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Congress' Culture of Wealth: How Insider Information Enriches Members of the House

A new study reports that members of the House saw their investments outperform those of the average investor by 6 percent annually.

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Meanwhile, nearly half of Congress is made up of millionaires. 261 of them . And their average wealth has only gone up in recent years, even as the country remains mired in a grinding recession that shows no signs of letting up. The median wealth of a U.S. Senator in 2009 was $2.38 million.

OpenSecrets.org points out that party affiliation has little to do with personal wealth, and Sheila Krumholz of the Center for Responsive Politics notes, “Congressional representatives on balance rank among the wealthiest of wealthy Americans and boast financial portfolios that are all but unattainable for most of their constituents.”

Is the real problem, then, not insider trading, but a growing, entrenched political class of the wealthy? 

Sarah Jaffe is a contributor to AlterNet and a freelance writer.

 
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