Debbie Wasserman Schultz ranks #3 on list of 10 “poorest” members of Congress

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U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, in addition to being chair of the Democratic National Committee, is also part of the second-most-exclusive political club — one of the ten “poorest” members of Congress.

With more than $1 million in debt, the Miami Beach Democrat joins the bottom of the list of 535 lawmakers in the House and Senate, compiled by Jay Hunter for Roll Call as part of the “50 Richest” project.

These ten may not actually be in the “poor house,” but the two Republican and eight Democratic lawmakers are businesspeople, farmers and career politicians who carry enormous amounts of debt.

In most cases, however, these legislators can still be considered wealthy (at least compared to most Americans), but what sets them apart is their smallest net worth and liabilities of more than $500,000.

Wasserman Schultz spent most of her career in public office, starting as a Florida state legislator, which helped her make number three on the list with a total of $1.04 million in debt. She now carries two mortgages with a combined worth of at least $750,000, as well as $350,000 in home equity and personal loans.

As of 2012, she had also amassed credit card debt of around $50,000.

Assets include $100,000 in stock held by Steve Schultz (the congresswoman’s spouse) in the community bank where he works, and bank accounts that include college savings plans for her three children.

Holding the top spot with $4.10 million in debt is California Republican Rep. David Valadao , even though he has more than $1 million in assets. Valadao is a dairy farmer with two family farms worth more than $1.25 million and has $5.35 in liabilities, most of which are farm-related.

Another way to learn which members of Congress are “poorest” would be by listing those individuals with no assets at all.

On that list, the poorest member of the Senate would be Michigan Democrat Debbie Stabenow, with a negative net worth of $585,000; Arkansas Democrat Mark Pryor has two bank accounts — one for less than $15,000 and another for his children for under $1,000 — making him the U.S. Senator with the smallest amount of assets. 

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.