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What is your congressman worth? Some are multi-millionaires, others are scraping by

New Congressman Robert Pittenger is the wealthiest member of the delegation. Rep. Renee Ellmers lists herself as the least wealthiest.

That is according to a new analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics, which has surveyed on the financial disclosure records that members of Congress are required to disclose. The members of congress report a range of wealth, and the Center calculated an average net worth between the maximum and minimum amounts.

Members of Congress had a median estimated wealth of $966,000 in 2011, compared to the median wealth of $66,740 for the typical American household.

Pittenger, the newly elected member from Charlotte, was ranked 29th in Congress with an average net worth of $33.5 million. He was followed by Sen. Kay Hagan(48th) of Greensboro who reported a an average net worth of $17.8 million, Rep. Mark Meadows(80) of Cashiers $6.8 million and new Rep. George Holding(88th) of Raleigh, who reported $6.4 million.

U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers on 'lowest net worth' list

The Washington Post and The New York Times published articles this month about the wealth of Congress members. Their point: the median net worth of people serving in Congress is increasing while the median net worth of American families as a whole is declining.

The Post has slideshows of Congress members who are the wealthiest and poorest. The Post article focused on House members, but the slideshows include members of both chambers.

No one in the North Carolina delegation is on the list of 25 richest.

U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers made it on to the list of 25 with the least net worth. The Dunn Republican is No. 18, with an average net worth of -$91,497 in 2010, according to an analysis of financial disclosures by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Burr a top recipient of finance, insurance and real estate money

Sen. Richard Burr was one of the top recipients of contributions from the finance, insurance, and real estate sectors during the first quarter of the year, according to a new analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics.

The analysis found that Burr, the North Carolina Republican, received $192,435 from those industry's political committees, ranking him ninth among senators, Rob Christensen reports.

The top recipient was Scott Brown, the new elected Republican from Massachusetts. Others receiving more money than Burr were New York senators Charles Schumer (Democrat) and Kirsten Gillibrand,(Democrat), Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby (Republican,) Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Democrat), Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson (Republican), Arizona Sen. John McCain (Republican) and Utah Sen. Robert Bennett (Republican).

The report noted that senators who voted against the sweeping financial regulatory reform bill last week received about 16 percent more money from the finance, insurance and real estate sectors over their careers than those who supported the measure.

Burr, like most Republicans, voted against the measure.

Burr also ranked seventh top recipient during the first quarter from commercial banks' PACS and ranked fifth in contributions from insurance industry PACs, according to the center.

The center is a nonpartisan, Washington-based organization that has been tracking political money for 25 years.

Coble scores with NFL

U.S. Rep. Howard Coble is among the top recipients of campaign money this year from the National Football League, according to a report from the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan group that tracks spending in Washington.

Coble, a Greensboro Republican, was one of seven House members to receive $5,000 this year from the organization's PAC, reports Barb Barrett.

That amount eclipses even U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler, a Waynesville Democrat who used to play quarterback for the Washington Redskins. Shuler received $1,000 this year, according to the study.

Coble spokesman Ed McDonald said the NFL held a breakfast for Coble early this year.

McDonald said it makes sense the NFL would support Coble. He is the top Republican on the Judiciary subcommittee that handles matters of antitrust.

McDonald added that Coble also received $5,000 from Major League Baseball.

Carolinas HealthCare a big spender

The hospital system welcoming Republican heavyweight Sens. John McCain and Mitch McConnell on Tuesday has spent $1.2 million in the past 18 months lobbying Congress, reports Barb Barrett.

Carolinas HealthCare Systems, which runs 25 hospitals in Charlotte and South Carolina, will host a health-care event Tuesday for Sen. Richard Burr. Burr, a Winston-Salem Republican, is running for re-election in 2010.

McCain, the GOP presidential candidate last year, and McConnell, the Senate majority leader, will speak at the event.

Carolinas Healthcare Systems was one of North Carolina’s biggest lobbying spenders on health care issues in the past two years, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan group in Washington that tracks spending in politics. The hospital’s lobbying documents show that it is interested in health reform, pharmacy legislation and issues related to Medicare and Medicaid.

Spokesman Kevin McCarthy said earlier this summer that in the context of the current health reform debate, the hospital system wants to increase Medicare reimbursements to doctors and help uninsured and underinsured patients find a medical home.

