WASHINGTON -- Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, took the top spot as the most affluent member of Congress with a reported $355 million of net worth in 2012, according to The Hill's "50 Wealthiest Lawmakers" list, released Tuesday.
Issa's wealth rose by more than $214 million since 2011 -- largely thanks to paying down debt -- when he ranked No. 3 with $140.6 million in net worth. He displaced Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, who topped the list last year. The Hill is a news service that covers Congress and derives its annual list from financial disclosure statements required by law.
Issa is chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and has been making headlines as the principal interrogator for the IRS political-targeting scandal and Benghazi consulate tragedy.
The congressman made his fortune from the Viper vehicle security system before he was elected to Congress and has built a successful real estate business in Carlsbad, where his multiple properties are valued at $1 million and higher.
Most of Issa's wealth is in bonds and trusts, several worth $50 million or more. Among his liabilities are two personal loans amounting to at least $25 million and $50 million. Notably, the $25 million note from Union Bank is down from 2011, when it was listed at more than $50 million.
His wealth surpasses No. 2 McCaul, whose net worth was calculated at $101.9 million, mostly from his wife Linda. Her father is Lester Lowry Mays, the founder and chairman of the radio conglomerate Clear Channel Communications.
California Sen. Dianne Feinstein ranks No. 9 on The Hill list with $41.6 million, mostly tied to her husband, Richard Blum, chairman of the investment banking firm Blum Capital Partners. The Hill reports they have a $5 million minimum share of the Hotel Carlton in San Francisco.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, is at No. 14 with $24.4 million, down one place on the list from a year ago because her liabilities swelled to almost $14.4 million from nearly $12.9 million in 2011, The Hill reported.
Rep. John Campbell, R-Irvine, who announced in June that he will retire at the end of his term, is at the No. 38 spot with $9.4 million.
The Hill noted that its reports are not perfect because the financial disclosure forms provide value ranges instead of exact figures.
Not on the top 50: Orange County Reps. Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, Dana Rohrabacher, R-Costa Mesa, Loretta Sanchez, D-Santa Ana, Ed Royce, R-Fullerton or Sen. Barbara Boxer.
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