Like other Washingtonians, congressmen are bullish on the local real estate market. Some are so enthusiastic they've invested in more than just their residences. According to congressional financial disclosure reports, here are the major property-holding solons:
Sen. Abraham Ribicoff leads the list with interests in Virginia apartments and downtown office buildings whose value was conservatively estimated in 1973 as $500.000. The Connecticut Democrat's holdings, placed in a blind trust, include joint venture or limited partnership interest in 14 real estate projects including firms that own office buildings at 1776 K St. NW and 1225 Connecticut Ave. His piece of the apartment building market is primarily in suburban Virginia. Presumably real estate appreciation since 1973 has increased the value of Ribicoff's holdings considerably.
Sen. Mark Hatfield represents Oregon while keeping a hand in the local housing market. He owns two Capitol Hill townhouses and another on 33rd Street NW, each estimated to be worth about $100,000. Add to his balance sheet a 40-acre farm in Rappahannock, Va., and two apartment buildings, one near 32nd and P Streets NW, the other near 30th and N Streets NW.
Rep. Stewart Mckinnery owns four houses, each worth about $100,000. Much of his property is located on the 1400 block of Corcoran Street NW.
Rep. Silvio Conte owns five downtown Washington rental properties.
Rep. John Dingell owns three houses in Virginia, all purchased last year.
Two senators, Herny Bellmon and Ted Stevens, have entered along with their wives. The men jointly own a building at 7th and A Streets SE, while their wives are partners in a company called Four State Builders. The business address for both sets of spouses' firms is the Stevens' Reservoir Road home.
Not all local congressional investments are in real estate, of course, Rep. Charlie Wilson put several thousand dollars into Elan, the new private club opened on K Street by a group of Texans. ReP. Tony Beilenson owns a small amount of stock in The Washington Post Company. And Rep. Lloyd Meeds owns a minority share of stock in Trudi Ball's Empress restaurants.
Footnote: Some congressmen are the most frugal of landlords. One former Ohio congressman rented the basement of his Capitol Hill townhouse to a law student. He carefully placed a cup near the washing machine so his tenant could drop a quarter in the cup for each load of clothes washed.