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Lawmakers' Finances, The Recession and Legislation Lawmakers' Finances, The Recession and Legislation

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Lawmakers' Finances, The Recession and Legislation

Many Americans' finances took a beating during the recent recession, but not so for the richest one-third of senators and representatives, whose net worth rose by 14 percent.

That's according to an ongoing Washington Post analysis of lawmakers and their finances, which also found that about 20 percent were worse off financially in 2010 than they were before the recession. (They also found that the disparity between Republicans and Democrats has virtually evaporated. In 2004, Republicans' estimated wealth was about 44 percent higher than that of Dems'.)

The Post also looked into the intersection of legislation and personal finances, finding that at least 73 lawmakers have pushed for legislation that could benefit industries or specific businesses they or family members were connected to. How can they do that? Well, members aren't barred from backing such bills as long as they aren't the only ones who would benefit from passage.

It should be noted that the analysis isn't a precise one. Members aren't required to disclose exact financial figures, but rather a range that can span millions of dollars. And members don't have to show how much their spouses make, either. The Post used the mid-point of such ranges to figure out if lawmakers' wealth declined or rose.

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