Rep. Silvio Conte (R.-Mass.), who has been in Congress for 20 years, has become a substantial landlord in the Nation's Capital, but on occasion his property does not earn income.
Rep. Jack Brooks (D-Tex.) is a millionaire or close to it, thanks, he says, to the frugality he learned as a boy "selling magazines on the streets of Beaumont."
Rep. Fernand St Germain (D-RI.) who chairs the House Banking subcommittee that overseas banking regulation, owes more than a half-million dollars to two banks, a credit union and a trust for real estate and business investments.
Rep. Stewart B. McKinney (R-Conn.) took out a note from the Riggs National Bank here in order to finance the purchase and restoration of three properties in the 1400 block of Corcoran Street NW. He listed their value at more than $100,000 each.
And then there's Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a newcomer to Congress who has nothing beyond his salary and a student loan to repay to Boston College.
These and other facts about the finances of members of the House of Representatives were revealed yesterday as comprehensive financial disclosure statements were made public for the first time.
The requirement for members to detail their income, assets and liabilities was passed last year as part of a new ethics code.
The first statements cover only the months from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, 1977, and instead of requiring reporting in exact amounts, the ethics code calls only for value - from $50,000 to $100,000, for example.
Nevertheless, a review of the reports shows:
House members are bullish on America. Scores have holdings in stocks and bonds, and 153 had financial interests of more than $100,000, excluding their salaries and personal residences.
At least five are millionaires and several others come close, though reporting the range of holdings makes it difficult to determine exactly how many.
The practice of interest groups inviting members of Congress who serve on relevant committees to speak before their groups and paying them fees is still prevalent. Rep. Thomas Foley (D-Wash.), chairman of the Agriculture Committee, got $17,500 honoraria largely from such groups as the National Association of Corn Growers, the Grocery Manufacturers Association; Wheat Improvement Association, bakers, meat institute and Western Association of Food Chains.
Rep. James J. Howard (D-N.J.), chairman of the Public Works subcommittee on surface transportation, collected $4,500 for speaking to groups such as the American Public Transit Association, the Regular Common Carrier Conference, and the motor bus owners and equipment distributors.
Several members still have lucrative law practices, Rep. Morgan Murphy (D-I11.) of the House Rules Committee got $30,000 in legal fees in the quarter. Fellow Rules Committee member Claude Pepper (D-Fla.) got $26,285 from his law firm. Both also show extensive real estate holdings. Murphy had over a half-million in real estate, largely around Chicago, and Pepper owns over $300,000 in real estate in Florida.
Only 22 of 435 members reported they had no significant income outside their basic $57,500 annual congressional salary.
Several members had holdings in areas related to the jurisdictions of the committees on which they serve.
Members of the House Ways and Means Committee, whose jurisdiction over tax and trade legislation directly affects every American institution, showed a wide range of financial interests.
Millionaire Fortney H. Stark Jr.'s (D-Calif.) holdings include more than $100,000 in a geothermal resource lease, and more than $50,000 each in a Texas oil well and a New Mexico gas well.
Rep. Willis Gradison Jr. (R-Ohio), another member of the committee that handles energy tax legislation, has more than $100,000 in General Motors common stock, enough to have generated $9,425 in dividens in the last quarter of 1977 alone. Still another member, Rep. L. A. (Skip) Bafalis (R-Fla.), reported more than $100,000 of stock in Allied Coal Producers Inc.
The ranking Republican on the House Commerce subcommittee on health and the environment, Rep. Tim Lee Carter, is a partner in a Tompkinsville, Ky., pharmacy, the Pure Drug Co., that paid him more than Congress does. Carter reported $16,067 in salary (his office said it was actually partnership income) from Pure Drug in the final quarter of 1977, compared to the $14,375 he got from the House.
Carter, a physician whose family has long dominated the politics of Kentucky's Monroe County, appears to won a good chunk of the county as well: eight farms in his own name, another in the name of his wife and a 10th held by the TL Carter Development Co. Five of the farms are valued at more than $100,000 each.
St. Germain, whose loans total $500,000, said he borrowed the money in 1972 to buy five International House of Pancake properties. He said the gross rentals total $165,000 a year. His press release said, "I have avoided any conflict between my personal responsibility to provide for my family and my public duties as a congressman."
Brooks, chairman of the House Government Operations Committee, owns more than $100,000 in stock in each of six companies: a bank holding company in Groves, Tex., the First National Bank of Silsbee, Tex., the First of Goves Life Insurance Co. of Beaumont, Tex., the Guaranty Bank of Houston, Neches Building Corp. of Silsbee and the Bayou Shore Corp., of Galveston.
Along with Pepper and Murphy, Brooks is one of the House members fighting hardest against a pending $8624-a-year limit on outside earned income that would take effect in January.
Brooks also drew $22,405 in "Commissions" from the Twin City Credit Life Insurance Co. of Groves, Tex., for the final quarter of 1977. He would have to give up almost all of the commission income - which exceeds his congressional salary - if the restrictions go into effect.
Brooks was said to be en route to Texas yesterday afternoon and could not be reashed for comment on comissions he draws from Twin City Credit Life. However, he left a prepared statement in which he emphasized that he has always live "quite frugally."
"Before I was a teenager," Brooks added, "I had a saving account from the proceeds of selling magzines on the streets of Beaumont. The holdings I have a present are the result of that frugality, a little luch and a policy which, for 30 years, I have publicly urged others to follow: invest in southeast texas."
First elected to Congress in 1958, Conte, the ranking Republican on the House Small Business Committee, has a blue-chip stock portfolio starring IBM, but his biggest assets are in rental properties, primarily homes in northwest Washington. He owns five, with an assessed total value of $292,500 or more tha twice the $135,500 he paid.
Conte also owns rental properties in Mssachusetts amd Florida, worth $150,000 at a minimum, but his financial disclosure statement shows no income from the ventures.
"Sometimes he makes money," a representative of Conte Said, "but he had losses last year. Last year they spent more than they took in.
Apparent millionaires in the House are McKinney, Stark, Richard Otinger (D-N.Y.), S. William Green (D-N.Y.) and Harold Runnels (D-N.M.)
Runnels has a minimum of $1.5 million in holdings in more than 30 firms, from insurance to oil to banks, and lists his annual income as $316,187.47.