Saturday, March 8, 2014
WASHINGTON – Maine is not known as a particularly wealthy state (ranking 35th in per capita personal income in 2007). But two of the Pine Tree State’s four elected representatives in Washington, DC, rank among the Top 50 wealthiest members of Congress.
U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, has consistently appeared in annual rankings of the richest senators and House members due, in part, to the income and investments of her husband, former Maine Gov. John McKernan. She ranks 36th on The Hill’s list for 2011 with a net wealth of at least $9 million.
But U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-District 1, has vaulted onto The Hill’s list for the first time, landing in the No. 12 position with a net worth of at least $31.8 million. Pingree’s meteoric rise is due to her marriage last year to S. Donald Sussman, the billionaire hedge fund manager and major donor to Democratic and progressive causes as well as various charities.
Sussman is also majority share owner of MaineToday Media, which owns the Portland Press Herald, the Kennebec Journal in Augusta and the Morning Sentinel in Waterville.
Members of Congress are required to include their spouses in their annual financial disclosure forms, although the vagueness of those forms makes it impossible to gauge their true net worth with any real accuracy. The disclosure requirements for spouses are even less detailed than for members of Congress.
Sussman founded the Connecticut-based investment fund Paloma Partners and is the chairman of Trust Asset Management LLP, an investment firm specializing in alternative investment strategies. He also owns homes in Portland, Augusta, Saco, Deer Isle, North Haven and in the Virgin Islands.
Among Pingree’s holdings is Nebo Lodge, an inn and restaurant on North Haven valued at between $500,000 to $1 million last year. A more detailed accounting of Pingree's financial disclosure form as well as Maine's other delegation members can be found here.
Neither U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, nor U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, D-District 2, appear on The Hill’s list of the 50 wealthiest members of Congress.
And in case you’re wondering……according to The Hill the three richest members are: U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, at $290.5 million; U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., at $198.5 million; and U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., at $140.6 million.
Note: An earlier version of this post had Pingree ranked 13th and Snowe ranked 37th due to bad math on my part. I just wanted to clarify that in case folks pick up on the change. - Kevin MillerTweet
Open Season targets all of Maine's political wildlife, from Portland city government to the donkeys, elephants and independents stalking the Statehouse and U.S. Capitol.
John Richardson joined the Press Herald in 1990 after working as a reporter in New Jersey. He has covered a variety of beats, including marine issues, the environment and health care. He is now covering politics and focusing on Maine's U.S. Senate race.
John can be reached at 791-6324 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @jrichmaine
Colin Woodard has covered politics and elections for more than two decades, from Bosnia and Bucharest to Washington, D.C., Augusta, and Portland City Hall. He has written for a wide range of national and international publications and is the author of four books, including "American Nations," a history of North America's regional cultures. He joined the Portland Press Herald at the end of April and covers political finance and lobbying, among other things.
Colin can be reached at 791-6317 or email@example.com
Susan Cover has covered Maine politics for 10 years and worked in Kansas, Ohio and Rhode Island as a reporter. This year, she is focusing on covering the same-sex marriage debate for MaineToday Media.
Susan can be reached at 621-5643 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Shepherd joined MaineToday Media in May 2012 after graduating from the University of Maine in Orono, where he edited The Maine Campus, the student newspaper there. Until November he'll be writing the Truth Test, a recurring feature analyzing political statements and advertising.
Michael can be reached at 621-5632 or email@example.com