By Nick Hildebrand
Herald News Editor
3RD CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT —
U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly made at least $10 million last year selling off his stake in a family natural gas business, but even with that windfall he only moved up one spot on a list of wealthiest members of Congress.
Kelly is number 21 on the list put out by Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call, which estimated the Butler County Republican’s net worth at $14.95 million. Last year he was ranked number 22 on the same list.
The ranking is based on a financial disclosure form filed last month by Kelly that revealed, in broad strokes, the congressman’s income and assets. Most figures on the disclosure form, which lawmakers are required to file once a year, are reported in ranges instead of specific amounts, making it impossible to determine the true value of income, assets and liabilities.
Kelly’s namesake car dealership, which sells Chevrolets, Cadillacs, Hyundais and Kias, generated between $100,000 and $1 million in business income for the congressman, who also earned a $24,000 salary as the business’ president and general partner. He also reported rental income between $1 million and $5 million.
But most of Kelly’s 2011 income came from the sale of stock in two natural gas companies founded by his wife Victoria’s family. Listed on the form under the “assets and ‘unearned income’ ” section, Kelly and his wife’s sale of stock in two companies, Phillips Resources, Inc. and TWP Inc., both Warrendale, Pa., each garnered “over $5 million.” In the transactions section, which include any purchase or sales of “real property, stocks, bonds, commodities futures, or other securities” the stock sales value of each transaction is reported between $5 million and $25 million. Kelly sold the stock on July 5, 2011, but the deal had been in the works for months, his office told The Herald last year. ExxonMobil completed its purchase of the two companies for $1.7 billion that same month. Reports at the time tied the purchase to the oil giant’s entry into the Marcellus Shale market.
The stock sale came as Kelly faced criticism from activist and MSNBC host Al Sharpton, who suggested that Kelly’s holdings influenced his vote against scrapping federal subsidies for the oil industry. Kelly strongly disputed that point last year, saying his own financial interests played no role in his vote. Kelly has consistently voted in favor of legislation promoting domestic oil and gas exploration and been a strong critic of the Obama administration’s green energy agenda, which Kelly says is an example of government picking “winners and losers.”
The disclosure form also lists a variety of stock holdings, savings accounts and retirement accounts.
Kelly’s disclosure was filed in August. Most members of Congress filed in June, but Kelly’s spokesman said he sought an extension to make sure everything was reported correctly. The report, available online from the Office of the House Clerk, ran to more than 60 pages, largely because of a lengthy report detailing the activity of Victoria Kelly’s investment account, valued at more than $13 million. The disclosure form also indicates Kelly excluded details of a blind or excepted trust that the report said “need not be disclosed.”
The only liability Kelly reported was the mortgage on property on Pittsburgh Road in Butler, which the report indicated was between $1 million and $5 million.
Democrat Missa Eaton, who is running against Kelly, filed a similar personal financial disclosure in March. According to that form, Eaton earned $58,620 in 2011, when she was a psychology professor at Penn State Shenango. She reported investments in mutual funds and Coca Cola stock and retirement accounts. Eaton listed no liabilities.
The richest member of Congress, according to Roll Call’s list, is Rep. Michael McCaul. The Texas Republican’s net worth was at least $305 million.