Graves the wealthiest candidate on the Congressional ballot

WASHINGTON – It’s not just members of Congress who are required to file public disclosures of their personal finances. Those who want to replace them in Washington also have to file. MPR News took a visit to the basement of the Cannon House Office building where those forms are available to the public to get a peek.

Some candidates filed these forms last year while others filed them within the past weeks. The forms ask for candidates’ year to date and last year’s earnings. In this post, I have used full year figures unless otherwise noted, so as to give readers a better sense of a candidate’s financial status. Candidates are required to list assets in broad categories, making a precise calculation of net worth difficult. They are not required to list the value of their personal residence but are required to disclose any debts, including mortgages, exceeding $10,000.

Here’s the rundown of candidates who have filed forms by congressional district:

CD3 – Brian Barnes is the DFL candidate running against incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen. Barnes works for Cummins in Minneapolis and reports making $111,000 in salary and bonuses. He lists assets worth as much as $145,000 invested in 401(k) and individual retirement accounts and has no reported debts.

CD4 – Republican Anthony Hernandez is challenging DFL incumbent Betty McCollum in the St. Paul-based 4th District. He lists his full year salary from MRL Company at $17,000, has no reported assets and lists debts in the range of $115,000 to $300,000 which include a mortgage and a student loans.

CD5 – Chris Fields is the Republican challenging DFL U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison. Fields and his spouse earned $171,000 from a law firm they run together. Their assets could be worth as much as $1 million or as little as $466,000. They also earn between $5,000 and $15,000 from a rental property.

CD6 – Hotel owner and 6th District DFL challenger Jim Graves is the wealthiest candidate or incumbent running for federal office in Minnesota this cycle and his wealth would likely be enough to put him among the top 10 wealthiest members of Congress were he to defeat Republican U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann.

His net worth is between $22 and $111 million and Graves’s campaign says the actual number lies somewhere in the middle. Graves’s assets include a number of partnerships and companies he owns, mostly concentrated in the hotel and real estate businesses. Graves reports debts worth as much as $36 million, all mortgages on properties related to his businesses.

Bachmann has attempted to use Graves’s wealth as a political issue against him. In fundraising appeals to supporters, Bachmann has called Graves a “self-funding multi-millionaire.” So far, Graves has lent his campaign $100,000 and says he expects donations to make up the bulk of the campaign’s funds.

CD8 – The Democrats, Jeff Anderson, Tarryl Clark and Rick Nolan are competing in a primary to run against first-term Republican Chip Cravaack. Anderson, a former Duluth City Member and an ad salesman for REO River Broadcasting, reported assets between negative $46,000 and positive $45,000. In 2010 he earned $85,000 from his sales job and an additional $10,000 from the city of Duluth. His assets are invested in mutual funds, and he has a car loan that is between $15,000 and $50,000.

Clark, a former state senator, could have a net worth as low as negative $66,000 or as much as $265,000. Clark’s assets are invested in a variety of mutual funds while her debts include credit cards and student loans belonging to herself and her children.

Rick Nolan served in the U.S. House between 1975 and 1981 before going on to a business career in Minnesota. He receives a $24,000 a year pension from the state of Minnesota and earned $27,000 in real estate commissions from Sotheby’s brokerage. His assets, which include a stake in the firm Emily Forest Products and a condo in Florida, are worth between $717,000 and $1.5 million. Nolan reports no debts.

  • Hi Brett,

    THANKS for researching … the issue of farm subsidies has been a concern for a number of voters and it is known that Michele Bachmann, John Kline, Colin Peterson and Tim Walz all have family interests in farms which may be brought up during the campaign … I believe that Congressman Walz family farm has not received any subsidies in the past but the others have.

    Also, Allen Quist has recieved farm subsidies and pledged at the endorsing convention to provide up to a million dollars to defeat Tim Walz … does his filing indicate that he has the financial capabilities to make that donation ?

    What about Mike Parry ?


    Mac Hall

  • tamara

    Anthony Hernandez makes $17,000 a year but has debts upwards of $115k? Interesting.

  • HalfNorsk

    Ah, the benevolent, wealthy Democrats. Friends of the poor who insist that charity be conducted with other people’s money.