The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


October 8, 2012

Members of Congress Avoided Recession's Worst


"This is really driven by real estate that he has held, some of it inherited, for a number of years," Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said. "San Francisco is one of the places where the market has skyrocketed in terms of price per square foot and has been fairly insulated in terms of the 2008 financial crisis."

Another Californian has consistently ranked in the top five of the richest House members: Rep. Darrell Issa, a Republican. He has also been one of the most successful investors on Capitol Hill, with estimated wealth of $448 million in 2010, according to The Post's analysis.

Issa came to Congress in 2000 with a fortune he made from the sale of an electronics company that specialized in car alarms. One of his alarm systems carried a recording of his voice warning, "Please step away from the car," if anyone got too close.

Now most of Issa's investments are in mutual funds, bonds and securities. Issa's chief of staff said the securities have provided an annual rate of return of between 6 and 7 percent. He also has significant investments in commercial real estate.

"He isn't speculating on individual stocks. He isn't a property speculator," said Dale Neugebauer, the congressman's chief of staff. "The properties are usually mature real estate with established renters and a predictable rate of return."

Issa appeared to lose about $90 million in 2008, but his portfolio regained an estimated $197 million within two years of the financial meltdown. The rises were fueled by his commercial real estate ventures in San Diego and successful investments in mutual funds, bonds and other securities.

For Issa, staying patient and holding assets during the downturn paid off.

"Mr. Issa was fortunate enough to be very successful before he was elected to Congress," Neugebauer said.

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