New Jersey members of Congress are not quite as wealthy as the average Senator or Representative, although two of the state’s dozen House members are among the 25 richest in the nation.
Five of New Jersey’s 12 House members were among the top half of all representatives ranked by median net worth in 2015 in a new analysis by the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics. Both U.S. Senators were in the bottom quarter of the wealthiest members of the upper house.
The state’s least senior Republican congressman, Rep. Thomas MacArthur, was its wealthiest. In his second term representing the 3rd District that stretches from the Delaware River to the Atlantic Ocean and includes parts of Burlington and Ocean counties, MacArthur was likely worth $64 million, although his financial wealth could be significantly lower or higher.
Figuring out exactly how much a congressman is worth is impossible for most of those who serve in Washington because members are required only to report ranges of assets and liabilities for individual holdings. For instance, MacArthur reported joint ownership of two Barnegat Light Investment properties, one worth between $1 million and $5 million and the other worth between $5 million and $25 million. The best estimate of the total worth of the two properties is between $6 million and $30 million.
The $50 million mark
A second challenge in estimating net worth, while rare, comes when a member has an asset worth more than $50 million, or a spouse’s asset of more than $1 million.
The figures also present an incomplete picture because some assets do not need to be reported. Among these are personal homes and other property that do not produce income and federal employment retirement accounts
In making its estimates, CPR added the minimum and maximum values of assets and liabilities and subtracted liabilities from assets, then calculated the midpoint between the minimum and maximum total worth.
Based on those averages, New Jersey had seven millionaire representatives in Washington, all of them in the House, four of them Republicans and three Democrats.
Here is CPR’s ranking of New Jersey representatives’ minimum, maximum and average net worth for 2015, as well as each member’s office and rank within its chamber:
1. MacArthur, Republican, 3rd District, $64 million average
Net worth ranges from $21.3 million to $106.7 million. MacArthur, a former insurance executive, ranked 11th wealthiest in the House.
2. Rep. Rodney P. Frelinghuysen, Republican, 11th District, $54.3 million average
Net worth ranges from $24.8 million to $83.7 million. Frelinghuysen ranked 13th wealthiest in the House.
3. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Democrat, 9th District, $5.4 million average
Net worth ranges from $2.5 million to $8.5 million. Pascrell ranked 74th wealthiest in the House.
4. Rep. Leonard Lance, Republican, 7th District, $3.4 million average
Net worth ranges from $1.9 million to $4.9 million. Lance ranked 163rd wealthiest in the House.
5. Rep. Frank Pallone, Democrat, 6th District, $3.2 million average
Net worth ranges from $1.5 million to $5 million. Pallone ranked 177th wealthiest in the House.
6. Rep. Donald Norcross, Democrat, 1st District, $1.9 million average
Net worth ranges from $751,000 to $3.1 million. Norcross ranked 153rd wealthiest in the House.
7. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, Republican, 2nd District, $1.2 million average
Net worth ranges from $123,000 to $2.3 million. LoBiondo ranked 193rd wealthiest in the House.
8. Sen. Cory Booker, Democrat, $833,000 average.
Net worth ranges from $551,000 to $1.1 million. Booker ranked 75th wealthiest in the Senate.
9. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, Democrat, 12th District, $683,000 average
Net worth ranges from $385,000 to $980,000. Watson-Coleman ranked 248th wealthiest in the House.
10. Sen. Robert Menendez, Democrat, $424,000 average
Net worth ranges from $217,000 to $630,000. Menendez ranked 87th wealthiest in the Senate.
11. Rep. Donald Payne Jr., Democrat, 320th District, $299,000 average
Net worth ranges from $167,000 to $523,000. Payne ranked 13th wealthiest in the House.
12. Rep. Chris Smith, Republican, 4th District, $185,441
Smith reported actual values, rather than ranges, for his assets. He ranked 350th wealthiest in the House.
13. Rep. Albio Sires, Democrat, 8th District, $149,000 average
Net worth ranges from $81,000 to $216,000. Sires ranked 364th wealthiest in the House.
Because the analysis covers 2015 — not all the 2016 reports were available — it does not include Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-5th, who did not take office until January 2016. The same methodology used by CPR yields an average net worth for Gottheimer of $8.5 million for 2016. His income ranges from -$2.1 million to $19.2 million. The potential negative net worth, shared by some four dozen other representatives, occurs when the maximum liability exceeds the minimum amount of assets.