Sunday Late Night: They Be Millionaires
Forget all that talk about minivans and barely making ends meet. There’s one reason the House Tea Party Caucus does right by millionaires when they stand up and have their votes counted. They are millionaires:
Tea Party freshmen class comprises mostly millionaires, with a dozen or so reported to own assets valued into eight figure territory in financial disclosure forms:
Richard Hanna of upstate New York’s 24th district is worth between $11 million and $33 million amassed in the construction business.
Norfolk Marine-turned-Volvo dealer-turned-restaurateur-turned-congre ssman Scott Rigell of Virginia reports a fortune worth between $11.6 million and $48.2 million.
Nursing home operator and serial entrepreneur Rep. Jim Renacci of Columbus, Ohio has assets worth between $17.6 million and $39.9 million.
Nan Hayworth of New York and Diane Black of Tennessee are both former medical professionals whose husbands got rich in the health care business; Scott Hayworth (HHNW: $9.5 – $23.3 million) runs the dominant medical group in upper Westchester County and Black’s (HHNW: $14.7 – 84.1 million) runs the country’s preeminent drug testing lab.
North Dakota’s Rich Berg is a commercial real estate tycoon ($19.3 – $59 million) who served in the state legislature since 1985 before being elected to Congress.
Two oilmen in the freshmen class are also filthy rich: New Mexico’s Stevan Pearce ($8.4 – $38 million) and the Lone Star State’s Blake Farenthold ($10.4 – $31.4 million).
Can the citizen patriot teabaggers who elected them expect these job-creators to understand their struggles from their lofty perch of privilege and wealth?
Even the Tea Partiers who claim to be broke don’t apparently mean that literally; after reporting personal assets worth zero dollars, Tennessee’s Stephen Fincher made headlines for having received $3.34 million in federal agriculture subsidies in recent years; eventually he amended the form to include his cotton farm as an asset, estimating its value at $500,000. (South Dakota’s Kristi Noem has also collected more than $3 million in farm subsidies over the past decade, but her form only lists five assets worth somewhere between $33,000 and $145,000.)
When they talk about fiscal responsibility, this is what they mean:
Tea Party freshman Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), who has spent months lecturing President Obama and Democrats on fiscal responsibility, owes $117,437 in child support to his ex-wife and three children. Laura Walsh has asked a judge to suspend his driver’s license until he pays his child support. Despite loaning his own campaign $35,000 — and paying himself back at least $14,200 for the loans — Walsh claims he failed to make the payments because he “had no money.”
And when they write “farmer” in the Occupation box, this is what they mean:
While the majority of American farmers receive no government money at all, at least 23 current members of congress or their families have received government money for their farms — combining for more than $12 million since 1995 according to a new report from the Environmental Working Group.
The biggest recipient was Rep. Stephen Fincher, a Republican from Frog Jump, Tenn.
While the self-described Tea Party patriot lists his occupation as “farmer” and “gospel singer” in the Congressional Directory, he doesn’t mention that his family has received more than $3 million in farm subsidies from 1995 to 2009, according to the Environmental Working Group.
So, teabaggers, when your Congresscritters disappoint, don’t feel badly. Simply come sit here and commiserate with the Firebaggers, whose Congresscritters consistently disappoint. We’re used to it; we can sympathize.