FACT CHECK: How Much Is Mitch McConnell Really Worth?

Aryssa Damron | Fact Check Reporter

Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib claimed Thursday that Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell’s “net worth is close to $27 million.”

“Still wondering why Senate Majority Leader McConnell can’t empathize with 800,000 federal workers not getting paid? Because he’s out of touch from the folks he serves,” Tlaib tweeted.

Verdict: Unsubstantiated

Net worth is difficult to calculate based on available data and is usually given as a range. McConnell’s net worth was estimated to fall somewhere between $10.6 and $43.3 million in 2015, with the $27 million figure representing a midpoint.

Fact Check:

Tlaib made her claim as Congress continued to debate how to end the partial government shutdown. Under the leadership of McConnell, Senate Republicans had been reluctant to take up an appropriations bill without an agreement between Democrats and President Donald Trump, who has insisted on funding for a border wall. Trump agreed Friday to sign a continuing resolution to temporarily reopen the government through Feb. 15.

Tlaib has been critical of both the shutdown and the president. On her first day in office, she advocated for the impeachment of Trump, calling him a “motherf****r.” She joined Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar in support of a bill that would reimburse federal workers for their childcare expenses during the shutdown.

Her claim about McConnell came as competing measures – one from Republicans and one from Democrats – failed in the Senate.

“Americans need leaders who will understand what they go through in their day to day lives. McConnell needs to get a grip and realize who he serves on behalf of,” Tlaib said in a tweet Thursday, after claiming that McConnell’s net worth was “close to $27 million.”

OpenSecrets, a project of the Center for Responsive Politics, tracks money in U.S. politics. The center estimates the net worth of politicians based on their annually filed financial disclosure reports, which include information on their assets and liabilities.

Elected officials are only required to provide financial information in ranges, making the value of McConnell’s net worth difficult to estimate.

“It is difficult to gauge what a lawmaker is worth based on what they file because the disclosure forms do not require exact values,” OpenSecrets explains on its website. “As the values increase, the ranges get broader.”

OpenSecrets estimates that McConnell’s net worth fell somewhere between $10.6 and $43.3 million in 2015. The center uses a midpoint to rank the net worth of members of Congress, and this appears to be where Tlaib got the $27 million figure – the midpoint for McConnell was $26.9 million that year. Her office did not respond to a request for comment.

Due to financial disclosure rules, there are several types of assets often missing from these estimates. Government retirement accounts, private residences that don’t produce income and other property of value – like artwork and cars – are not required to be reported if not held for investment purposes.

McConnell listed no liabilities, such as student loans or mortgages, in his 2015 disclosure report. The annual salary for the Senate majority leader is $193,400.

When asked for comment on Tlaib’s claim, McConnell’s office directed The Daily Caller to his financial disclosure statements.

McConnell’s disclosure reports also include earnings and investments from his wife, Elaine Chao, who currently heads the Department of Transportation and previously served as labor secretary under President George W. Bush. She is also the daughter of a successful shipping and trading magnate.

McConnell’s wealth has increased dramatically over the last decade or so. OpenSecrets estimates that in 2006, McConnell’s net worth was somewhere between $2.3 and $8.5 million. The increase is often attributed to an inheritance Chao received after the death of her mother in 2007. The gift was valued at somewhere between $5 and $25 million, according to McConnell’s financial disclosure report for 2008.

While Tlaib’s claim about McConnell’s net worth cannot be confirmed, she was correct about the median income for his home state.

According to the Census Bureau, the median household income in Kentucky from 2013 to 2017 was $46,525 (2017 dollars). The Census’ estimate for 2017 alone was slightly higher – $48,375.

McConnell has represented Kentucky in the Senate since 1985.

 
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Aryssa Damron

Fact Check Reporter

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