WASHINGTON — From U.S. Rep. John Fleming, R-Minden, making more than $5 million from his Subway sandwich franchises last year, to U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, accepting a $2,000 tuxedo as a gift from a friend, Congress is putting more financial information online.
While much financial information was already available, the STOCK Act, signed into law in April, went fully into effect last week. The law is primarily designed to prevent insider trading by elected officials.
Members of the U.S. Congress must now disclose their home mortgages and new stock and securities transactions of more than $1,000. Such financial moves must be posted online within 45 days of each transaction. Congress has delayed the implementation of greater financial disclosure of upper-level federal employees though.
For instance, U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-Quitman, has mortgages for three homes in Quitman, Ruston and Washington, D.C. The liability value of each is between $100,000 and $250,000. The Ruston home was purchased last year for $139,000.
Congressional pay is $174,000 for rank-and-file members of the House and Senate, but the vast majority of congressional members receive income from other sources.
U.S. Reps. Fleming, Jeff Landry, R-New Iberia; Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette; and U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., each have a net worth that counts them as millionaires, although Boustany is teetering closest to the edge of the seven-figure net worth.
U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, and Sen. David Vitter, R-La., also each have a net worth making them millionaires if their assets are closer to the upper-level estimates of the reporting ranges, according to the Center for Responsive Politics’ OpenSecrets.org.
To view personal disclosure forms online, visit www.pfd.senate.gov, clerk.house.gov/public_disc or www.opensecrets.org/pfds.
Baton Rouge’s Cassidy, who still works part time as a physician seeing patients, made $20,000 last year through the LSU public hospital system. He also claimed between $15,000 and $50,000 in annual income from a rental property in Baton Rouge that is worth more than $250,000.
Cassidy holds a few TIAA-CREF accounts worth $402,000 to $880,000, the reports show.
Cassidy stands out for having more individual retirement accounts than any other member of the Louisiana delegation with about 45 such accounts; 30 of them are each worth up to $15,000; 11 of the IRAs are valued $15,000 to $50,000 each; and four of them are worth $50,000 to $100,000 each, according to his financial disclosure forms filed this summer.
Cassidy’s overall net worth is estimated between $850,000 and $3.3 million, according to Open Secrets.
But Fleming, who also is a doctor, is by far the wealthiest member of the delegation with his ownership of Subway and UPS stores, property holdings and the Minden Family Care Center.
After the more than $5 million he took in from Subway stores last year, Fleming also made between $1 million and $5 million from his family care center.
His companies Fleming Expansions, Fleming Franchise Development, JCF Management and JCF Properties combined to report income of between $220,000 and $2.65 million.
Fleming’s net worth is estimated in the reporting ranges of up to about $18 million, according to Open Secrets.
Fleming and Landry have been supported by several tea party organizations in recent years. Landry is counted as the second wealthiest member of the delegation as a businessman and lawyer.
Landry made anywhere from about $170,000 to $1.2 million last year in combined dividends and interest earnings primarily from his law firm, Frontier Financial, UST Environmental Services and the Service Tool Co.
Landry’s wife’s family founded the New Iberia-based Service Tool Co. UST Environmental Services makes storage containers and more for petroleum distribution.
Open Secrets estimates his net worth from $3.3 million to $13 million.
Because of congressional redistricting, Landry is running against Rep. Boustany to represent southwestern Louisiana.
Boustany, a former surgeon, receives $264,000 in annual disability payments because of his back problems. Boustany also received from $6,000 to $17,000 last year in royalties from energy exploration, according to filings.
Before Fleming and Landry were elected to Congress, Landrieu — with her finances combined with her husband, Frank Snellings — was the wealthiest member of the Louisiana delegation.
She received between $15,000 and $50,000 through the Louisiana State Employees Retirement System last year and she and Snellings took in $15,000 to $50,000 from a Washington, D.C. rental unit.
They also reported between about $13,000 and $33,000 in combined dividends, capital gains and interest earnings.
Her upper-chamber colleague, Sen. Vitter, reported receiving between $17,800 and $56,500 last year in combined dividends, capital gains and interest earnings. His largest dividends earnings came from Chevron.
Vitter also opened a few new IRAs through the Bank of China and GE Capital.
Richmond and Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, reported the least additional income and they had the bare-bones filings apart from their congressional salaries. But Richmond did take in up to $15,000 from a New Orleans rental property.
Richmond reported that Tony Clayton, a Port Allen lawyer and Southern University Board member, gave him a $2,000 tuxedo.
Richmond had to file a disclosure amendment in late August noting that the House Ethics Committee allowed him to accept the tuxedo under the personal friendship exception to the congressional gift rule.