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Millionaires Are Now the Majority Party in Congress

Millionaires Are Now the Majority Party in Congress
Image credit: AFP Photo / Brendan Smialowski

For the first time in history, a majority of members of the U.S. Congress are millionaires, according to an analysis of data conducted by the Center for Responsive Politics, a research group that tracks money's influence in U.S. politics.

Mandatory disclosures filed last year by members of Congress show that at least 268 of the 534 members of Congress have a net worth of $1 million or more. The median net worth was $1,008,767 for all members of Congress.

"Despite the fact that polls show how dissatisfied Americans are with Congress overall, there's been no change in our appetite to elect affluent politicians to represent our concerns in Washington, Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, said in a blog post. "Of course, it's undeniable that in our electoral system, candidates need access to wealth to run financially viable campaigns, and the most successful fundraisers are politicians who swim in those circles to begin with."

That is to say, while wages have remained stagnant for many Americans despite the economic recovery, their elected officials on Capitol Hill have continued to get richer. And, in contrast to the blue-collar attitudes they tend to strike during election season, Congressional Democrats are actually richer than Republicans, with a median net worth of $1.04 million as compared to a median net worth of about $1 million exactly.

Senate Republicans are more affluent than Senate Democrats, however. The median net worth for all U.S. senators increased in tax year 2012 to $2.7 million from $2.5 million the year before.

Read the full breakdown of the data at the Center's website.

Related: Employees Everywhere: We Want a Raise This Year

Brian Patrick Eha is a freelance journalist and former assistant editor at Entrepreneur.com. He is writing a book about the global phenomenon of Bitcoin for Portfolio, an imprint of Penguin Random House. It will be published in 2015.

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