1.Rep. Darrell Issa R-Calif.
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Issa had a very, very good year. The longtime denizen of the 50 Richest list finally reached the No. 1 spot after making about $135 million in 2012, mostly from investments that swelled in a bull market.
Before his election to Congress, the Californian made his fortune founding Directed Electronics — based in Vista, Calif. — which manufactures car alarms. Now Issa appears to make his money in the stock market. He ended 2012 with at least $390 million in bonds and stocks. His true worth, however, could be far greater. Members of Congress aren’t obligated to disclose exact figures, only ranges, and Issa has seven accounts with a minimum of $50 million, which is the highest category available on standard disclosure forms.
Issa also has about $75 million in outstanding loans, owing at least $50 million to Merrill Lynch and $25 million to Union Bank. Whether he truly is the richest member of Congress actually depends on precisely how much money he owes to Merrill Lynch.
It is impossible to really know, even though Issa’s own financial disclosure forms list him as president of the OpenGov Foundation, which aims to bring transparency and technology to government. Regardless, Issa made a significant amount in the stock market in 2012 — more than $100 million — and he made at least $10 million more in real estate sales.