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Cardin, Bartlett are richest Md. lawmakers in D.C.

Democratic Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin and Republican Rep. Roscoe Bartlett remain the wealthiest members of the Maryland congressional delegation, according to new financial disclosure reports made public Wednesday.

Bartlett, who valued his assets at more than $1.8 million, supplemented his $174,000 congressional salary last year with between $71,000 and $167,500 in rental income from tenants of properties he owns in Maryland and Tennessee.

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Included was between $50,000 and $100,000 from occupants of 14 apartments in a converted barn and silo that burned last month on his 104-acre Frederick farm. The American Red Cross had to assist almost two dozen residents left homeless by the blaze. The May 6 fire caused an estimated $250,000 damage to the structure, which did not have a sprinkler system.

Cardin reported assets of between $1.38 million and $3.4 million, but as with all members of Congress, those figures provide only a partial picture of his holdings. Senators and congressmen are not required to disclose the value of their homes, for example. And the disclosure forms they created permit them to value most assets, debts and income within broad dollar ranges, rather than in precise amounts.

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Bartlett and Cardin were among four Maryland lawmakers who drew public pensions from previous government jobs in addition to their current salary. Cardin, a former state House speaker, received $5,368; Bartlett got $15,000 from the state retirement system; Rep. Steny Hoyer padded his $193,400 salary as House Majority leader with $20,481 in pension payments from his dozen years in the Maryland Senate. Democratic Rep. C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger boosted his congressional pay with $88,607 in pension checks from government service in Baltimore County.

Ruppersberger, another Marylander with assets of more than a million dollars, again led the state's congressional delegation in reported earnings. His income, including salary, pension and investments, exceeded $330,000 and may have topped $400,000; he again reported receiving between $50,000 and $100,000 from Rupp and Associates, his Timonium debt collection agency.

At the other end of the wealth scale, Rep. Donna Edwards, a Prince George's County Democrat, reported assets of between $19,000 and $112,000 down from $53,000 to $147,000 in 2008.

Edwards was one of four Marylanders who reported foreign travel sponsored by an outside group, a week-long trip to Israel, paid for by the New America Foundation, which included stops in Gaza and the West Bank.

The Mideast was also the destination for Hoyer and fellow Democratic Rep. Frank Kratovil, who took an eight-day trip to Israel paid for by an arm of a pro-Israel lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Cardin and his wife, Myrna, took an eight-day trip to Croatia for a program sponsored by the Aspen Institute, which paid for their airfare, ground transportation, meals and lodging.

The latest disclosure reports, which cover calendar 2009, are the last before this fall's mid-term elections.

They show no major changes from the 2008 reports, which reflected the impact of the stock market crash.

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Maryland lawmakers who invest in equities have fairly diversified portfolios that are heavy on mutual funds and contain relatively few individual stocks. No one, for example, reported holding BP shares.


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