The 15 Richest Politicians in the United States
The American political system is becoming more and more dominated by financial heavyweights. Not only do the wealthy have more clout and access to politicians than those from the middle and lower classes, but they are more frequently becoming our representatives; meaning that America has some of the richest politicians in the world. For example, during the 113th Congressional session, 268 of the 534 members of Congress were millionaires. The House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate, and Cabinet are increasingly composed of many of the nation’s wealthiest citizens.
Throughout history, people who have commanded incredible amounts of wealth have held office within the federal government, as well as in the numerous state and local bodies across the country. George Washington was notoriously rich, and men like Michael Bloomberg — a businessman worth billions — have also served. Others have come close: Think Ross Perot and, more recently, Mitt Romney.
America’s richest politicians
By scouring financial records filed after the 2012 election, the Center for Responsive Politics has put together a long list of the richest politicians currently in office. Though the current information is from the 113th Congress, we’ve used that as a starting point for our research, and by scouring the country for outliers, we’ve been able to develop a list of America’s current richest politicians.
Read on to find out who makes up the list of the richest politicians in America.
*Note: Businessman Donald Trump is not included on this list, since he was not a politican at the time of the rankings. However, President Trump is the wealthiest politician in America, with a net worth around $4 to $10 billion, depending on who you ask.
15. Sen. Diane Feinstein
Senator Diane Feinstein, the current senior Senator serving California, is worth $70 million. A Stanford graduate, Feinstein originally ran for governor in California in 1990, after serving as the mayor of San Francisco, but won her seat in the Senate in 1992. She’s been there ever since. She’s sat on several important committees and has been a very important figure on the political scene for nearly a quarter-century.
14. Rep. Vernon Buchanan
Representing the 16th District in Florida, Rep. Vernon Buchanan has a personal fortune of roughly $89 million. Buchanan has represented the 16th District since 2013, and before that, represented Florida’s 13th District starting in 2007. His wealth stems from his holdings in several business ventures, including several automotive dealerships across Florida.
13. Gov. Bruce Rauner
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, who won the office in 2015, is worth approximately $100 million. Rauner has a background in finance, having served as chairman of GTCR, a Chicago-based private equity firm prior to his election. He also established his own venture capital firm, R8 Capital Partners, with the goal of investing in smaller, local companies. Rauner earned a B.A. in economics from Dartmouth, and followed that up with an MBA from Harvard.
12. Rep. Nancy Pelosi
Rep. Nancy Pelosi has had a very long and storied political career, having become the highest-ranking female politician in the country’s history when she served as Speaker of the House between 2007 and 2011. She represents a very wealthy area — the San Francisco Bay region in California — and exemplifies some of that wealth on her own personal balance sheet. Pelosi’s net worth has been reported to be as high as $100 million.
11. Richard Blumenthal
The current senior senator from Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal holds wealth estimated at just under $104 million. A graduate of both Harvard and Yale, Blumenthal was a classmate of Bill and Hillary Clinton before beginning a career in law. He served as a member of the U.S. Attorney’s office before getting involved in politics in the mid-1980s. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010 and then became Connecticut’s senior senator following the retirement of Joe Lieberman in 2012.
10. Rep. Scott Peters
Democrat Scott Peters (above, left), the representative for California’s 52nd District, has riches tallying up to $112.5 million. Though he now represents the fine folks from the San Diego area, Peters is originally from the Midwest, growing up in Michigan and having been born in Ohio. He is a graduate of Duke University and NYU and previously worked for the EPA as an economist. Peters was elected in 2012, after defeating Republican incumbent Brian Bilbray, and reelected in 2014 after a close race with Republican challenger Carl DeMaio.
9. Gov. Rick Scott
Rick Scott, the outspoken governor of Florida, commands a net worth of nearly $133 million, according to reports from the Tampa Bay Business Journal. Interestingly enough, his fortunes have grown considerably since taking office, and his wealth grew from $83.8 million in 2013 to its current figure. Prior to getting involved with politics, the 61-year-old Scott largely built his wealth in the for-profit health care industry and served in the Navy prior to starting his career in business.
8. Rep. Michael McCaul
Congressman Michael McCaul represents Texas’s 10th congressional district and has a fortune worth $143.2 million. First elected in 2005, McCaul has become the chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security after nearly a decade in office. Prior to his political career, McCaul worked in law as an attorney and federal prosecutor. He has a long history of legal work in the counterterrorism field and holds degrees from Trinity University in San Antonio as well as St. Mary’s University; he is also a graduate of the Senior Executive Fellows Program of the School of Government at Harvard University.
7. Rep. John Delaney
Commanding an estimated $154.6 million and serving Maryland’s 6th District in the House of Representatives, John Delaney is a man who has taken his business skills to the public sector. A graduate of Columbia University and Georgetown Law School, Delaney has founded numerous companies that are now listed on the New York Stock Exchange, and he is the only former CEO of a publicly traded company to serve in the 113th Congress.
6. Rep. Jared Polis
Jared Polis is not only one of the youngest politicians in the U.S. Congress, but also one of the wealthiest. With an estimated fortune of $197.9 million, Polis now serves Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District and is the first openly gay parent to serve in Congress. Polis built his fortune as an entrepreneur, founding American Information Systems while he was still a student at Princeton. After that, he founded more companies, including Proflowers.com. He was first elected in 2008.
5. Secretary of State John Kerry
If there’s one name on this list that should come as no surprise, it’s John Kerry. The former senator and current Secretary of State, Kerry was also the Democratic nominee for president during the 2004 election, losing to George W. Bush, who won his second term. Kerry’s net worth is estimated to be around $236 million, earned primarily throughout his quarter-century-long service as a U.S. senator, and through his wife, Theresa Heinz Kerry, heiress to the Heinz ketchup fortune. Not only that, but he is also a beneficiary to a number of trusts from the Forbes family fortune.
4. Sen. Mark Warner
Sen. Mark Warner (above, center), in office since 2009, holds a very large amount of wealth, estimated at $257.5 million. Before being elected as a Virginia senator, Warner also served as the state’s governor from 2002 to 2006. Prior to his days in politics, Warner made a lot of money during the telecom boom of the 1980s. By being an early investor in cellphone technology, Warner was ahead of the game and thus able to profit immensely from the budding industry.
3. Rep. Darrell Issa
After being elected to his eighth term in 2014, the third-richest politician in America is Darrell Issa. Issa holds wealth estimated to be in the $464 million range, made in part from his time as CEO of Directed Electronics, an auto parts and accessories company. Issa now serves as the representative from California’s 49th District, which includes portions of land between Los Angeles and San Diego. Issa has been in office since 2001, and has since become one of the most powerful representatives in the House.
2. Gov. Mark Dayton
Mark Dayton was added to the list in 2015, after winning the governor’s seat in Minnesota. Dayton comes from a very wealthy family, which has a net worth of approximately $1.6 billion. His family’s fortunes can be traced back to his great-grandfather, who was the original founder of a department store that his family would go on to build into Target — the store chain we all know and love. Prior to becoming governor, Dayton was a Senator from 2001-2007, and the state’s auditor for a stretch in the 1990s.
1. Gov. Bill Haslam
Governor Bill Haslam of Tennessee has come out of nowhere to become the country’s richest politician, and it isn’t even close. According to calculations from Forbes, Haslam is now worth more than $2 billion, making him not only a new billionaire but the only public official in America with a net worth in the ten figures. Haslam is an heir to the Flying J truck stop chain, and with gas prices working in his favor, he has seen his fortunes swell considerably over the past several months.