Members of Congress are required to disclose their families’ assets and liabilities, excluding their home. The figures for congressional net worth in this story were based on the financial disclosure reports filed for 1984 and 2009.
Members are not required to report precise values for their holdings, but they are required to categorize the values of each asset or liability. The categories are $1,000 to $5,000, $15,000 and $50,000, $50,000 and $100,000, $100,000 and $250,000, etc. The calculations were done assuming that each asset or liability fell at the mean of the category reported.