Jul 29, 2013
10:13 AM
Connecticut Politics

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Rep. Elizabeth Esty Rank Top 50 in Campaign Debt

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Rep. Elizabeth Esty Rank Top 50 in Campaign Debt

Peter Hvizdak/New Haven Register

Four of the 180 members of Congress who reported lingering campaign debt in their most recent financial disclosure filings are from Connecticut,according to a list compiled by the Center for Responsive politics.

On the list of those with the most debt, one senator and a representative from Connecticut are in the top 50.

And to whom do they owe the most to? Themselves.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal is No. 34 on the list with a reported $250,000 in remaining debt. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-5 came in at No. 31, owing $293,141.Their debt comes largely from loans each candidate made to their own campaign committee. Esty owes all of the outstanding money to herself with the exception of about $5,640 in outstanding printing costs, her reports show.

All of the outstanding loans associated with Blumenthal stem from loans he made himself to a Blumenthal for Senate committee, campaign disclosure reports show.

Rep. John Larson, D-1, owes $17,511 bringing him in at No. 122 on the list. Much of his debt stems from a discrepancy in rent charges on a facility used during the campaign in Washington, D.C.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., comes in at No. 102 with $26,520 in debt, a majority of which is for legal services that have not yet been paid back.

All of this data was obtained from the most recent financial disclosure paperwork filed by the committee’s on each candidate’s behalf.

The member of Congress owing the most is Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., who owes herself $2.2 million for a personal loan she gave her campaign committee in 2000, when she was running to unseat Republican Sen. Slade Gorton.

Residual campaign debt isn't a sign that candidates don't have enough personal wealth to fund their campaigns. For Blumenthal, who in 2011, ranked as the eighth wealthiest member of Congress, the loan he made to his own campaign committee is the maximum he could loan and hope to get back. But with $52.93 million in reported assets, the senator may hope to use contributed funds to help his own campaign rather than pay himself back. 

Blumenthal is not unique in this regard. When a list of the top 50 wealthiest members of Congress compiled by Roll Call is checked against the list of candidates still in debt, there are 17 candidates, including Blumenthal, on both lists. That means 17 members of Congress report campaign debt in the thousands, and report personal assets in the millions. 

Candidate Wealth Ranking 2011 Personal Wealth 2011 Campaign Debt Rank Campaign Debt
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) 1 $294.21 Million 43 $201,403
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) 2 $220.4 Million 86 $39,288
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) 8 $52.93 Million 34 $250,000
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) 9 $45.39 Million 23 $356,930
Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) 10 $44.21 Million 78 $50,000
Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Ohio) 11 $35.87 Million 20 $437,516
Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) 15 $20.35 Million 19 $441,079
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) 18 $17 Million 62 $85,000
Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) 21 $13.73 Million 25 $349,000
Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) 22 $11.9 Million 28 $329,995
Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) 23 $11.6 Million 30 $300,586
Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.) 24 $10.69 Million 11 $549,500
Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) 39 $8.51 Million 48 $156,871
Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.) 40 $8.44 Million 127 $12,483
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) 41 $8.18 Million 10 $600,000
Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) 43 $7.94 Million 60 $100,000
Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas) 45 $7.71 Million 14 $538,000


Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Rep. Elizabeth Esty Rank Top 50 in Campaign Debt

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