Four Michigan congressmen more than double their salaries in unearned income

September 07, 2021, 9:04 PM

From upper left and clockwise: Huizenga, Upton, Peters, Meijer.

Though their haircuts may suggest otherwise, some Michigan congressmen are worth a pretty penny, with at least four earning more than twice their $174,000 salaries in investments or side businesses last year, The Detroit News reports. 

Unearned income disclosures reviewed by the daily show that in 2020:

  • U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, brought in at least $752,000
  • Rep. Peter Meijer R-Grand Rapids Township, brought in at least $466,000 the year before he took office
  • Sen. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, brought in at least  $263,000
  • Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Holland, brought in at least $230,000
  • Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, brought in at least $128,600 (gender gap much?)

Though the surplus sums are certainly enviable, they also reflect a troubling conundrum:

Research has shown that economic background matters in terms of the policy priorities that people bring with them into elected office, said Nick Carnes, a political scientist at Duke University's Sanford School of Public Policy.

"When you’ve got people making this money without lifting a finger, there’s going to be a disconnect with voters," said Paul Seamus Ryan, vice president of policy and litigation for the good-government group Common Cause. "Because most Americans don’t live that way."

Michigan's money-making reps, however, hardly compare to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who sets the body's agenda and reported more than $66 million in unearned income and assets for last year.

Read more:  The Detroit News

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