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!

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