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Local politics

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at a glance
The minimum net worth of Sens. Dan Coats and Joe Donnelly and Rep. Marlin Stutzman, based on the combination of minimum assets and unearned income minus minimum liabilities:
Coats…$2.2 million
Donnelly…$443,200
Stutzman…$6,500
Source: Congressional public financial disclosure database

Net worth reports telling, surprising

– Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd, is part-owner of a bridal shop in Virginia.

The financial holdings of Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., include undeveloped real estate in Las Vegas and Atlanta and a radio station in Berlin.

Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., has 11 financial assets, compared with 37 for Coats and 21 for Stutzman.

Those are among the details included in public financial disclosure reports filed this year by the Indiana congressmen.

Finances are reported in broad ranges, making it hard to get a good grasp on a lawmaker’s wealth or lack thereof. The reports do not include congressional salaries of $174,000 a year.

The Washington newspaper Roll Call recently published a list of the 50 richest members of Congress. Nobody in the Indiana congressional delegation made the list, which starts at a minimum net worth of $6.67 million, based on minimum assets and liabilities.

Coats’ report shows he had assets and unearned income last year of between nearly $2.97 million and $6.97 million, much of it in mutual funds, stocks, cash, annuities, life insurance and real estate investments.

He has a stake worth between $1,000 and $15,000 in Radio Paradiso of Berlin, a Christian and easy-listening music station. Coats is a former U.S. ambassador to Germany.

Coats’ liabilities, for mortgages on two homes in Virginia, total between $750,000 and $1.5 million. Coats’ primary residence is a home he and his wife rent in Indianapolis.

Donnelly’s assets and unearned income total between $708,000 and $1.61 million, mostly from retirement accounts and a second home in Indiana.

His liabilities range from $265,000 to $550,000, the bulk of it for a mortgage on his house in Michigan City. His primary residence is in Granger, near South Bend.

Donnelly’s wife, Jill, works for the University of Notre Dame. Donnelly reported her salary as more than $1,000. Donnelly’s staff said he reported his unpaid position as an officer of the defunct Marking Solutions, a printing and rubber stamp business, because the Mishawaka company is still registered with the Indiana secretary of state.

Stutzman reported assets and unearned income of between $836,000 and $2.77 million. The sum included many retirement accounts, between $1,000 and $15,000 worth of gold and a family farm worth between $500,000 and $1 million. The farm produced between $120,000 and roughly $1 million in income in 2012, including between $5,000 and $15,000 in federal subsidies.

Stutzman also owns half of Ava Laurénne, a bridal shop in Fredericksburg, Va. The stake is worth between $100,000 and $250,000, and the business generated $2,500 to $5,000 in income for him last year.

Stutzman said in an interview that he and his wife, Christy, are financial backers in the venture operated by Christy’s sister, Wendy Rivera, and her husband, Gabe.

Wendy Rivera has worked a long time in the bridal industry, Stutzman said, and wanted to open her own store. Her husband is a former paid staff member for Stutzman’s campaign.

Stutzman said his wife Christy occasionally works at the bridal shop, an hour’s drive southwest of Washington. He reported her salary for 2012 as at least $1,000.

Rep. Stutzman said the business partners have looked at possibly opening a store in or near Fort Wayne.

“I do know more about bridal gowns than I ever thought I would in my life,” he said.

Stutzman’s liabilities range from $830,000 to $1.8 million. They include between $150,000 and $350,000 for farm equipment and a Virginia home mortgage for between $500,000 and $1 million. Stutzman and his family live in Alexandria, Va., during the school year and in Howe, in LaGrange County, during summers, where his mortgage is between $100,000 and $250,000.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., topped Roll Call’s list of wealthiest federal lawmakers, with a minimum net worth exceeding $335 million. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, was No. 48, with a minimum net worth of $7.27 million.

Roll Call’s top 50 included 29 Republicans, 21 Democrats, 36 members of the House and 14 members of the Senate.

bfrancisco@jg.net

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