Politics & Policy

Nancy Pelosi’s Life in the 0.1 Percent

Pelosi with husband Paul at the White House in 2011. (Yuri Gripas/AFP/Getty)

Nancy Pelosi may be one of the most liberal members of the U.S. House, where she runs the Democratic caucus, railing against income inequality and the avarice of the 1 percent. But she also happens to be one of the body’s wealthiest members: In Washington, she lives in a multimillion-dollar Georgetown condo; she owns a 16-acre vineyard in Napa Valley and a 3,700 square-foot house in San Francisco’s tony Pacific Heights, according to her May 2015 financial disclosure statements.

Her May 2015 financial-disclosure statements,showing income that places her in the top one-tenth of the 1 percent of Americans, may surprise some in light of the concern she’s expressed about income equality and the distribution of wealth.

“We’re talking about addressing the disparity in our country of income, where the wealthy people continue to get wealthier,” Pelosi said in 2010 at a United Steelworkers’ event. “That disparity is not just about wages alone,” she added. “That disparity is about ownership and equity. It’s all about fairness in our country.”

But even as she’s publicly bemoaned the rich getting richer, Pelosi’s fortune has grown.

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Though financial-disclosure forms list only ranges of assets and liabilities, Pelosi listed between $42.4 million and $199.5 million in assets in 2013, which was enough for Bloomberg Business to deem her the richest member of House leadership from either party. By 2014, she and her husband, investment banker Paul Pelosi, were doing even better: She reported between $43.4 million and $202 million in assets. (Pelosi’s husband, in fact, has done so well that he tried the quixotic hobby of investing in an alternative to the National Football League, losing between $100,000 and $1 million in 2014.)

Pelosi listed between $42.4 million and $199.5 million in assets in 2013, which was enough to make her the richest member of House leadership from either party.

But the financial disclosures don’t just show substantial assets – the Pelosis have gone into lots of debt, too. Pelosi and her husband are currently paying mortgages on seven properties, totaling between approximately $9.8 million and $46.5 million in 2014, likely accruing big tax savings in the process. The couple also opened home-equity lines of credit on four of these properties, adding between approximately $1.7 million and $6.5 million to their liabilities. 

Pelosi’s picturesque vineyard in St. Helena, a town just northwest of Napa, Calif., is worth between $5 million and $25 million, according to the disclosure. The property isn’t terribly profitable, though: It yielded somewhere between $5,000 and $15,000 in profits for the Pelosis in 2014.

Her condo in Washington’s upscale Georgetown neighborhood costs between $1 million and $5 million, and the four-bedroom house in San Francisco is estimated to be worth about $7.5 million, according to the realty website Zillow. The mortgages would be crippling to many of the taxpayers Pelosi represents, but the high-rolling couple can afford it. 

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In addition to the three residential properties, the Pelosis earned between approximately $230,000 and $2.1 million renting out four properties they are currently paying mortgages on in Napa, San Francisco, and Norden, Calif.

The Pelosis’ financial-disclosure documents, along with periodic transaction reports released later, reported between approximately $2.1 million and $11.8 million in net income last year (the disclosures generally cover just unearned income, not earned income such as salaries). It’s a good life for a civil servant. The median household income in California, for comparison, was $57,688 in 2013, according to state census data.

Pelosi’s high-roller status hasn’t attracted nearly as much attention as, say, Senator Marco Rubio’s finances, recently the subject of breathless reporting by the New York Times. The Times fretted, for instance, that Rubio had purchased an $80,000 speedboat after earning $800,000 to write a book about his childhood, calling the purchase “extravagant.” The Grey Lady also reported that Rubio purchased three homes over the course of two years, one of which cost $550,000. According to the article, this house “stood out” from the others in Rubio’s West Miami neighborhood. (Even in San Francisco, surely, a $7.5 million house stands out.)

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Harold Evensky, a financial adviser who reviewed Rubio’s disclosures at the request of the Times (the Times did not disclose in its reporting that Evensky was also an Obama donor), called the GOP candidate’s accumulation of debt “staggering.” That might be just as apt a term for Pelosi’s own assets and liabilities.

In 2012, the media and Democrats expressed dismay at the sheer wealth of Republicans’ presidential nominee, Mitt Romney. If they’re worried about plutocrats in politics, though, they should acknowledge they have one heading up their own caucus.

— Brooke Rogers is an intern at National Review.