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Members of US Congress Get Richer Despite Sour Economy
CNBC.com | November 17, 2010 | 01:09 PM EST

Despite a long and deep recession, the collective personal wealth of congressional members increased by more than 16 percent between 2008 and 2009, according to a study released Wednesday by the Center for Responsive Politics .

The study also indicates that a significant number of members owned shares of major players in the health-care and financial-services sectors, which were the subject of major reform legislation during the period.

The findings—based on federal financial disclosure data released earlier this year—paint a wealthy bunch in Congress, with more than half of all members—261—were millionaires.

About one in five of those had average calculated wealth in 2009 of at least $10 million. Eight of the 261 were in the $100 million-plus range.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) ranked No. 1 in personal wealth—$303.5 million. (See related slideshow.)

In contrast, U.S. median household income dropped 3 percent to $50,221 between 2008 and 2009, the second straight decline, according to the Census Dept. In terms of millionaires, only about 1 percent of the overall population qualifies.

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