The typical US Congress member is 12 times richer than the typical American household

Every year, members of US Congress are required to report on the value of their households’ income and assets. The data reveal that the lawmakers, who just passed a massive tax cut, are a very rich bunch.

In 2015, the most recent year for which Quartz could access this information, the median member of the US Congress was worth at least $1.1 million. That is more than 12 times greater than the net wealth of the median US household. And that doesn’t tell the whole story, since the chambers of congress are not equal in wealth terms. The median net worth of a senator was $3.2 million, versus $900,000 for members of the House of Representatives.

These are conservative estimates. Congress members are not required to report on the value of their residence, though many do. US household wealth estimates, which come from a survey conducted by the US Federal Reserve, include all real estate wealth.

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The well-traveled road from member of Congress to foreign agent

Earlier this month, a bipartisan bill was introduced in Congress that, among other important provisions to combat undue foreign influence in politics, would ban former members of Congress from lobbying on behalf of foreign governments. 

New Quincy Institute research finds that this congressional action is long overdue as the revolving door from Congress to lobbying on behalf of foreign interests has been spinning feverishly.

It’s no secret that when members of Congress leave office, they turn to one profession above all others: lobbying. Year in and year out, it’s the same story of former elected officials selling their connections and knowledge of how to make things happen (or not happen) in Washington to high-paying special interests. While this lobbying is often done on behalf of American interests — like big pharmaceuticalbanking, or weapons firms — former lawmakers have been lobbying on behalf of foreign interests more and more often in recent years.

We analyzed Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) filings since 2000 and found that at least 90 former members of Congress have registered as foreign agents, representing nearly half (87) of all countries in the world, and the trend has only become more pronounced in recent years. This raises critically important questions for U.S. national interests and highlights the importance of legislation to combat the potential risks of former members of Congress working for foreign interests.

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Disarming the Poor: Congress Proposes 1,000% Tax on AR-15s

If Congress won’t ban AR-15s, Democratic Rep. Don Beyer (VA) wants to slap a 1,000% tax on them – which would of course mean only people with lots of money, such as drug dealers and rich people, could afford them, while punishing lower-income Americans.

Introduced last week, Beyer’s Assault Weapons Excise Act has 36 Democratic co-sponsors, according to the Washington Post. The group hopes the idea might bypass the Senate filibuster, which would require the support of at least 10 Republicans.

According to Beyer, the idea is to increase the price to such a degree that it significantly limits who’s able to buy them. The tax would also apply to high-capacity magazines.

“It’s trying to hit the sweet spot, where it’s not an all-out ban, but people’s independent purchasing decisions would be much more ‘no’ than ‘yes,’” Beyer told the Post, adding. “You want to shift the demand curve pretty significantly.”

Beyer said part of the thinking behind the 1,000 percent figure was to have a high-enough fiscal impact that the Senate parliamentarian would find it qualifies for inclusion in a reconciliation package, meaning it could pass the Senate with a simple majority. -WaPo

“In a nation crying out for progress on gun safety, we would present a plausible way forward in this Senate,” he said.

The tax would only apply to newly purchased guns, and would not apply to government buyers. The proceeds would go into the general fund.

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Rare Congressional UFO Hearing Didn’t Provide ‘Real Answers to Serious Questions’: Lawmaker

Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) said the Pentagon isn’t being transparent enough with the public on UFOs, offering few answers to long-existing unexplained phenomena at a historic hearing.

“We just got hosed, basically,” Burchett told reporters on May 17, saying that he thinks officials are withholding information from Americans on UFOs, also known as Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAPs) in official jargon.

The remarks came after the first open UFO hearing since 1969. Sightings of unexplained lights by aviators have occurred since the early days of flight yet the topic hasn’t had a mainstream discussion in the past half-century until this week.

Earlier on Tuesday, a House Intelligence subcommittee heard testimony from the Pentagon, including its top intelligence official Ronald Moultrie and the deputy director of Naval Intelligence, Scott Bray, who also showed lawmakers two videos of UAPs.

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UFOs: Few answers at rare US Congressional hearing

The first public congressional hearing into UFO sightings in the US in over 50 years ended with few answers about the unexplained phenomenon.

Two top military officials tasked with probing the sightings said that most can ultimately be identified.

But they said a number of events have defied all attempts at explanation.

The sightings recorded by the military include 11 “near-misses” with US aircraft.

Some Unexplained Aerial Phenomena (UAPs) – as the military terms UFOs – seem to have been moving without any discernible means of propulsion.

During the hearing at the House Intelligence Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation Subcommittee, top Pentagon intelligence official Ronald Moultrie said that through “rigorous” analysis, most – but not all – UAPs can be identified.

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