A year ago, Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.) was a wealthy — and married — man. But now he and his third wife, businesswoman LuAnn Bennett, are in the midst of a divorce, and Moran’s financial picture looks decidedly different.
Financial disclosure forms released Wednesday show that Moran had no reportable assets or liabilities whatsoever for calendar year 2010. That marks a huge turnaround from his 2009 form, which — according to the Center for Responsive Politics’ tally — showed him owning assets worth between $1.9 million and $7.2 million, and liabilities of between $850,000 and $1.75 million. (Lawmakers are only required to report in broad ranges, not specific amounts of money.)
But all of that money belonged to his wife, who is president and owner of the Bennett Group, a real estate development and management firm, and who also has a trust from her previous marriage.
Moran explained the situation in a letter last month to the House ethics committee, which was appended to his new disclosure report.
“I am today filing my Financial Disclosure Statement for 2010. There is a significant difference between the filing for this year and for 2009, as I have not included any financial information for my wife LuAnn Bennett,” Moran wrote.
“My wife and I have separated with the intention of divorcing. Under these circumstances, my understanding is that the disclosure is to be entirely my own rather than including any of my wife’s information.”
Moran is not completely destitute. He still draws his congressional salary, which is $174,000 a year. And he reported receiving a $10,000 teaching fee, approved by the ethics committee, from George Mason University.
Moran’s personal finances have faced scrutiny in the past.
The Washington Post reported last year that between 1995 and 2003, Moran, a former stockbroker, made hundreds of stock trades potentially worth more than $3 million. Attorneys for Moran’s second wife accused him in 1999 of “stock market gambling” in divorce papers. During that divorce, Moran took a $25,000 loan from a friend and lobbyist that later drew criticism from watchdog groups.
Moran made several more short-term investments after marrying Bennett in 2004, but he has not made any stock trades himself in six years, according to his office. Moran’s latest disclosure forms show no financial transactions of any kind for 2010.