Rosa’s Not in the Red

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Working-class hero DeLauro among richest members of Congress

NEW HAVEN — That staunch champion of the 99 percent is herself a member of the one percent.

That’s right: New Haven’s über-liberal congresswoman-for-life, Rosa L. DeLauro (D-3), has a personal net worth of $16,626,008, according to a December 27 report by the Washington Post.

That sum places the 11-term New Haven Democrat No. 29 among 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives. It also places her head and shoulders above her Nutmeg State peers in the lower chamber. Former Goldman Sachs investment banker Jim Himes (D-4) is the only other member of the millionaires club, with a net worth of $4,324,025. The other representatives are of substantially lesser means: Joseph D. Courtney (D-2) has a reported net worth of $364,010; while John B. Larson (D-1) clocks in at $280,004. With a reported net worth of $90,503, Christopher S. Murphy (D-5) is a relative pauper among this crowd.

Among members of the upper chamber, junior U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal is the sixth-richest member of that deliberative body, with a net worth of $73,151,590. His soon-to-retire compadre, longtime-Democrat-but-now-independent Joseph I. Lieberman of New Haven, reports  a relatively modest (by Senate standards) net worth of $1,981,541.

While the House’s richest member, California Republican Darrell Issa, whose net worth is a reported $448,125,017, is a stalwart conservative, its sixth-richest member, House Speaker and DeLauro ally Nancy Pelosi ($101,123,032), is one of the lower chamber’s most liberal voices.

According to the Post report, between 1984 and 2009 the median net worth of a U.S. representative shot up from $280,000 to $725,000 in inflation-adjusted 2009 dollars, excluding home equity. At the same time the typical family net worth slid from $20,600 to $20,500.

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives earn a $174,000 annual salary. So how did the 68-year-old DeLauro, the granddaughter of Italian immigrants who has represented the Third District since her 1991 election, amass an eight-figure nest egg?

DeLauro is married to Democratic political strategist and consultant Stanley B. Greenberg, whose corporate clients include British Petroleum, General Motors and the Monsanto Co. Greenberg owns 67 percent of his polling firm, Washington, D.C.-based Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research. In May 2010 Greenberg was linked to controversy involving then-White House chief of staff (now Chicago mayor) Rahm Emanuel, to whom Greenberg provided free rent while consulting for BP.

In August DeLauro drew criticism in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene, which destroyed numerous homes in East Haven and elsewhere in the Third District and rendered many state residents powerless for days. At the time of the storm DeLauro was vacationing along Italy’s Amalfi Coast and did not return to Connecticut until five days after the storm had passed. A Hartford Courant column rated DeLauro's storm response an "F". Nevertheless, DeLauro told the New Haven Register she had "no apology for taking a vacation" and being out of state during the crisis.

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