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Measuring Wealth of the '08 Candidates

By Zachary A. Goldfarb
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, March 24, 2007 8:40 AM

Perhaps only one word can be used to describe all of the leading presidential contenders: multimillionaire.

Not only that. With one exception among the three leading Republicans and three leading Democrats, the contenders each appear to be worth tens of millions.

The exception: Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). As a community organizer-turned-law professor-turned-state senator-turned U.S. senator, the bulk of Obama's wealth has come only in the past few years, with the huge success of his second book, " The Audacity of Hope."

Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter came to the White House without much money, but most presidents had already achieved substantial wealth by the time they reached 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. This year, the top presidential contenders have found their places among the upper, upper class in different ways.

Mitt Romney, for example, had a long, successful career in finance before running for Massachussets' governor in 2002. Hillary Clinton was never rich until the end of her husband's term, when they each wrote best-selling books and he made millions giving speeches. John McCain has accumulated most of his wealth through his wife Cindy, a heiress to a major beer distribution company. Rudy Giuliani turned his time as mayor of New York into a lucrative consulting conglomerate and speaking career.

Some of the other candidates, though, are not wealthy by the measure of the leading contenders. One reason for this is that these candidates have spent very large chunks of their life in public office.

On May 15, the candidates will have to file financial disclosure statements with the Federal Election Commission detailing their financial situation. But here's a survey of how much the candidates (including spouses) are worth -- and how they made their money. It is based on disclosures they have to file while holding government office (residences are often not included), news accounts, interviews with compensation experts, OpenSecrets.org and talks with the campaigns.

Sen.John McCain(R-Ariz.)

Net worth: $25-$38 million

Details: McCain and his wife Cindy have substantial real estate holdings in Arizona -- including a home worth more than $1 million and land worth between $1.5 million and $3 million. Most of the wealth comes from Cindy, who has more than $1 million in beer distributor Hensley & Co., which her father founded. McCain has written three books.

Sen.Hillary Rodham Clinton(D-N.Y.)

Net worth: $10-$50 million

Details: Clinton continues to receive royalties for her autobiography, "Living History," for which she received an $8 million advance from Simon & Schuster. Clinton and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, left office in debt, but both have written bestselling biographies. Former president Clinton has collected nearly $40 million in speaking fees since leaving office.

Former New York mayorRudolph Giuliani(R)

Net worth: not available

Details: Giuliani has overseen a business empire consisting of an investment bank, law practice and consulting firm. He has delivered speeches for up to $100,000 apiece, and in 2002 alone collected over $8 million. Giuliani Partners has advised major U.S. companies on physical security and brand security related transactions. His investment banking arm, Giuliani Capital Advisors, reported revenues of $47.8 million in 2005, but Giuliani recently announced that firm is being sold to an Australian company for an undisclosed sum. Giuliani wrote a bestselling book, "Leadership."

Sen.Barack Obama(D-Ill.)

Net worth: $1-$2.5 million*

Details: In January 2005, Obama agreed to a $1.9 million advance from Random House for two non-ficton books and a children's book, of which $200,000 is being donated to charity. One of those books -- "The Audacity of Hope" -- has been a huge best seller since being released in October. He owns a home worth at least $1.6 million in Chicago.

*His wealth is likely to have increased significantly because of the huge success of "The Audacity of Hope"

Former Massachusetts governorMitt Romney(R )

Net worth: not available

Details: Romney was the founder and head of Bain Capital, a private equity firm. Analysts who track executive compensation say his compensation over 20 years was at least $500 million, as noted in The New York Times in an article about his contributions to conservative organizations. Running for governor in 2002, he spent $6 million of his money over eight months, the most ever spent on a Massachussetts governor's race.

Former senatorJohn Edwards(D-N.C.)

Net worth: More than $12.8 million to $60 million.

Details: Edwards had a long career as a successful trial lawyer before running for office. He recently sold his Georgetown home for $5.2 million and is building a 100 acre-plus estate near Chapel Hill worth at least $6 million. After leaving office, he led a poverty center at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He also was a senior adviser to Fortress Investment Group, a large New York hedge fund that recently had a successful initial public offering. Compensation experts said he would have likely received $500,000-$1 million for a year of service and free access to the fund. Edwards has said he does not think he would make money off the IPO.

Sen.Sam Brownback(R-Kans.)

Net worth: $2.5-$10 million

Details: Brownback owns a range of mutual funds, most valued between $1,000 and $50,000, but does not appear to have any signifiant business affiliations.

Sen.Chris Dodd(D-Conn.)

Net worth: $260,000-$682,000

Details: Dodd has a cottage in Ireland worth between $100,000 and $250,000, but has spent most of his life in public service and owns an array of mutual funds.

Sen.Joe Biden(D-Del.)

Net worth: $100,000-$150,000

Details: Biden has spent virtually his whole life in public service and does not have much else aside from investments in a small array of mutual funds and cash accounts. He received a $112,000 advance from Random House for a book in 2005.

New Mexico Gov.Bill Richardson(D)

Net worth: not available

Details: Richardson has spent most of his life in public office. Before becoming New Mexico's governor, he worked for a year for the international consulting firm Kissinger McLarty Associates and spent time at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. He has two homes in Sante Fe, but does not have any significant business relationships.

Former Arkansas governorMike Huckabee(R)

Net worth: not available

Details: Huckabee served as governor of Arkansas for 10 years and before that was a lietunant governor and pastor. He has written a popular book, "From Hope to Higher Ground, 12 Stops to Restoring America's Greatness." He has money invested in The Gillette Company and in the Annuity Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. He has also received dividends form Little Rock's Troufion Radio Network.

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