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.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The News & Observer
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.
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