Did Dole pick Democratic diet plan?

Former U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole may want to rethink her new diet.

At a lecture in Kansas Sunday, the former North Carolina senator said that she and her husband Bob would be starting the NutriSystem diet.

Until recently, at least, the diet planners have leaned Democratic, according to a search of data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics.

The company's top officers have donated $10,650 to Democratic candidates, including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry as well as Pennsylvania Congressmen Joe Sestak and Patrick Murphy.

Between 2006 and 2008, former chief executive officer Mike Hagan, former vice president Bryan Janeczko and former chief financial officer James Brown gave between $250 and $2,300. Hagan also donated $1,000 to the International Franchise Association, an industry group.

Current CFO David Clark, meantime, gave $500 to the Republican National Committee.

No donations could be found for the other current executives.

Burr's leadership PAC gave $308k

U.S. Sen. Richard Burr's leadership PAC gave $308,500 to federal candidates last year.

The Next Century Fund, a political action committee affiliated with the Winston-Salem Republican, contributed $212,500 to 25 Senate candidates and $96,000 to 39 House candidates, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. All were Republican.

Several were from North Carolina. Burr gave $5,000 apiece to former Sen. Elizabeth Dole, former Rep. Robin Hayes, Rep. Patrick McHenry and Rep. Sue Myrick.

He also gave $1,000 to Augustus Cho, who ran unsuccessfully for the GOP nomination to face Democratic Rep. David Price.

Nationally, Burr's PAC lent a hand to GOP candidates in competitive races, including Sens. John McCain, Norm Coleman and Ted Stevens.

In all, the PAC spent $627,704, including donations to the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the N.C. Republican Party, fundraising and travel expenses and rent.

It ended the year with $126,202 in cash on hand.

Perdue not registered yet

Garrett PerdueGarrett Perdue is not registered as a federal lobbyist.

But lobbying law experts say he doesn't have to — until he has a client.

Under federal law, people who lobby Congress must register with the House Office of the Clerk and the Senate Office of Public Records within 45 days of starting work on behalf of a client.

Neither has a record of Garrett Perdue, son of Gov. Beverly Perdue and a lobbyist with the white-shoe law firm Womble Carlyle.

But Massie Ritsch, a spokesman for the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics in Washington, said that could mean Perdue does not have any federal clients.

"Unless you have someone you're representing, there's no obligation to register as a lobbyist," he said.

Perdue, who was hired on Feb. 16, will have worked for Womble Carlyle for 45 days tomorrow.

Seven of the state's eight Democratic Congressmen say they have not heard from Perdue.

Report: Rich senator, poor representative

Sen. Kay Hagan and Rep. Larry Kissell have more than a few things in common — they're both Democrats, both from North Carolina, both freshmen in Congress.

But they're tilting the opposite scales when it comes to personal financial wealth, Lisa Zagaroli reports.

A new analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics shows that Hagan is the seventh-richest freshman in Congress. Kissell is dead last, or 53rd, among the congressional newcomers.

Hagan's net worth is between $4.3 million and $38 million, which puts her average net worth as 33rd among all members of Congress. A former banker, Hagan earned $20,000 in 2007 as a member of the state Senate.

Kissell's combined personal finances fall somewhere between $20,000 and debt of $284,000, according to the reports lawmakers have to fill out which require assets and debts to be reported in wide ranges instead of specific amounts. The former Montgomery County schoolteacher earned $49,000 in 2007.

The richest freshman was Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., who built his fortune (between $61 million and $451 million) in the telecommunications business.

Hagan, Perdue to attend luncheon

Sen. Kay Hagan and Gov. Beverly Perdue will join Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton and a handful of other high-powered women at a Democratic pro-choice luncheon Sunday in Washington.

The EMILY's List luncheon is among dozens of events going on this holiday weekend to honor the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama and a slate of women who favor abortion rights. Tickets for the luncheon, at the Hilton Washington, sold at a range of $150 to $5,000.

The luncheon also features Obama Cabinet nominees Janet Napolitano and Hilda Solis; Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi; and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, who was just elected in New Hampshire.

The political organization works to elect pro-choice Democratic women to office.

EMILY's List was Hagan's No. 2 contributor in her recent campaign, donating nearly $270,000 to her effort to defeat former U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

The group also supported Perdue, running an ad in last May’s primary campaign touting her record on child predators.

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