Understanding Congressman Rehberg's claims that he's 'land rich', 'cash poor' and 'struggling like everyone else'

Understanding Congressman Rehberg's claims that he's 'land rich', 'cash poor' and 'struggling like everyone else'


Last week millionaire Congressman Rehberg told the Missoula City Club that he’s ‘land rich, ‘cash poor’, and ‘struggling like everyone else’. Congressman Rehberg is estimated to be worth between $6.5 million and $56 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, so his claims are confusing at best.

To help make sense of millionaire Congressman Rehberg’s assertions that he’s ‘land rich’, ‘cash poor’, and ‘struggling like everyone else’, here’s a glossary of terms to help decode his comments to constituents last week:

‘Land Rich’

Congressman Rehberg means that he owns the Billings Rims. Rehberg has said, "I have the joy and the heartache of owning the first ranch outside the city of Billings. I actually own the rims all over the city. So when you're driving up Shiloh Road, you are looking at my Rims."

Congressman Rehberg expects to collect a large windfall from his lawsuit against firefighters, who he says failed to protect his multi-million dollar property.

‘Cash Poor’

Besides enjoying wealth that makes him the 23rd richest member of Congress, Rehberg has added to his Congressional paycheck (now worth $174,000) by voting himself a pay raise FIVE TIMES:

  • By $3,300 in 2006. (H RES 865, Vote #261, 6/13/06; Congressional Research Service, Salaries for Members of Congress: Congressional Votes). This pay raise was later blocked by the Democratic Congress in 2007.
  • By $3,100 in 2005.  HR 342, Vote #327, 6/28/05)
  • By $4,000 in 2004. (H Res 770, Vote #451, 9/14/04)
  • By $3,400 in 2003.  (H. Res. 351, Vote #463, 9/4/03)
  • By $4,700 in 2002. (H. Res. 488, Vote #322, 7/18/02)

‘Struggling like everyone else’

Congressman Rehberg enjoys generous government-funded health benefits, which have come to $87,000 over the course of his career in Congress [Office of Personnel Management, Rates for Office of Personnel Management, Rate Information for Blue Cross and Blue Shield Service Benefit Plan, 2001-2011]. 

Congressman Rehberg also struggles with a Sikorsky Schweizer 300 CBI Personal Helicopter, which he says “Gives me an opportunity if I’m in a hurry to jump in and jump out.” [Roll Call, 1/24/07]

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