Some Minnesota members of Congress delay financial filings

WASHINGTON – Members of Congress released personal financial information Thursday, although four members of Minnesota’s delegation postponed revealing their annual finances for several months.

U.S. Sen. Al Franken, a Democrat, U.S. Reps. Michele Bachmann and Chip Cravaack, both Republicans and U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, a Democrat, all requested additional time to file their disclosure forms. Members can delay filing until mid-August. Last year, Franken, Bachmann and Cravaack delayed filing their disclosures until later in the summer.

Overall, Minnesota’s members were worth considerably less than their well-heeled counterparts in both chambers. A 2011 report by the Center for Responsive Politics estimates that Senate members have an average net worth of $2.6 million while House members average $756,000.

Franken, Bachmann and Cravaack, three of the four Minnesota members who have delayed filing their disclosure forms, would likely exceed those averages, based on their reported net worth last year. The six members whose 2012 filings are now available all report less than average net worths for their respective chamber.

Members of Congress are not required to report specific holdings and instead report their assets and additional income in the form of ranges, making a precise accounting of their net worth far from precise.

DFL U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar may be worth as much as $1 million, the highest net worth of the Minnesota lawmakers reporting their finances today. Like last year, Minneapolis DFL U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison continues to have the lowest net worth in the delegation with assets no greater than $34,000 and debts potentially reaching $615,000.

This year’s filings are slightly different thanks to ethics legislation pushed by DFL U.S. Rep. Tim Walz that requires members to also disclose some details about their mortgages.

SENATE

Amy Klobuchar (D) – Klobuchar is worth between $310,000 and $1.05 million, a slight decline from her 2011 filing in which her net worth was between $345,000 and $1.1 million.*CORRECTED, SEE NOTE BELOW Klobuchar reports no debts, and her money is primarily invested in mutual funds, life insurance and a college investment fund for her teenage daughter. UPDATE: Klobuchar’s office says her reported assets are approximately midway between the low and high ends of the figures on her public filing.

Kurt Bills (R) – Klobuchar’s likely Republican opponent in this fall’s election, state Rep. Kurt Bills, is also required to file financial disclosure paperwork with the Senate. Bills reports holding assets between $86,000 and $290,000 with no debt.

HOUSE

Keith Ellison (D) - As noted above, Ellison is likely the member of the delegation with the lowest net worth, listing assets between $1,000 and $34,000 while reporting debts between $260,000 and $615,000. Among those debts is the mortgage on a house Ellison purchased in Minneapolis in January 2011.

John Kline (R) – Kline lists assets worth between $263,000 and $695,000, which include a stake in a family farm in Houston, MN and several annuities. Kline also owns residences in Lakeville, MN in his district and in Washington, DC. Kline has also taken out a home equity line of credit on his Washington home, in addition to his mortgage. Last year, Kline reported owning assets worth between $251,000 and $676,000.

Betty McCollum (D) – The St. Paul Congresswoman has assets worth between $12,000 and $180,000 and also owns homes in St. Paul and Washington, DC. Her mortgages on those two homes are worth between $200,000 and $500,000. McCollum’s reported assets last year were worth between $11,000 and $165,000.

Erik Paulsen (R) – The second-term Republican owns assets worth between $152,000 and $709,000 and carries between $15,000 and $50,000 worth of debt on his home. Last year, Pauslen reported assets between $152,000 and $800,000. Unlike most members of the delegation, who appear to mostly invest in mutual funds, Paulsen owns shares in a number of blue-chip companies, including Cisco, Coca-Cola and Medtronic.

Tim Walz (D) – Walz reports holding assets worth between $98,000 and $295,000 and has between $190,000 and $465,000 in debt. That debt includes a mortgage his main home and a rental property in Mankato as well as credit card debt. Walz also has a stake in a family farm in Nebraska, where he was born.

*CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post used an incorrect figure for the assets Sen. Klobuchar reported in 2011. The assets reported by Sen. Klobuchar this week are accurate. The figure has been corrected and MPR News regrets the error.

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