North County GOP Rep. Darrell Issa falls to third among Congress's richest members as liabilities jump

Roll Call is out with its annual analysis of congressional wealth and at the top of the heap is Texas Republican Michael McCaul, with a minimum net worth of more than $300 million, a new high for him, according to the publication's analysis.

Next in line in Washington's big money derby is Sen. John Kerry, the Democrat from Massachusetts who is married to a ketchup heiress, with a minimum net worth of $198.65 million.

Then comes North County's Issa, reporting a minimum net worth of $140.55 million, the survey calculates.

Roll Call notes that Kerry and Issa have swapped spots in its ranking since last year's tally.

Calculating total net worth based on official filings is tricky, because ranges of asset values, rather than specific numbers, are required to be reported under the law. , As reported here last month, in addition to his sizable assets Issa, who made his fortune in car alarms, disclosed that he had taken out large personal loans in 2011, one exceeding $50 million from Union Bank, and another in the same range from Merrill Lynch.

"The value of Issa's assets actually increased since last year's filing," notes Roll Call, "from about $295.40 million to $315.55 million. But so did his reported minimum liabilities, which rose from $75.00 million in 2010 to $175.00 million in 2011."

"Though lawmakers report the value of mutual funds, bank accounts and other assets, they are not required to disclose federal retirement savings accounts," the publication adds.

"And while they had to include mortgages on personal residences for the first time this year, they did not have to report the value of those properties as assets.

"All assets and liabilities are also listed in broad ranges spanning millions of dollars, making it impossible to arrive at a lawmaker's exact minimum net worth."

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