GOP congressmen richer than Democratic counterparts

Petri among richest Congress members

Wisconsin’s Republican congressmen are apparently wealthier than their three Democratic counterparts, according to the lawmakers’ recently released financial disclosure reports.

Members of Congress have to release reports every year listing their assets, liabilities and stock transactions. However, it’s hard to make meaningful comparisons because they’re only required to list the value of their assets in broad ranges.

Also, two GOP congressmen, U.S. Reps. James Sensenbrenner and Sean Duffy, were granted extensions and haven’t filed their latest forms yet.

Still, one general trend is apparent. The other three Republicans each report assets worth at least $1.7 million — and for U.S. Rep. Thomas Petri, as much as $46 million.

No Democrat reported more than $1.6 million in assets. Democratic U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore reported investment revenue but no assets.

According to Petri’s financial disclosure forms, the Republican from Fond du Lac is worth between $9.5 million and $40.5 million.

His most valuable asset is his stock in Walgreen Co., which is worth between $5 million and $25 million. He also lists three other assets worth at least $1 million apiece.

As an investor, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan seems to prefer holding small positions in a large number of consumer stocks.

Ryan’s latest financial-disclosure report lists dozens of his assets, most of them stock holdings worth between $1,001 and $15,000 each.

The list includes a smattering of oil and bank companies, as well as popular consumer companies such as Apple Inc., Home Depot, IBM Corp. and Google Inc.

In total, the Janesville Republican listed assets worth between $2.4 million and $9.3 million. That places him among the wealthier of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation.

U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin reports having assets worth between $500,000 and $1 million, most of it in a blind trust.

A blind trust involves giving a third party all powers to manage one’s financial assets. The asset holder doesn’t know about any financial decisions that are made, including which stocks are bought and sold. Lawmakers often use the setup to avoid conflicts of interest.

Baldwin’s latest financial-disclosure report also lists liabilities of between $200,000 and $500,000.

Baldwin is a Madison Democrat who’s running for the U.S. Senate.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Ron Kind has released financial-disclosure forms showing his net worth is on par with that of Baldwin and trailing that of their Republican counterparts.

The report said the La Crosse Democrat has most of his assets in brokerage and retirement accounts. The values generally range from $1,001 to $15,000 each.

Overall, he reports assets worth between $600,000 and $1.6 million. That’s less than the several million that Republicans such as U.S. Reps. Paul Ryan and Tom Petri announced, and in the ballpark of Baldwin’s numbers.

U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble has released financial-disclosure forms listing up to $6.7 million in assets.

The most valuable asset is commercial rental property in Appleton. Ribble’s report said the property is worth between $1 million and $5 million.

The Republican from De Pere also lists liabilities of up to $2.2 million, mainly from mortgages on personal and rental properties.

The forms show that his net worth from reportable assets and liabilities is somewhere between about $700,000 and $4.5 million.

Moore is the least wealthy member of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation, according to her recently filed financial-disclosure form.

Her colleagues have listed assets that include mutual funds, retirement accounts, stock holdings and real estate. But the Milwaukee Democrat lists no actual assets.

She does list capital gains of up to $12,500 after cashing out five investment funds, and had other investment sales worth up to $75,000 but she lists no other current assets.

Moore also lists a liability of between $50,001 and $100,000 on the mortgage of her personal home.