A strong year in the financial markets helped the richest members of Congress become even richer in 2012, with the median net worth of the 50 richest rising more than 17 percent, CQ Roll Call's annual survey of congressional wealth.
The median net worth of the 112th Congress was $442,007 in 2012. Nineteen percent of lawmakers reported no debts while 15 percent said they had trusts, Roll Call's annual list, published Friday, indicated.
The median household net worth in the United States was $68,828 in 2011, with 69 percent of households indicating they had some type of debt, the most recent U.S. Census data available indicated.
CQ Roll Call said it has reviewed annual financial disclosure reports filed by House and Senate lawmakers since 1990 to calculate the 50 richest members. Minimum net worth is determined by subtracting the total minimum value of all liabilities from the total minimum value of all assets. Roll Call said assets and liabilities are listed in broad categories of millions of dollars, making it impossible to determine a lawmaker's true net worth unless the individual voluntarily discloses actual dollar amounts.
Issa replaced Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, who occupied the top slot for the previous two years, Roll Call said.
Off the 50 Richest list were former Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who left Congress for the State Department; Sens. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, and Ben Nelson, D-Neb., who retired; Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., who lost her re-election bid, and Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., who died in June.