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Report: More than half of congressmen, senators are millionaires

WASHINGTON, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- For the first time, most members of the U.S. Congress are millionaires, an analysis of personal financial disclosure data indicated.

Disclosures filed in 2012 by congressmen, senators and candidates indicate of the 534 current members, at least 268 averaged a net worth of at least $1 million in 2012, the Center for Responsive Politics said Thursday in a release.

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Last year, 257 members had a median net worth of at least $1 million, the center said.

The median net worth for the 530 lawmakers in Congress as of Dec. 31, 2012 was $1,008,767, the report said.

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Lawmakers' total net worth -- the value of assets minus liabilities -- fell from $4.2 billion in 2011 to $3.9 billion in 2012, partly due to a change in the House reporting requirements for spousal assets and liabilities, the center said.

"Despite the fact that polls show how dissatisfied Americans are with Congress overall, there's been no change in our appetite to elect affluent politicians to represent our concerns in Washington," Center for Responsive Politics Executive Director Sheila Krumholz said. "Of course, it's undeniable that in our electoral system, candidates need access to wealth to run financially viable campaigns, and the most successful fundraisers are politicians who swim in those circles to begin with."

The median net worth for all House members in 2012 was $896,000, up from $856,000 in 2011, while the median net worth for all senators rose to $2.7 million from $2.5 million, the center said.

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The center said Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., was the richest member of Congress, with an average net worth of $464 million in 2012. Issa regained the top spot he occupied for years after he was bumped out in the previous analysis by Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas.

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