Daily Money Tip: Database releases financial data on members of Congress

Posted: January 16, 2014

How does Congress invest? We wanted to find out how our elected representatives invest their assets - and a new study from the Center for Responsive Politics is a gold mine.

Among Congress' favorite portfolio holdings? The top stock was General Electric, with 78 members of both the House of Representatives and the Senate listing the company as their No. 1 investment in 2012, the latest year for which personal financial data are available.

After GE, the most popular investments were the following blue-chip stocks: Wells Fargo, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, Apple, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, IBM, Cisco Systems, AT&T, Exxon Mobil, Intel, Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Chevron, PepsiCo, Verizon Communications, McDonald's, Qualcomm, Walt Disney Co., Berkshire Hathaway, and Wal-Mart.

By the way, for the first time, the majority of our elected officials have a net worth of at least $1 million, according to the center's study. The wealthiest Pennsylvania officials include Rep. Mike Kelly (R., Butler) with an average net worth of just over $14 million; Rep. Keith Rothfus (R., Beaver) with $7.19 million average net worth; Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D., Phila.) with average net worth $3.04 million, and Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) with $2.97 million.

Nationally, congressional Democrats had a median net worth of $1.04 million, while congressional Republicans had a median net worth of almost exactly $1 million. In both parties, the figures were up from 2011, when median net worth totaled $990,000 and $907,000, respectively.

Anyone can access the net worth and top investments of their U.S. representatives and senators at the Center for Responsive Politics website ( http://www.opensecrets.org/pfds/).

Emerging markets

Wait for elections to be over, says Peter Kohli, founder of DMS Funds in Leesport, Berks County. The emerging-markets manager advises avoiding some hot-spot, election-driven markets such as Turkey and South Africa until after national elections, which could trigger a sell-off. In the meantime, he says, "I have heavily weighted toward the Baltics and Poland, markets on which I'm extremely bullish."

DMS Funds include the DMS Baltic Index Fund, the DMS Poland Large Cap Index Fund, the DMS India Midcap Index Fund, and the DMS India Bank Index Fund.



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