For years the financial disclosure forms did not require lawmakers to reveal any details about their personal residences, only for homes that were used for rental properties that produced income. That changed after Congress approved a new ethics law this year that clarified insider-trading laws so that lawmakers and congressional staff members were not allowed to make financial trades based on nonpublic information gleaned from their work on Capitol Hill.
As part of the new law, leaders of the Senate Select Committee on Ethics — Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) — won their three-year fight to require lawmakers to reveal their personal mortgage information. Under the new disclosure rules, lawmakers must reveal existing mortgages for personal residences.
Area lawmakers’ mortgages
Locally, the mortgage taken out by Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) on her District home is for between $100,000 and $250,000. Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.) reported a mortgage in the same range on his Fairfax County home and another on a condo in Lee County, Fla.
Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.) also has two mortgages – one for $250,000 to $500,000 on his home in Virginia and one for $15,000 to $50,000 on a rental property on Cape Cod that he has owned for 30 years.
House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.), who initially omitted his mortgage and then filed an amended report, said he owed between $100,000 and $250,000 on his Mechanicsville home. Rep. Donna F. Edwards (D-Md.) reported two mortgages – one for $100,000 to $250,000 in Fort Washington and one for $500,000 to $1 million in Oxon Hill – as well as a home-equity line of credit between $15,000 and $50,000.
Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett (R-Md.), who owns multiple rental properties and a farm, reported assets worth between $2.3 million and $9.1 million, including at least $250,000 in precious metals. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said he had three mortgage loans of between $250,000 and $500,000 apiece on his residence in Kensington.
For Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.), the disclosures show the continued toll taken on his finances by his divorce last year from his third wife, LuAnn Bennett.
As recently as 2009, according to the Center for Responsive Politics’ tally, Moran had assets worth between $1.9 million and $7.2 million, and liabilities of between $850,000 and $1.75 million. But his new forms show that he had almost no reportable assets left at the end of 2011.