Blumenthal richest freshman in new Congress

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., is the wealthiest freshman in Congress, according to a new tally by the Center for Responsive Politics.

His net worth comes in at of $94.87 million, according to an estimated average calculated by the Center. (Lawmakers only have to report their assets in wide ranges, so a precise net worth is impossible to determine.)

Blumenthal leads the congressional “freshmen rich list” by $45 million. He’s followed by seven Republican freshmen in the House, whom have an average calculated wealth ranging from $22.1 million to $49.4 million.

Blumenthal noted that most of the assets listed on his financial disclosure form are actually held by his wife, Cynthia Blumenthal, the daughter of Peter Malkin, a New York real estate magnate who heads an investment group that owns the Empire State Building.

“U.S. House and U.S. Senate freshmen are together a notably wealthy bunch, enjoying exponentially greater wealth than most of the Americans they represent,” the Center writes in its new analysis of lawmakers’ financial disclosure forms.

The report says that the 60 percent of Senate freshman and more than 40 percent of House freshmen are millionaires, compared to about 1 percent of Americans who have achieved that “same lofty financial status.”

“Even though millions of Americans continue to struggle financially, most of the nation’s newest congressional representatives are a world away from such constituents’ financial realities,” said Sheila Krumholz, the Center’s executive director.

Blumenthal loaned his campaign $2.25 million of his own money for his 2010 race against Republican Linda McMahon, who spent about $50 million of her wealth to fund her Senate bid. The Connecticut contest was the most expensive in the nation.

In an interview last month, Blumenthal said he had not held any fundraisers yet, but signaled he would try to raise the money to repay himself the $2.25 million. “We haven’t done any events… but we do have a debt and we’ll have to address it,” he told the Mirror.