Talking Points Memo: 23rd Richest Member of Congress: I’m ‘Struggling Like Everyone Else’

Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT), the 23rd richest member of Congress who owns millions of dollars in farm and ranch land, told an audience member at a town hall in Missoula yesterday that he and his wife “are struggling like everyone else” and that he’s “land rich and cash poor.”

“I’m a small businessman. My wife is a small businessman. You know she hasn’t taken a salary in ten years? She has not, as a result of the business, because we are struggling like everyone else… with the economy,” Rehberg said.

“What’s your net worth?” an audience member interjected.

“I am land rich and cash poor; like ranchers, and farmers and small businesses throughout Montana,” Rehberg said. “I have the same struggle. I have no employees. And we have the same struggle because we have the ability to borrow the money but the problem is, in our particular case, if you don’t have the ability to pay back the loan, then you don’t — then what’s the reason to go to the bank and borrow the money?”

It’s certainly possible Rehberg finds himself in cash crunch. But his own most recent financial disclosure form, which covers 2009, shows Rehberg with a self-reported net worth of between $6,598,014 and $56,244,998, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That made Rehberg the 23rd richest member of Congress (by another count he was 25th richest member of Congress and the 14th richest member of the House). Based on their analysis, Roll Call pegged him as the 23rd richest member of Congress.

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