Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Peek-A-Boo Congressman Brad Schneider

Congressman Brad Schneider often lists a series of appearances as proof he is traveling his district and meeting his constituents. Many are closed door little roundtable sessions. He tends to avoid Town Hall type of meetings.

The mystery of who Brad Schneider really is continues.  We do know that he has been extremely bashful about his personal wealth, to the point where he has refused to release his joint income tax returns in 2011 and 2012, and then just recently after repeatedly being pushed, releasing a personal (not joint) return for 2013.

According to Roll Call, in a survey just updated on September 9, 2014, the 50 Richest Members of Congress in 2014 are:

            Rank          Name

            1.               Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA)
            2.               Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX)
            3.               Rep. John Delany (D-MD)
            4.               Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)
            5.               Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA)
            6.               Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO)
            7.               Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
            8.               Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA)
            9.               Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
            10.             Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA)
            11.             Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL)
            12.             Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME)
            13.             Rep. Gary Miller (R-CA)
            14.             Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
            15.             Rep. James Renacci (R-OH)
            16.             Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX)
            17.             Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL)
            18.             Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY)
            19.             Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ)
            20.             Rep. Diane Black (R-TN)
            21.             Rep. Joseph Kennedy III (D-MA)
            22.             Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID)
            23.             Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN)
            24.             Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO)
            25.             Rep. Tom Petri (R-WI)
            26.             Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY)
            27.             Sen. John McCain (R-AR)
            28.             Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND)
            29.             Rep. Curt Clawson (R-FL)
            30.             Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)
            31.             Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI)
            32.             Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
            33.             Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA)
            34.             Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL)
            35.             Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX)
            36.             Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN)
            37.             Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY)
            38.             Rep. Scott Rigell (R-VA)
            39.             Rep. Trent Franks (R-AR)
            40.             Rep. John Campbell (R-CA)
            41.             Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC)
            42.             Rep. John Fleming (R-LA)
            43.             Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
            44.             Rep. Tom Price (R-GA)
            45.             Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)
            46.             Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA)
            47.             Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-TX)
            48.             Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)
            49.             Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM)
            50.             Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL)

Curiously, 8 out of the 10 most wealthiest members of Congress are Democrats.

If you eliminate the wealthy United States Senators on this list, Congressman Brad Schneider is ranked No. 22 in the House with a net worth of approximately $11.71 million. Last year Mr. Schneider’s ranking among fellow Congressional members on this topic was No. 35. 

Mr. Schneider is the only member of the Illinois delegation to appear on the 2014 annual survey. Last year Rep. Foster (D-IL) appeared on the list as number 50 with a net worth of approximately $6.7 million. This year he did not make the list.

Roll Call also reported Mr. Schneider’s portfolio of investment partnerships and brokerage accounts swelled in 2013. His largest stock holdings were stakes worth $100,001 to $250,000 in companies including Google, Facebook, Union Pacific, Exxon Mobil and Boeing. 

Illinois Review published an article recently indicating some Schneider assets that are less than environmentally friendly, including a recent sale of Koch Brothers controlled Georgia Pacific stock. Koch Brothers assets? Owned by a Democrat Congressman who constantly complains of the Koch Brothers and the Citizens United Supreme Court case? How ironic is that? Stock in Peabody Coal? Stock in offshore oil drilling companies? Are we talking Lake Michigan Brad?

Members of Congress are required to file annual disclosure forms revealing certain assets and liabilities. Roll Call reviews these filings and calculates their minimum net worth by subtracting the total minimum value of all liabilities from the total minimum value of all assets reported. Assets are generally reported in ranges, such as from $1,001 to $15,000 and from $100,001 to $250,000. Considering they only used the minimum in each reported range, is Mr. Schneider even wealthier than he appears?

When I printed out his Schedule A listings of assets and liabilities, and Transaction reports that are filed with the Legislative Resource Center, it ran approximately 150 pages. And he has been in office for less than two years.

Again, Mr. Schneider has refused to release his filed joint income tax returns for the years 2011 and 2012. He did finally release his 2013 individual return and did not file jointly that year.

On August 18, 2014, Crain's Chicago Business called that tactic "peek-a-boo" paperwork.

What is next for Mr. Schneider? Refusing to confirm that he will appear for the two scheduled debates with the League of Women Voters this election? One of which is in his own back yard of Deerfield?  

Peek-A-Boo indeed!

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