Rep. Earl Blumenauer: still a man of the people?

It looks like a career in elective office has been very good to Earl Blumenauer.

When he went to Congress as a Democrat representing Oregon’s 3rd District in 1996, he was a man of modest means.

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Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) in 1997, his first full year in office.

But the Congressman’s net worth has been steadily increasing for years and he’s now a multi-millionaire according to OpenSecrets.org, a project of the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

He’s done so well that in 2018, the most recent year of OpenSecrets’ comprehensive data, he was the 31st wealthiest of the 435-member House of Representatives, with an estimated net worth of $12,561,042.

He’s achieved his wealth while, other than a stint at Portland State University, his work history consists entirely of holding elective office.

Blumenauer was sort of a wunderkind, first elected to office when he was barely out of college.

His first job after graduating from Lewis and Clark College in 1970 was assistant to the president of PSU. During his eight-year tenure there he was elected to the Oregon Legislature in 1972 and earned a law degree from Lewis and Clark in 1976.

He was elected to the Multnomah County Commission in 1978, where he worked until 1985. He was elected to the Portland City Commission in 1986, where he served until 1996. His annual salary as Commissioner in his last year was $70,610.

Blumenauer was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in May 1996 in a special election to fill the vacancy caused by the election of then-Rep. Ron Wyden to the Senate. He was elected to a full term that November.

Based on the Financial Disclosure Report**  Blumenauer filed with the Clerk of the House for 1996, and using the Center for Responsive Politics’ formula for analyzing lawmakers’ finances, Blumenauer’s estimated net worth in 1996 when he took office in Congress was $504,009.

His assets included investments in a number of mutual funds, Nike stock, deposits in money market funds, Bank of America and Portland Teachers Credit Union, and investments in real estate in Portland, OR and Washington, D.C.

His Washington, D.C. property was a duplex at 510 6th St. SE he purchased on Sept. 6, 1996 for $169,000 to use as his residence. His other real estate investments were principally in Portland apartment buildings, some through Limited Liability Companies (LLCs).

Blumenauer’s potential retirement benefits from his employment in Congress and his potential PERS benefits are not required to be reported in Financial Disclosure Reports. He did, however, list his PERS account among his assets in his filing for 1999, putting its value at $250,001 – $500,000. Most Members of Congress also receive an annual salary, currently $174,000. They are not required to disclose this information either.

The numbers indicate that Blumenauer wasn’t a pauper, but neither was he filthy rich.

To say the least, he’s done quite well for himself since then.

Blumenauer, who tries to position himself as a bow-tied everyman on a bike, is, by any measure, a very wealthy man.

Some of the increase in his wealth may be related to his 2004 marriage to Margaret D. Kirkpatrick, who served as Senior Vice President of Environmental Policy and Affairs at Northwest Natural Gas Company from January 1, 2015 until January 19, 2016. Financial Disclosure Reports do not break out the individual sources of a member’s wealth.

His 2018 assets included his D.C. residence, an investment in the Joinery Holding Co. with a value of at least $250,000 and a vacation house in Deer Isle, ME.

Blumenauer’s 2018 assets also included over $1 million in Northwest Natural Gas stock, investments in U.S. Treasury notes, a number of mutual funds, the OnPoint Community Credit Union, the Congressional Federal Credit Union, and Portland real estate.

His reported real estate investments in 2018  included:

  1. The Pettygrove House, 1400 N.W. 23rd

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  1. 1701 N.W. Glisan

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  1. 2441 N.E. Weidler St.

weidlerHouse

Multnomah County records  and a title report showed that Blumenauer and his wife, Margaret D. Kirkpatrick, also jointly own residential property at 2241 N.E 30th Ave. in Portland, but neither the purchase transaction nor the value of the asset have ever been noted in Blumenauer’s Financial Disclosure Reports to Congress.

County records show that Isaak Regenstreif, a Portland consultant who describes himself on his website as “a connector and a problem solver,” purchased the property on May 1, 1989 for $182,500. He then sold it to Margaret Kirkpatrick on March 22, 2002 for $82,627. Zillow estimates the current market value of the property as $1,403,523.

If Blumenauer included this property in his list of assets on his Financial Disclosure Report to Congress, that would further increase the estimate of his net worth by the Center for Responsive Politics.

 

30thHouseblumenauer

2241 N.E 30th Ave., Portland

 

Blumenauer’s Financial Disclosure Report for 2010 showed he began investing that year in a mutual fund listed as T Rowe Price Retirement 2020, putting in between $100,001 –  $250,000. In 2012, he made a number of investments in Blackrock 2020 Retirement. Both are target-date funds designed to meet the investment objectives of people planning to retire in 2020.

It doesn’t look like Blumenauer , who’s now 71, intends to stick with that retirement year, but whenever he retires, it will be as a very rich man.

