Tag Archives: assets

TN Congressmen Richer Than Their Challengers (believe it or not)

The Tennessean has a story comparing the wealth of some incumbent Tennessee congressmen and their challengers, based on recent financial disclosures. Not surprisingly, the incumbents are mostly richer.
For example, Lou Ann Zelenik, the tea party activist who will take on Republican Rep. Diane Black for the second time in August’s primary, reported 2011 assets of at least $850,000, mostly in real estate. Black reported assets totaling at least $16.5 million in 2010.
The disclosure statements report assets and liabilities only in broad ranges. This year, for the first time, congressional incumbents were required to report any residential mortgages owed by them or their spouses.
More recent figures for Black — and 2011 disclosure statements for Republican Sen. Bob Corker and Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper — weren’t available because they were given extensions to file later.
Zelenik lent her campaign more than $400,000 in 2010, which has since been repaid. Black topped that, putting more than $1 million of her own money into the 2010 campaign.
Republican Rep. Stephen Fincher reported “Stephen and Lynn Fincher Farms” as his only asset, worth between $500,000 and $1 million. He said he earned $33,943 from farming last year. Fincher’s debts — consisting of loans for farm equipment and a home mortgage of at least $15,000 — amount to at least $810,000.
Independent candidate James Hart, the only one of Fincher’s challengers who has filed a financial disclosure statement, reported $1,000 to $15,000 in assets and no debt.
Because the statements report values in wide ranges, it’s sometimes impossible to tell which of two candidates is wealthier.
For example, Republican Rep. Scott DesJarlais reported assets of between $421,000 and $1.04 million. His challenger, Democratic state Sen. Eric Stewart, reported assets worth between $269,000 and $610,000, meaning either could be wealthier.
Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn reported assets of at least $189,000 and debts of at least $300,000, including two mortgages on a Brentwood residence. Disclosures for Blackburn’s challengers are not yet available.
…Most of Corker’s opponents — including Democrat and environmentalist Park Overall — have not filed personal financial disclosure forms. The only challenger who has, Republican Zachary Poskevich, reported assets of at least $139,000 and no debt.
Corker’s filing from last year showed assets of at least $26.6 million and debts of at least $5.5 million.
Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander, who typically ranks with Corker and Black as one of the wealthiest members of Congress, reported having at least $9.8 million last year and at least $4.5 million in liabilities. Refinanced mortgages accounted for at least $4.2 million of that debt.
…In Tennessee’s hotly contested 3rd Congressional District — where first-term Republican Rep. Chuck Fleischmann is locked in an expensive primary battle with dairy executive Scottie Mayfield and Weston Wamp, son of former Rep. Zach Wamp — the candidate who puts in the most personal money could gain a financial edge.
Self-financing could be easier for Fleischmann, who reported at least $1.7 million in assets, and Mayfield than for Wamp, who reported between $16,000 and $65,000 in assets.

On Assets and Travels of Congressmen Cohen, Fincher, Blackburn

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen could have as much as $5.08 million in assets, drew a state pension of $23,128, and traveled to Rwanda, Germany, Israel and Spain at someone else’s expense last year, according to a disclosure that’s the subject of a Commercial Appeal report today.
All members of Congress are required to file an annual description of their assets, liabilities, outside positions on boards, compensated travel and other financial information each May 15. The reports do not include their annual $174,000 salaries as members.
Among Mid-South members, U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher, R-Tenn., whose district will include even more of Shelby County next year, reported $33,943 in income from row crop farming and paid-for trips to Israel and Los Angeles. In addition, he and his wife, Lynn, own farm land worth between $500,000 and $1 million but have outstanding debts from the purchase of equipment of between $795,000 and $1.7 million.
…U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., whose district will no longer encompass parts of Greater Memphis next year because of redistricting, received a $4,202 state pension for service in the legislature and reported she could have as much as $660,000 in assets. She has mortgages on property in Brentwood, Tenn. Blackburn’s travel paid for by others included trips to Vienna, Austria; Palm Beach; Las Vegas; Dallas; and Hilton Head, S.C