The 25 poorest members of Congress
The media and pundits like to take politicians to task for living a cushy lifestyle that's worlds apart from the everyday experiences of average Americans. But a handful of members of Congress share one key characteristic with many of their constituents: dwindling bank accounts.
Using data from the Center for Responsive Politics, InsideGov looked at the financials of the 535 members of Congress and found the poorest members. The Center for Responsive Politics collects information from personal financial disclosure documents, providing insight into the wealthiest and poorest politicians on Capitol Hill.
When politicians report their personal finances, they do so in ranges rather than exact numbers. Personal wealth, or lack thereof, is estimated based on the average of the highest and lowest values. We count down the 25 poorest members of Congress, moving from least to most poor. Does your representative make the list?
#25. Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY)
Rep. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee. His average net worth is $8,000.
#24. Rep. Donna F. Edwards (D-MD)
Rep. Donna F. Edwards, D-Md., has served in the House since 2008 and is running for Senate in 2016. Her average net worth is $4,004.
#23. Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL)
Rep. Corrine Brown has served Florida in the House of Representative since 1993. The Democrat's average net worth is $3,501.
#22. Rep. Norma J. Torres (D-CA)
Democratic Rep. Norma J. Torres worked her way through local and state politics in California before getting elected to the U.S. House in 2014. Her average net worth is $1,001.
#21. Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN)
Rep. Andre Carson, a Democrat out of central Indiana, has served in the House since 2008. His average net worth is -$15,498, marking the first member of Congress on this list whose net worth is in the negative column.
#20. Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA)
After stints in the state House and Senate in Georgia, Rep. Barry Loudermilk was elected to the U.S. House in 2014. The Republican promptly joined the Freedom Caucus, the conservative group that played a key role in the resignation of former House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. Loudermilk's average net worth is -$18,498.
#19. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA)
A Louisiana native, Republican Rep. Steve Scalise came to Capitol Hill in 2008, taking over former Rep. Bobby Jindal's seat when the latter was elected governor of the state. Scalise's average net worth is -$20,999.
#18. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL)
After 15 years in the state House and Senate, Florida voters sent Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart to Capitol Hill in 2003. His average net worth is -$24,500.
#17. Rep. Brendan F. Boyle (D-PA)
Democratic Rep. Brendan F. Boyle, first elected in 2014, represents Pennsylvania's 13th District, which includes part of Philadelphia. His average net worth is -$24,997.
#16. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ)
Rep. Kyrsten Sinema served in Arizona state politics from 2005 to 2012. The Democrat was elected to the U.S. House in 2012. Her average net worth is -$32,500.
#15. Rep. Sean P. Duffy (R-WI)
After stints on reality TV shows "The Real World: Boston" and "Road Rules: All Stars," Rep. Sean P. Duffy tried his hand at another rough-and-tumble sport: politics. The Republican from Wisconsin was first elected in the GOP midterm sweep of 2010. His average net worth is -$34,499.
#14. Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY)
Rep. Steve Israel has represented New York in the U.S. House since his 2000 election. The Democrat's average net worth is -$42,500.
#13. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
Sen. Martin Heinrich has the distinction of being the only senator on this list of the 25 poorest members of Congress. The New Mexico Democrat has an average net worth of -$43,494.
#12. Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-MI)
Democratic Rep. John Conyers Jr., first elected to represent Michigan in 1964, is the longest-serving member of Congress. His average net worth is -$45,000.
#11. Rep. Ryan A. Costello (R-PA)
Pennsylvania voters elected Rep. Ryan A. Costello in 2014 after he served almost four years on the Chester County Board of Commissioners. The Republican's average net worth is -$47,994.
#10. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA)
Rep. Eric Swalwell has represented California's 15th District since 2013. His average net worth is -$58,999.
#9. Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC)
A Southern Baptist minister by trade, Rep. Mark Walker was elected to the U.S. House in 2014. The North Carolina Republican has an average net worth of -$58,999.
#8. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX)
After 10 years in the state legislature, Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro was elected to the U.S. House in 2012. The Democrat's average net worth is -$61,500.
#7. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX)
A Texas native, Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert was first elected to represent the Lone Star State in 2004. His average net worth is -$107,501.
#6. Rep. Raul R. Labrador (R-ID)
After four years in the Idaho state House, voters promoted Rep. Raul R. Labrador to the U.S. House in the 2010 election. The Republican's average net worth is -$216,498.
#5. Rep. Renee L. Ellmers (R-NC)
In 2010, Rep. Renee L. Ellmers was elected by a thin margin to the U.S. House. The Republican from North Carolina has an average net worth of -$246,498.
#4. Rep. Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX)
Democratic Rep. Ruben Hinojosa was first elected in 1996 to represent Texas' 15th District. He currently serves on the Committee on Financial Services and the Committee on Education and the Workforce. Hinojosa's average net worth is -$2,110,437.
#3. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO)
After logging eight years as the mayor of Kansas City, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver was elected to the U.S. House in 2004. The Missouri Republican has an average net worth of -$2,248,995.
#2. Rep. Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL)
A Florida native, Democratic Rep. Alcee L. Hastings has represented the Sunshine State in the U.S. House since his 1992 election. His average net worth is -$4,732,002.
Before he went to Capitol Hill, Hastings served as a U.S. district judge in Florida. He was impeached in 1988 for bribery; his seven-figure debt reportedly is a result of the legal fees surrounding his protracted trial.
#1. Rep. David G. Valadao (R-CA)
A native of California's Central Valley, Republican Rep. David G. Valadao was first elected to the U.S. House in 2012. Valadao continues to hold debt related to his family's dairy farm, which his father started in 1973.
Valadao's average net worth is -$25,167,003. He is consistently ranked among the poorest members of Congress.