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Senator Moneybags

The Senate's leaders are far wealthier than most Americans, but they are men of modest means compared with some of their rank-and-file colleagues, financial records revealed Friday.

Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., and Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., both own rental property, mutual funds and stocks worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. But some of their junior colleagues have financial portfolios nearing $100 million.

In an annual ritual that reveals where lawmakers invest their assets and earn any non-congressional income, financial disclosure forms are publicly released and then scrutinized by reporters. The Senate reports are available Friday, while the House disclosures will be out next Wednesday.

Since congressional rules do not require net worth statements, the value of holdings and non-congressional income is only expressed in broad ranges.

Compared with most Americans, a lawmaker's income is large. The rank-and-file salary is $136,700, with floor leaders earning $151,800 and the speaker of the House $175,400.

For some, their government salary is only a fraction of their income. Among the wealthiest senators are John D. Rockefeller IV, D-W.Va., Herb Kohl, D-Wis., Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., and Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J.

Many lawmakers have working spouses, most invest in stocks and mutual funds, and a substantial number have real estate holdings, some of them earning rental income.

Daschle listed a portfolio of two-dozen mutual funds, but only one reached the $50,001 to $100,000 range in 1998. The others were in the $15,001-$50,000 category or the lower $1,001-$15,000 range.

The Democratic leader, whose wife is a lobbyist, also owns two rental apartments in Washington's Virginia suburbs and one in Sioux Falls, S.D., each worth between $50,001 and $100,000 and producing $5,001-$15,000 in income.

Lott's major assets include a one-half partnership in six rental apartments in Mississippi worth with a combined value of $50,001-$100,000, three investment funds worth between $1,001 and $15,000 and 161 unimproved acres in his home state worth between $50,001 and $100,000. Most of the family assets are in Lott's wife's name and all were valued at $50,000 and under.

In contrast to the leaders' holdings, Lautenberg is still reaping huge financial rewards from Automatic Data Processing, the payroll services company he co-founded. His shares in ADP are worth between $5 million and $25 million.

He has a blind trust valued between $5 million and $25 million and a second valued between $1 million and $5 million. Together, they produced income of more than $5 million in 1998.

Sen. Slade Gorton, R-Wash., also has a blind trust, valued between $250,001 and $500,000. His holdings in Slade Gorton & Co., a wholesale fish packer, are valued between $1 million and $5 million.

But even Lautenberg's fortune pales next to Rockefeller's three blind trusts - one worth more than $50 million, another valued between $25 illion and $50 million and a third between $5 million and $25 million. The most valuable trust earned between $1,000,001 and $5 million.

Among freshmen, Sen. Peter Fitzgerald, R-Ill. listed holdings between $25.6 million and $51.5 million. The vast majority is in Bank of Montreal stock he inherited after his father sold his suburban Chicago banking empire.

Another first-year senator, former Rep. and Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning, R-Ky., earned $34,884 from sports shows and other memorabilia activities. Bunning received a waiver to accept his trip from Major League Baseball to Cooperstown last July for the annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Retiring Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, D-N.Y., barely made enough for a few expensive Washington dinners with his royalties on four scholarly books. "Pandemonium" - a book about the relations of ethnic groups - brought in $195. The other three earned $151, $123 and $75.

By Larry Margasak

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