Seth Cline writes at OpenSecrets Blog:
Their politics may differ. But both the Tea Party and the Occupy movement have laid claim to representing the interests of the middle class, whose economic frustrations helped spur the groups’ establishment and growth.
So which side’s congressional lawmakers come closest to embodying that wide swath of the U.S. population? Or, in Occupy terms, which side is closer to the 99 percent?
Neither the members of the House Tea Party Caucus nor those of the House Progressive Caucus — whose views most closely align with the Occupy Wall Street movement — are remotely middle class, according to an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics of congressional personal financial disclosure forms covering 2010, the most recently available data.
The members of the House Tea Party Caucus are especially wealthy, the Center’s research shows.
The median average net worth of a member of the House Tea Party Caucus was $1.8 million in 2010. (Financial disclosure forms require lawmakers to value their assets and liabilities only in ranges, so it’s impossible to know exactly how wealthy a particular elected official is. However, it’s possible to calculate an average net worth for each member of Congress.)
That’s significantly higher than the comparable number for the median House member: $755,000. It’s also more than 130 percent above the $774,280 average net worth of the median, non-Tea Party Caucus House Republican.
Furthermore, the caucus, a group of 60 House members founded by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), includes 33 millionaires and six members worth more than $20 million, according to the Center’s research. That means a member of the group is more likely to be a millionaire than the average Republican who isn’t in the caucus…
Read more here.