How the Richest Member of Congress Got That Way

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Michael McCaul knows how to pick 'em. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Even as the economy sputtered in 2010, Texas congressman Michael McCaul saw his net worth skyrocket to $292.21 million — 300 percent over where it stood in 2009 — vaulting him to the top of Roll Call's annual list of the wealthiest members of Congress. Does this have something to do with that "Texas miracle" we keep hearing about? Nope! It has something to do with the miracle of having a very rich wife:


The lion’s share of McCaul’s wealth is held by his wife, Linda McCaul, the daughter of Clear Channel Communications CEO and founder Lowry Mays, and his dramatic rise in net worth appears to be the product of generational wealth transfer.

A footnote to McCaul’s newest report notes that “certain assets” owned by his spouse were “acquired via a gift from spouse’s parents.” The accounts were not identified.

On his financial disclosure, McCaul lists a new asset owned by his wife, the Linda McCaul Descendant Trusts, valued at more than $50 million. According to his report, that trust is invested in several other family partnerships.

McCaul likewise added two trusts under the ownership of his dependent children, including one trust valued at $25 million to $50 million and another at $1 million to $5 million.

Another of Linda McCaul’s investment accounts also appears to double in value, moving from a minimum worth of $25 million to a minimum of $50 million.

Due to this influx of spousal wealth, McCaul unseated last year's richest member of Congress, John Kerry — the John Kerry married to Teresa Heinz Kerry of the ketchup fortune. We're beginning to see a pattern here.

McCaul Leaps to Top of 50 Richest Members of Congress [Roll Call]