Your Money: A look at how elected officials from Pennsylvania invest

Posted: November 22, 2011

It can be mildly entertaining or even enlightening to see how our elected officials invest, so we took a look at the excellent Center for Responsive Politics database and researched the portfolios of three Pennsylvanians: Sens. Pat Toomey, a Republican who resides in Lehigh County, and Bob Casey, a Democrat from Scranton, and Rep. Joseph "Mike" Kelly, who represents the Third District, which includes Erie and Sharon in the northwest corner of the state.

The three offer both political and geographic diversity, but other than that, this is simply an arbitrary grouping.

There is no secret stuff involved - all filings are public - and many in Congress are people of exceptional means. All representatives' portfolios are available at OpenSecrets.org on the center's site.

All members of Congress receive a salary of $174,000. And all members are exempt from insider-trading rules, as a 60 Minutes piece this month noted.

Here are the portfolios:

Sen. Toomey

He sits on the bipartisan "supercommittee," which has acknowledged failing in its task of agreeing by Wednesday on a plan to cut the U.S. budget deficit. He is among the wealthier members of the Pennsylvania delegation. Two of his top five donors over the last five years are Elliott Management Inc. and SAC Capital Advisors, two well-known hedge funds.

Toomey disclosed a net worth of between $1,750,070 and $4,750,999 in 2010. Some of his bigger public holdings include iShares Silver Trust Index and JPMorgan Alerian MLP Index, which invests in energy limited partnerships.

Toomey's private holdings included an airplane-leasing company (worth $101,002 to $265,000) and a real estate deal called Old Mill Partners (worth $500,001 to $1,000,000). His most valuable assets include stock in Bethlehem-based Team Capital Bank.

Toomey invests in a bank holding company called First Bancapital Fund I, L.P.

He also invests in emerging markets, energy, and precious metals, mainly using exchange-traded funds, such as the SPDR S&P 500 ETF, SPDR S&P Emerging Europe ETF, SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Equipment & Service ETF, and SPDR Select Sector Health Care ETF, as well as a U.S. Treasury inflation index bond fund. This type of bond fund provides an inflation-adjusted return.

Sen. Casey

He listed pensions, bank accounts, and investments valued at between $159,019 and $563,000 as of his 2010 filings.

Casey's portfolio earned between $14,711 and $39,700 in interest and dividends, and his most valuable individual asset was his Pennsylvania State Employees Retirement System pension, valued at between $50,001 and $100,000.

Investments as of 2010 also included: Allegheny Energy, Ameriprise Insured Money Market fund, the Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund, and the Janus Flexible Bond Fund, which he sold in June 2010. None of these investments was greater than $50,000.

While Casey's top campaign contributor from 2007-12 cycles was Comcast Corp. (donating more than $92,000). He does not own any Comcast stock.

Rep. Kelly

He did extremely well investing in energy, particularly in the Marcellus Shale. As a result, Kelly is now one of the 50 wealthiest members of Congress, according to Roll Call.

The reason? Exxon Mobil Corp. bought privately held natural gas company Phillips Resources Inc. and a related company, TWP Inc., for $1.69 billion in June. The acquisitions included about 317,000 acres for exploration in the Marcellus region. Kelly's disclosure lists him as a major shareholder in both Phillips and TWP.

In his latest 2010 filing, Kelly listed ownership in Phillips Resources ($5,100,002 to $25,250,000 worth) and TWP Inc. ($5,100,002 to $25,250,000), which would make him a millionaire many times over. In 2009, his Phillips and TWP holdings were worth $1 million and $5 million, respectively, so the purchases by Exxon was lucrative for Kelly.

His other investments include the Dodge & Cox International Stock Fund and shares of General Motors.

Some holdings haven't performed so well, including shares of Goldman Sachs Growth Opportunities Fund, an open-ended mutual fund that has not outperformed its benchmark Russell Mid-Cap Growth Index over the last 10 years.


Erin Arvedlund is a finance reporter and a resident of Philadelphia. Contact her at erinarvedlund@yahoo.com or 646-797-0759. Read more of her columns at www.philly.com/arvedlund

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