Who Are the Richest U.S. Senators?

Who Are the Richest U.S. Senators?

In a democracy like the United States, anybody can run for office and become elected to positions in the federal government, such as to the Senate. However, it takes time, money, and connections to run a successful campaign. Indeed, even if an ordinary citizen has ambitions to run for office, if they need to work to put food on the table, a few months on the campaign trail is just not a viable option. It is no surprise then, that most current senators (and many in the house of representatives) are multi-millionaires.

In an effort to be transparent and prevent conflicts of interest, the Ethics in Government Act requires many elected officials to file an annual financial disclosure statement that reveals their assets, investments, and businesses interests. Senators are one of the groups of people who must make this disclosure. Their statements are made available to the public and can give a good idea of the financial position of their filers.

Here, we take a list at the ten wealthiest senators as of of the 116th congress in 2020 (disclosures about the current 177th Congress are not yet publicly available).

Key Takeaways

  • U.S. Senators are required to disclose their financial assets each year.
  • The salary for a U.S. senator as of 2022 is $174,000 per year.
  • Most U.S. senators today are millionaires, and most of them made their fortunes before entering politics.
  • There are three mega-millionaires in the U.S. Senate: Mitt Romney of Utah, Rick Scott of Florida, and Mark Warner of Virginia.
  • Here we look at the top 10 wealthiest U.S. senators.

Understanding Congressional Wealth

All senators have a government-paid salary which, as of 2021, is $174,000 a year. However, many senators make much more from other sources and have a high net worth. Many of them started their careers in business and made the bulk of their fortunes before joining the political world.

On top of that, senators are high-profile people with a lot of power, and through that, they have access to various business opportunities and to other important people, which allows them to further increase their wealth through investments.

The top 10 wealthiest below all are estimates of their personal wealth. Their positions on the list vary from time to time as well, as each senator listed gains or loses a few million dollars here and there.

From 1789-1815, U.S. senators were paid $6 per day.

1. Sen. Rick Scott (R – Florida)

The former governor of Florida was elected to the Senate in 2019.

Sen. Rick Scott of Florida started his career in business, which is where he made the bulk of his wealth. He created one of the largest hospital networks, the Columbia Hospital Corporation.

Scott has an estimated net worth of more than $300 million as of 2022.

2. Sen. Mark Warner (D – Virginia)

Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia is one of the wealthiest members of the U.S. Senate and in fact of the entire Congress. As of the latest information, from 2018, his net worth is approximately $215 million.

Born in 1954, Warner grew up in a middle-class family. From as early as his college years, Sen. Warner had political aspirations. At one point during his time as a political science student, he even suggested to his parents that he would one day become president.

The bulk of Warner’s wealth came from Columbia Capital, a venture capital firm he founded shortly after graduating from law school. Under his direction, the firm made several successful early investments in companies in the telecommunication industry, including XM Satellite Radio and Nextel Communications.

3. Sen. Mitt Romney (R – Utah )

Sen. Romney needs no introduction, having been the unsuccessful Republican candidate for the presidency in 2012. The U.S. senator for Utah is the third-wealthiest senator, with a net worth estimated at $175 million.

Like most of the wealthiest senators, Romney made his fortune in business before he got started in politics. He co-founded and ran the private investment firm, Bain Capital.

4. Mike Braun (R – Indiana)

A former Indiana representative in the House, Mike Braun is now the state’s junior senator. Worth an estimated $137 million, Braun earned his millions as the CEO of Meyer Distributing, a maker of truck parts and equipment.

Today, he is one of the wealthiest, and also most politically conservative senators.

5. Sen. John Hoeven (R – North Dakota)

Sen. John Hoeven has served as the senior U.S. senator from North Dakota since 2011. Before that, he was the state’s governor for 10 years. Hoeven’s net worth has been estimated at $47 million.

Sen. Hoeven worked in banking before he started his political career, and served as the CEO of First Western Bank and the Bank of North Dakota. Sen. Hoeven remains an owner of First Western Bank and sits on its board of directors.

6. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D – California)

California’s Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s estimated net worth was estimated at $88 million.

Blum Capital, a private equity firm founded in 1975 by her husband, Richard Blum, is the source for most of that wealth.

7. Sen. Ron Johnson (R – Wisconsin)

Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson started out in the late ’70s as an accountant at PACUR, a Wisconsin-based polyester and plastics manufacturing company owned by his brother-in-law. He moved up through the ranks, and became the company’s CEO by the mid-’80s.

Sen. Johnson has an estimated net worth of $78 million.

8. Sen. James E. Risch (R – Idaho)

James Risch has been the junior senator from Idaho since 2009. He was previously the state’s governor.

He has an estimated net worth of $42 million, much of it in farm and ranch land in Idaho.

9. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R – Kentucky)

Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, currently the minority leader of the U.S. Senate, has an estimated net worth of $34 million as of 2018.

McConnell has been a senator since 1984. The bulk of his wealth comes from a gift his father bestowed on him in 2008. He and his wife, Elaine Chao, also reported a gift of between $5 million and $25 million from her family in his 2008 disclosure. Chao, who is an economist, was a cabinet secretary in the administrations of George W. Bush and Donald J. Trump.

Most of McConnell’s wealth is reported to be held in a Vanguard 500 Index fund.

10. Steve Daines (R – Montana)

Steve Daines of Montana is estimated to be worth $33 million, rounding out the top 10 wealthiest senators of the 116th Congress. Before becoming a politician, Daines was an executive at Proctor & Gamble, before becoming an executive vice president at cloud services startup RightNow Technologies in 2000. That company went public in 2004, and was acquired by Oracle in 2012, a windfall for Daines. That year, Daines first ran for office.

Many citizens and analysts believe that Congress is out of touch with the needs of the average American citizen because of the sizable wealth of many of its members.

Who Is the Richest U.S. Senator?

In the 116th Congress, public disclosures had Florida’s Rick Scott in first place with a net worth of around $300 million.

Kelly Loeffler, who served between 2020-2021 as a Republican senator from Georgia was estimated to have been worth $500 million at the time.

What Is a U.S. Senator’s Salary?

The salary of a U.S. senator is $174,000 per year as of 2022.

Who Is the Poorest U.S. Senator?

According to the latest figures available, Senator Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat, is the poorest U.S. senator. Her net worth was estimated at $32,500.

Do U.S. Senators Make a Lot of Money?

The salary of a U.S. senator is a respectable $174,000 per annum, but many senators make much more money through other investments, the use of their high-profile status to make connections, and various business dealings.

The Bottom Line

Despite being a democracy, it takes time, money, connections, and clout to become elected to the U.S. senate. It’s no surprise, then, that nearly all of the senators today in Washington are millionaires. Most of them earned their money prior to becoming politicians, as businessmen, financiers, and entrepreneurs.