Thursday, June 16, 2011

Alabama congressional delegation members make financial disclosures

Terri Sewell.jpgU.S. Rep. Terri Sewell of Birmingham

WASHINGTON -- New information about the finances of members of Congress shows Alabama delegation members continue to put most of their personal money in real estate, mutual funds, bonds and the occasional stock transaction.
As a group, they are closer in net worth than in years past, when at least one former member was worth millions and another had zero investments and still owed student loans.
Six of Alabama's seven House members filed the annual disclosure forms covering 2010, which were released publicly Wednesday; Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Haleyville, asked for an extension on his deadline.
They are paid congressional salaries of $174,000, and the reports are meant to show other assets and income, including from their spouse's investments. The financial information is reported in ranges, not specific dollar amounts, and may or may not include information on their homes.
U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Vestavia Hills, remains the most active trader in the bunch, but his many transactions involved exchange-traded funds of less than $15,000, and they registered gains of less than $200.
Most of his high-dollar assets are in his wife's name. That includes Southwood Properties, which was valued at between $100,000 and $250,000. It provided rental income of between $2,500 and $5,000; an annuity worth between $250,000 and $500,000, and an IRA of between $100,000 and $250,000. Bachus' only reported liability is a bank loan he took out in October of between $15,000 and $50,000.
U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Birmingham, didn't take office until January, so for part of last year she was paid $94,078 by her former law firm, Maynard Cooper & Gale in Birmingham. She has five 401(k) accounts each with between $15,000 and $50,000, plus another eight IRAs worth less than $15,000 each, and one that is valued at between $15,000 ad $50,000.
Sewell was paid between $5,000 and $15,000 in rent on a beach house she owns in Seacrest Beach, Fla., that is worth between $250,000 and $500,000. A 2009 disclosure listed the house's value at between $500,000 and $1 million. She has a mortgage on the house from Regions Bank. She also owns a lot in Santa Rosa Beach worth between $100,000 and $250,000.
Her biggest-name stock investments are Coach Inc., worth $50,000 to $100,000, and General Electric, worth $15,000 to $50,000.
Elsewhere in the House delegation, Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Saks, withdrew the balance of his Retirement Systems of Alabama account, which was between $15,000 and $50,000. He and his wife still are collecting on five-year payouts from selling shares in auto sales and auto finance companies in Anniston, and he owns one-fifth of 200 acres in Anniston worth between $250,000 and $500,000. Rogers also maintains three Alabama Prepaid Tuition accounts for his three children.
Rep. Jo Bonner, R-Mobile, and his wife jointly own more than 2,400 acres of timberland in Wilcox County worth between $1 million and $5 million. Last year, hunting leases on the land brought in between $15,000 and $50,000. The Bronners own another 76 acres worth between $100,000 and $250,000, and two lots in Baldwin County worth between $50,000 and $100,000. They also own several investment accounts, most worth less than $15,000 each.
Bonner's spouse owns stock in Fannie Mae, HealthSouth Corp., Southern Co., and other companies, and she had multiple stock transactions throughout the year. Bonner has two Alabama Prepaid College Tuition plans for his children, and three revolving credit accounts from three banks of between $15,000 and $50,000 each.
Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville, took office in January and last year was paid $53,000 by his law firm and $64,000 as a Madison County Commissioner. He has multiple stock and bond funds owned jointly with his wife, including Baldwin County Board of Education bonds of between $50,000 and $100,000, which earned interest income of between $1,000 and $2,500. He also has Huntsville-Redstone Village bonds of between $1,000 and $15,000; stock in several energy companies; and Verizon Communications stock worth between $15,000 and $50,000.
Brooks was the only one of the six to report sponsored travel last year, including a trip from Huntsville to Baltimore paid for by Freedom Works, and a stay in Washington D.C. paid for by the Heritage Foundation.
Rep. Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, was paid $28,000 as a Montgomery City Council member last year, and her spouse, also a lawyer, owns multiple stock investment funds.
Roby also owns a farm as investment property. It was worth between $100,000 and $250,000, an increase from last year's report that it was worth between $50,000 and $100,000. She did not report any income from the farm.
Jointly with her husband, she owns stock in Home Depot and Torchmark Corp, but received less than $200 in dividends from each holding.

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