House members disclose finances

On paper, Cardin and Bartlett are the richest of Maryland's U.S. representatives

June 15, 2006|By GWYNETH K. SHAW | GWYNETH K. SHAW,SUN REPORTER

WASHINGTON -- Reps. Benjamin L. Cardin and Roscoe G. Bartlett are the richest members of Maryland's congressional delegation, according to annual financial disclosure forms for House members released yesterday.

Bartlett, a Republican from Western Maryland, reported assets worth $1.7 million to $6.6 million, most of it in his Buckeystown farm. The property, worth $1 million to $5 million, also brought in rental income of $50,000 to $100,000.

Cardin, who represents Baltimore and is a candidate for the Democratic Senate nomination, reported assets from $1.5 million to $3.7 million on disclosure forms that lawmakers must complete each year. The forms reflect the assets, liabilities and outside income for calendar year 2005, which are listed in ranges designed to make it hard to pin down exactly how much members of Congress are worth.

For example, Bartlett listed the value of his residence because he gets rental income, but Congress does not require its members to disclose the worth of their homes. Cardin and Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, a Baltimore County Democrat who is the delegation's third millionaire - at least on paper - did not list the value of their primary residences.

Ruppersberger reported assets worth $1.1 million to $2.7 million.

Cardin's largest listed asset is a retirement plan worth $500,000 to $1 million. Cardin said that a trust named for his father is worth $250,000 to $500,000 and will be passed along to his children. His only liabilities are through a real estate partnership in which he has a 1 percent stake.

Cardin has been selling some stock holdings since joining the Senate contest more than a year ago, according to his disclosure form. Among the sales: $2,716 worth of shares of Constellation Energy Group - the focus of a battle over rate increases this year - and more than $27,000 in shares of Bristol-Myers Squibb, a major pharmaceutical company.

Cardin said that those holdings came to him after the death of his father last year and that "I just decided I didn't want to own them."

Cardin also reported receiving $4,736 in income from a pension he earned as a state legislator. He listed one trip paid for by an outside group to Aventura, Fla., for a January 2005 conference sponsored by Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

Cardin said he does not plan to use his own money to fund his Senate campaign.

Bartlett's holdings include assets worth $100,000 to $250,000 listed as "precious metals" and a bank account worth $250,000 to $500,000. In addition to the farm, he owns 153 acres and two houses in West Virginia and a house in Knoxville.

Bartlett's only reported outside income was $15,000 from his state pension.

Ruppersberger reported a number of stock holdings, mostly in retirement accounts and mutual funds, totaling $782,000 to $1.98 million. He also owns a beach house in Ocean City, which he valued at $250,000 to $500,000 and which earned rental income of $5,000 to $15,000. Ruppersberger also received $100,000 to $250,000 in income from his former debt-collection firm, Rupp & Associates, which is now in a blind trust. He reported its value at $100,000 to $250,000.

Ruppersberger, a former Baltimore County executive, also reported $83,000 in income from his county pension.

Other members of Maryland's delegation reported far less in assets.

Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest, a Republican from the Eastern Shore, reported assets of $43,000 to $295,000. Democratic Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, who represents Southern Maryland, reported assets worth $332,001 to $731,000, as well as $19,000 in income from his state pension. Hoyer took three trips last year, including one to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv with the American Israel Education Fund.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen, a Montgomery County Democrat, listed assets of $287,000 to $805,000 in stocks and other investments. Prince George's County Rep. Albert R. Wynn, a Democrat, reported one asset - a mutual fund worth $1,000 to $5,000 - and said he owed $15,000 to $50,000 to a lawyer and had a credit card bill of $10,000 to $15,000.

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, a Democrat from Baltimore, listed a rental house in Baltimore worth $250,000 to $500,000 as an asset that also brings him $5,000 to $15,000 in rental income. He also reported that he is selling another house in Baltimore, for $1,000 to $15,000.

Cummings' liabilities include a home mortgage of $50,000 to $100,000 and a home equity line of credit of $15,000 to $50,000. He reported his wife's salary of $80,000, from her job with the Baltimore County school system, as the couple's only earned income outside his government salary.

He also reported taking 11 trips paid for by outside groups and said he gave 14 speeches around the country. Under House rules, any honorarium earned for such appearances must be donated to charity.

gwyneth.shaw@baltsun.com

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