For years, Roll Call has ranked the 50 richest members of Congress based on their required annual personal financial disclosure forms. The ranking shows that there are lots of multimillionaires on Capitol Hill. Topping the current list is Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, with a net worth of more than $300 million. McCaul's wealth increased significantly in 2010 when he disclosed that his wife, Linda McCaul, the daughter of Clear Channel Communications founder and CEO Lowry Mays, had received "certain assets" as gifts from her parents.
But "legislators range from the super-rich to the deep-in-debt, from inherited wealth to married wealth to no wealth at all," according to an examination of congressional finances by The Washington Post. "You would find that, contrary to many popular perceptions, lawmakers don't get rich by merely being in Congress."
Ironically, Jackson and his father in 1999 co-authored a book on personal finance, "It's About the Money!: How You Can Get Out of Debt, Build Wealth, and Achieve Your Financial Dreams." "Many of our churches breed material needs, as do many of our public schools, with peer pressure to buy expensive clothing," the Jacksons wrote.
I was critical of the portions of the book in which the Jacksons found it necessary to chide blacks for what they characterize as shameless spending. The recent charges against Jesse Jackson Jr. said he used credit cards issued to his campaign to make purchases for personal expenses. And then he directed that funds from the campaign be used to pay the credit cards bills.
At least the Jacksons are showing remorse. Although Jackson took a medical leave last summer for treatment of bipolar disorder, his statement following the federal charges indicated a man blaming not his illness but bad judgment.