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*Rep. Blumenauer’s estimated net worth was calculated by the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan, non-profit that tracks money in U.S. politics, on OpenSecrets.org. Net worth was calculated by summing the filer’s assets and then subtracting any listed liabilities. Filers report the amount of each of their assets, transactions and liabilities as falling within one of several ranges. The minimum possible values for each asset were added together as were the maximum possible values. Likewise, minimum and maximum liability amounts were summed. The maximum debt figure was then subtracted from the minimum asset figure and the minimum debt figure was subtracted from the maximum asset figure. The resulting range represents the extremes of how much a filer could be worth, and his or her actual net worth should fall somewhere within that range. The midpoint or average of the two limits was also calculated and used for purposes of ranking the filers by wealth. Retirement accounts from employment with the federal government are not reported in Financial Disclosure Reports. Most Members of Congress also receive an annual salary, currently $174,000. They are not required to disclose this information.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer’s Estimated Net Worth/House Wealth Rank

2016: Net worth: $9,950,020; House rank: 20th

2015: Net worth: $6,997,519; House rank: 59th

 2014: Net worth: $7,632,520; House rank: 46th

2013: Net worth: $6,828,015; House rank: 58th

2012: Net worth: $6,809,015; House rank: 48th

2011: Net worth: $6,057,014; House rank: 47th

2010: Net worth: $4,924,520; House rank: 64th

2009: Net worth: $4,302,516; House rank: 76th

2008: Net worth: $3,615,019; House rank: 75th

2007: Net worth:  $3,739,518; House rank: 81st

2006: Net worth: $4,077,518; House rank: 82nd

2005: Net worth: $3,569,016; House rank: 88th

2004: Net worth: $3,357,511; House rank: 81st

1996: Net worth: $504,009; House rank: NA

**Financial Disclosure Reports include information about the source, type, amount, or value of the incomes of Members, officers, certain employees of the U.S. House of Representatives and related offices, and candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives. The reports are filed with the Clerk of the House as required by Title I of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978, as amended (5 U.S.C. app. § 101 et seq.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Memo to Oregon’s Congressional Delegation: Pay Your Interns

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Every summer, it’s a deluge. Thousands of eager students descend on Washington, D.C. to intern in Congress. It’s the perfect opportunity to see first-hand how the legislative process works, a good way to get a foot in the door in politics and often gives ambitious young people a leg up in their careers.

Some of those ambitious young people end up working for members of Oregon’s congressional delegation, all of whom talk incessantly about the need to prepare students for the future, support equality of opportunity and encourage the creation of good jobs.

So what are they paying their interns?

Zero. Zip. Not one thin dime. Not one red cent.

Money Magazine estimates it will cost an intern a minimum of $5300 to spend a summer interning away from home when you factor in air travel, rent, transportation, clothes and food.

This means a good number of young people simply can’t afford to intern in Congress.

One result? Low-income Oregonians having to choose between a career enhancing internship for an Oregon member of Congress and a summer job with a house painting company may have little choice if they need to make money.

That means students from well-off families can afford to take a career-building unpaid internship, but not the kid from an average family struggling to deal with potentially crippling college loan debt. That perpetuates inequality.

The situation has become so acute that some former Congressional interns have even formed an organization, Pay Our Interns, to advocate for paid internships. “A student’s socioeconomic status should not be a barrier to getting real-world work experience,” the group says.

Here’s a chance for Greg Walden, the lone Republican in Oregon’s congressional delegation, to get things rolling and show some leadership by instituting a paid internship program.

So do the right thing, folks. Pay your interns. You’ll all be the better for it.

 

 

 

Brad Avakian and his party are worried

With polls showing Republican Dennis Richardson leading Democrat Brad Avakian in the Oregon Secretary of State race, it looks like Avakian’s supporters are worried.

avakianfrown

Why isn’t this man smiling?

Just in the first three days of this month they pumped $398,915 into his campaign, according to state filings.

Although union members account for just 14.8 percent of wage and salary workers in Oregon, they play a big role in Avakian’s campaign. Union donations in the first three days of November included:

  • The NEA Fund for Children and Public Education – $50,000
  • AFSCME – $30,000
  • Local 48 Electricians PAC (4572) – $15,000
  • American Federation of Teachers-Oregon Candidate PAC (113) – $10,000
  • Ironworkers Political Action League Muti Candidate Committee – $5,000
  • Our Oregon – $5,000
  • Oregon AFSCME Council 75 – $4,000

Some donors to other Democratic candidates may be surprised to learn that another significant source of recent donations to Avakian is the campaign committees of fellow Democratic candidates. In a move that should be prohibited, those committees simply took contributions to them and, in effect, passed them on to Avakian.

These donors include:

  • Friends of Tobias Read – $5,000
  • Sara Gelser for State Senate (4680) – $1,000
  • Blumenauer for Congress – $2,000
  • Friends of Mark Hass (11487) – $1,000
  • Rosenbaum for Senate (Diane) (1430) – $1,000
  • Friends of Lee Beyer (14049) – $5,000
  • Friends of Tina Kotek (4792) – $5,000
  • Reardon for Oregon (15621) – $3,000
  • Kurt Schrader for Congress – $5,000
  • Elect Ellen Rosenblum for Attorney General (15406) – $5,000
  • Friends of Jeff Barker (4270) – $2,000
  • Friends of Jennifer Williamson (15145) – $2,500

Other large contributors to Avakian’s campaign in early November included the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians ($10,000) , the Oregon Health Care Association PAC (275), $5,000) , Cain Petroleum ($5,000) and James D. Fuiten, President of Metro West Ambulance ($5,000).

These recent contributions brought Avakian’s campaign committee total to $2,216,482.79 as of Nov. 3, 2016, substantially more than the $1,490,837.52 raised by Richardson, as of Nov. 4.

We’ll see whether all this loot can pull Avakian ahead.