June 23, 2013

Washington Notebook: Michaud reports outside income

By Kevin Miller kmiller@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

WASHINGTON - The latest personal finance documents filed by U.S. House members were released last week, and the reports show that 2nd District Rep. Mike Michaud has relatively modest outside income and assets when compared to many of his D.C. colleagues.

click image to enlarge

U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud stands outside Great Northern Paper mill in East Millinocket in October 2012. Michaud released his personal finance documents last week.

2012 file photo/Ben McCanna

A report for Rep. Chellie Pingree was not yet available, however.

Members of Congress are required to disclose their private earnings and investments every year for themselves and their spouses. But the vagueness of the reports -- with lawmakers listing income or investments in broad ranges -- makes it impossible to gauge their true net worth.

Michaud, who is also mulling a run for governor on the Democratic ticket, reported income of between roughly $28,000 and $86,000 last year on top of the base $174,000 salary paid to all members of Congress who do not hold leadership positions. His only "earned income" was $2,232 from his pension with the International Association of Machinists. Most of the rest of Michaud's income came from rent on properties he owns in Millinocket.

He also reported assets -- including real estate and investment funds -- in the range of $243,000 to $772,000.

In 2011, House members reported an "average wealth" -- calculated with the minimum and maximum asset values -- of $6.5 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit that tracks money in politics.

Pingree requested and was granted an extension that allows her to delay filing financial disclosure reports until August. But last year's reports showed that Pingree, a Democrat representing Maine's 1st District, and her husband had a net worth of at least $32 million.

The vast majority of that sum is from her husband, S. Donald Sussman, a wealthy hedge fund manager. Sussman is also majority share owner of MaineToday Media, publisher of the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel.

Maine's two U.S. senators filed their disclosure forms earlier this spring. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, and his wife reported total assets of between $5 million and $26 million, while Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and her husband reported assets of somewhere between $600,000 and $3.8 million.

IMMIGRATION

Senate leaders still hope to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill this week, especially after Democratic and Republican negotiators worked out a compromise to beef up border security.

During a floor speech, Sen. Angus King made clear his support for creating a "pathway to citizenship" for new immigrants by pointing out that three of his predecessors from Maine -- Sens. Edmund Muskie, George Mitchell and Olympia Snowe -- were all sons or daughters of immigrants.

Sen. Susan Collins has yet to say how she will vote on the bill, which was still changing as of Friday. But she has said she supports comprehensive immigration reform. Both King and Collins have proposed amendments to the bill that will be considered this week.

A WINNING RECIPE

A Waterville youth landed a trip to the White House later this summer thanks to his culinary skills.

Noah Koch, who is 9, won the Maine slot in first lady Michelle Obama's Healthy Lunchtime Challenge competition for his recipe titled "Vegan Powerhouse Pesto Pasta," according to the White House. He and 53 other winners earned an invitation to a "State Dinner" (although it's really a lunch) with the first lady at the White House in July.

No word yet on whether Koch's pesto pasta will be among the recipes served up at lunch.

SPUD UPDATE

Speaking of eating your vegetables, last week I reported on delegation members' attempts to get fresh potatoes back on the menu of a federal food assistance program.

After an unsuccessful attempt to amend the Senate farm bill, Sen. Susan Collins last week managed to insert language in a Senate agriculture budget bill that would recommend federal officials include fresh, white potatoes on the list of approved vegetables under the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, also known as WIC.

A House version of the agriculture appropriations bill would specifically reinstate white potatoes in WIC. That language was co-sponsored by Rep. Chellie Pingree.

WIC provides grants to states to provide more nutritious foods to low-income mothers and children. Fresh potatoes have been excluded from WIC since 2009. 

Kevin Miller can be contacted at 317-6256 or at:

kmiller@mainetoday.com

On Twitter: @KevinMillerDC

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