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Term Limits is the answer

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Having made her millions, a congresswoman will retire

JUL 10, 2023

Having made her millions, a congresswoman will retire
JUL 10, 2023

Democrat Grace Napolitano of California announced this weekend that she will retire when this term ends in January 2025. She will be 88. That you can retire from Congress reflects an electorate that pays scant attention to those who represent them in Washington, as shown by the 98% re-election rate in the House.

Grace went from being poor when she entered Congress after the 1998 election to a net worth of over $5 million. This coincided with the national debt rising from under $6 trillion when she arrived to more than $32 trillion today. Congress has overspent its annual allocation of taxes by more than $1 trillion a year during her tenure.

She got rich. The nation went broke. As Jerry Reed might sing, she got the gold mine; we got the shaft.

While many are the members of Congress whose wealth explodes while they oversee federal spending and regulate the companies they invest in, Grace was exceptionally good at increasing her net worth. She did so well, she could be a Biden.

Open Secrets, which keeps tabs on political money, did a story on congressional personal wealth in 2018.

The story said, “Not all politicians come into office wealthy — but many leave that way. Here are the top 10 winners of the past decade.”

Leading the league was Grace Napolitano, whose net worth rose from $8,000 in 2008 to $913,004 10 years later — an 11,312.6% increase.

In the five years since, she has quintupled that money as her net worth has hit $5 million. Her stick-to-itness is admirable.

Being on the Natural Resources Committee and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee helped because they dole out billions with little oversight from the press or the public. Those assignments are donor magnets.

The Open Secrets file on her reported 79% of the cash she raised over the years came from PACs and 20% came from large donors. She did not work for the people of California; she often worked against their interests as she pleased those who made her wealthy.

Grace raised a little more than a million bucks in her first campaign, which was her average for her first three campaigns when she was the most vulnerable to defeat.

But then an odd thing happened. Her fund-raising grew rapidly as her need for campaign cash fell. As Telly Savalas said of the Players Club Gold Card, incumbency has its privileges.