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Potential Romney Running Mates in Congress Underwater

Financial disclosure forms show several members of Congress have mortgages bigger than their assets.

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Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., talks to guests during the Hispanic Leadership Network in Miami, Friday, Jan. 27, 2012. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)(AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

If Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney plucks his running mate from the halls of Congress, he may end up with a partner who owes more than he or she is worth, according to financial disclosure forms released by the House and Senate on Thursday.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, often discussed as a potential vice presidential candidate, owes more in mortgages and student loans than his assets in retirement funds, bank accounts, a rental property and college savings accounts. Likewise, South Dakota Sen. John Thune and New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, reported liabilities that could be higher than their maximum assets. The same was true for Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Romney's newly appointed liaison to Republicans in the House.

 

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, one of Romney’s strongest possibilities, is the rare multi-millionaire in Congress presumed to be on the GOP vice presidential short list. The Associated Press estimated his assets at between $7 and $20 million, with liabilities of 750,000 to $1.5 million. The other financially secure potential running mate is Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, whose reported $1.2 million net worth (as calculated by The Hill newspaper) makes him one of the wealthier members Romney’s team may be considering.

Both Rubio and McMorris Rodgers have liabilities ranging from several hundred thousand dollars to over $1 million. Rubio owes between $100,000 and $250,000 on student loans from Sallie Mae, the quasi-governmental mortgage lender. Two home loans – from Chase and U.S. Century banks – and a mortgage on a rental property give him an overall negative net worth, with liabilities between $550,000 and $1.25 million.

McMorris Rodgers also has an outstanding student loan, although she owes only $10,000 to $15,000 to a company called ACS. Her real liabilities come from three Wells Fargo mortgages on her personal residences in Spokane, Wash., and Washington, D.C., as well as a property in San Diego, Calif. But McMorris Rodgers has assets of at least $1.1 million, largely from rental properties in Washington and San Diego, meaning she is unlikely to be in the red. Rubio, on the other hand, definitely has a negative net worth because his lowest possible liability, $550,000, is higher than his maximum possible asset of $482,000.

 

Members of Congress are required to disclose their financial records on an annual basis, but they only must report a range, not exact amounts, of their assets and liabilities.

New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, another woman who has frequently campaigned with Romney, has assets worth between $622,000 and $1.5 million, but liabilities of $400,000 to $880,000. Sen. John Thune similarly has assets worth between $157,000 and $533,000, but liabilities of $200,000 to $500,000.

Portman, the wealthiest of the potential vice presidential picks in Congress, has a mortgage on his Cincinnati residence valued at $250,000 to $500,000, as well as a PNC Bank credit line worth from $500,000 and $1 million. Ryan, the other possible multi-millionaire, has just one mortgage of $250,000 to $500,000 on his personal residence in Janesville, Wis.

The AP analysis showed that Rubio, Thune, Ayotte and Ryan all have college savings accounts for their children. Portman has set up a trust fund for his children worth $925,000 to $2.2 million.

 
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