State Politics

Pittenger and Tillis are wealthiest members of Congress from NC

Robert Pittenger greets supporters at the Charlotte Marriott SouthPark in 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. He is North Carolina’s wealthiest member of Congress, according to a 2015 review of financial disclosure records by the Center for Responsive Politics.
Robert Pittenger greets supporters at the Charlotte Marriott SouthPark in 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. He is North Carolina’s wealthiest member of Congress, according to a 2015 review of financial disclosure records by the Center for Responsive Politics. Charlotte Observer

North Carolina’s 13 representatives and two senators are spread evenly across the ranks of the wealthiest and the most-in-debt lawmakers serving in the U.S. Congress.

Republican Rep. Robert Pittenger comes in at No. 1 among his congressional colleagues from the Tar Heel State with an estimated $14.1 million in personal wealth, according to OpenSecrets.org, a website ran by the Center for Responsive Politics. The organization’s ranking of current members of Congress shows Pittenger is the 43rd wealthiest of 435 representatives in the House of Representatives.

The Center for Responsive Politics analyzed financial disclosures required by the federal government for elected officials.

A second-term congressman from Charlotte, Pittenger accumulated much of his wealth through his former real estate and property investment company by purchasing vacant swaths of land and selling them later for development. He has since sold Pittenger Land Investments to his wife to meet House ethics rules.

Behind Pittenger, five other North Carolina representatives have estimated personal wealth that’s higher than more than half of all House members:

▪ Republican Rep. George Holding, a former U.S. attorney, is worth an estimated $6.57 million.

▪ Republican Rep. Virginia Foxx, a former college administrator, is worth an estimated $5.24 million.

▪ Republican Rep. Mark Meadows, a former restaurant owner, is worth an estimated $4.21 million.

▪ Democratic Rep. David Price, a former Duke University professor, is worth an estimated $3.36 million.

▪ Democratic Rep. G.K. Butterfield, a former attorney and N.C. Supreme Court justice, is worth an estimated $1.31 million.

North Carolina Republican Sens. Thom Tillis and Richard Burr rank second and seventh in wealth, respectively, among the state’s congressional delegation.

Tillis has an estimated $8.9 million in personal wealth, making him the 20th richest U.S. senator. Tillis, who is serving his first term in Congress, is a former PricewaterhouseCoopers and IBM executive turned consultant.

Burr, a former sales manager for a distribution company, is worth an estimated $2.6 million. Compared with his Senate colleagues – the wealthiest of whom is Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va. – Burr, North Carolina’s senior senator, ranks 53rd.

To compile its rankings, the Center for Responsive Politics analyzed financial disclosures required by the federal government for elected officials.

Those personal financial disclosure reports show that two U.S. House members from North Carolina joined the ranks of 27 representatives and one U.S senator who owe more money than they make or have in assets.

Reps. Mark Walker and Renee Ellmers, both Republicans, each have estimated negative personal wealth.

Walker – a pastor who reported earning $78,000 in 2013 – listed his mortgage debt on his disclosure report, as well as his wife’s student loans ranging from $15,000 to $50,000.

Ellmers, a nurse, reported no income for herself or her husband, Dr. Brent Ellmers, from his medical practice. Her financial disclosure shows she has $30,000 to $45,000 in credit card debt, a home equity line of credit on their home, a mortgage on their full-time residence, a loan to purchase land on Topsail Beach near Wilmington, N.C., and a business loan of up to $50,000 for her husband’s medical practice. The financial disclosure says the medical practice is worth $50,000 to $100,000.

Anna Douglas: 202-383-6012, @ADouglasNews

How N.C. members of U.S. Congress compare with counterparts

In the Senate:

Sen. Thom Tillis, R, ranks 20th

Sen. Richard Burr, R, ranks 53rd

In the House:

Rep. Robert Pittenger, R, ranks 43rd

Rep. George Holding, R, ranks 64th

Rep. Virginia Foxx, R, ranks 75th

Rep. Mark Meadows, R, ranks 91st

Rep. David Price, D, ranks 109th

Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D, ranks 187th

Rep. Patrick McHenry, R, ranks 259th

Rep. Walter Jones, R, ranks 273rd

Rep. Alma Adams, D, ranks 293rd

Rep. David Rouzer, R, ranks 310th

Rep. Richard Hudson, R, ranks 351st

Rep. Mark Walker, R, ranks 425th

Rep. Renee Ellmers, R, ranks 430th

Source: Center for Responsive Politics

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