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 Miller

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Open Season is your guide to the 2014 campaign. Our team of political writers has its sights set on Maine’s major elections, from the Blaine House to the U.S. Capitol.

Steve Mistler is covering the 2014 governor's race. He covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald. He spends a lot of time in the hallways of the State House.
Steve can be reached at 791-6345 or smistler@pressherald.com.
On Twitter: @stevemistler

Eric Russell is covering Independent Eliot Cutler during the 2014 governor's race. He is a general assignment reporter for the Portland Press Herald.
Eric can be reached at 791-6344 or erussell@pressherald.com
On Twitter: @pphericrussell

Matt Byrne is covering Republican Paul LePage during the 2014 governor's race. He covers Falmouth, Cumberland, North Yarmouth, Yarmouth and Freeport for the Portland Press Herald.
Matt can be reached at 791-6303 or mbyrne@pressherald.com
On Twitter: @mattbyrnePPH

Randy Billings is covering Democrat Mike Michaud during the 2014 governor's race. He covers Portland City Hall for the Portland Press Herald.
Randy can be reached at 791-6346 or rbillings@pressherald.com
On Twitter: @randybillings

Kevin Miller is covering Maine's U.S. Senate race and 1st Congressional District race. He covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald.
Kevin can be reached at 317-6256 or kmiller@pressherald.com
On Twitter: @kevinmillerdc

Michael Shepherd is covering Maine's 2nd Congressional District race. He is a news and State House reporter for the Kennebec Journal.
Michael can be reached at 621-5632 or mshepherd@centralmaine.com
On Twitter: @mikeshepherdME

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