As the leader of the Democratic party in the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi has fought against tax breaks for companies and higher-earning Americans, and has voted for economic stimulus packages intended to help the middle class.
But she’s amassed a large net worth despite only having worked in politics her entire life.
Nancy Pelosi Net Worth in 2018: $16 Million
According to Roll Call, Pelosi reported having a minimum of $32.9 million in assets, divided between investments and real estate, and a minimum of $17 million in liabilities. Much of this comes from her husband Paul Pelosi’s investment firm.
In 2010, more than 150 lawmakers earned money through investments outside of their Congressional salary, including Pelosi. However, Pelosi’s wealth has decreased over the years. In 2012, she lost almost a quarter of her wealth, according to The Hill, because of a rise in liabilities. Since 2012, her wealth has dropped even further, from $26.4 million to $16 million. Her wealth went up by $4 million in 2014, thanks to gains on California real estate and Facebook stock, but decreased in the years leading up to 2018.
Here’s what you need to know about Nancy Pelosi’s net worth and how she made her money:
1. Nancy Pelosi’s Salary Is $193,900
Nancy Pelosi’s salary is $193,900. Her status as Minority Leader grants her a slightly higher salary than she’d earn as a rank-and-file member.
The salary for a House or Senate member is $174,000. When she was Speaker of the House of Representatives she made $223,500. Under Article I, Section 6 of the United States Constitution, Congress is required to set its own pay. The last time the salary was increased was in January 2009, when Congress increased their salary by 2.8% to $174,000. Though the salary set for House members isn’t outlandish and Pelosi went unpaid before 1987, she has now been working in Congress for 30 years, so it’s added up over time.
Pelosi’s first job was as an intern for Senator Daniel Brewster, a Democratic senator from Maryland, in 1962. She’s worked in politics ever since. Pelosi and her husband moved to San Francisco in 1969, where she worked her way up and became the Democratic National Committee member from California. From there, she was eventually elected Chair of the California Democratic Party. Pelosi won a special election to the House of Representatives in 1987, defeating candidate Harriet Ross and snagging her first paid position. Since then, she’s represented California’s 12th congressional district, which includes most of San Francisco. She served as House Minority Whip in 2002, and House Minority Leader from 2003 to 2007. She was elected Speaker of the House in 2007, and became Democratic Leader in the House in 2010. She is the highest-ranking woman in Congressional history. In March 2018, she donated her speaker’s gavel and other items to the Smithsonian for Women’s History Month.
2. Most of Her Worth Comes From Investments Through Her Husband’s Investment Firm
Paul Pelosi, Nancy Pelosi’s husband, owns and operates Financial Leasing Services, a venture capital investment firm and real estate firm in San Francisco. His company has invested in some big, very successful names, including Apple, Microsoft, AT&T, Comcast, Disney, and Facebook, according to the Los Angeles Times. He owned at least $1.5 million worth of Apple stock, $1 million in Disney stock, and half a million in Facebook stock in 2017.
In 2011, 60 Minutes aired a segment called “Pelosi Insider Trading.” The episode detailed the Pelosi’s involvement in initial public offerings while having inside information. In one example, the Pelosis profited from an IPO from Visa while regulations on credit card companies were being considered in Congress. This was not illegal at the time.
“… Insider trading on the stock market. If you are a member of Congress, those laws are deemed not to apply,” The Hoover Institution’s Peter Schweizer told Newsmax. “The fact is, if you sit on a healthcare committee and you know that Medicare, for example, is — is considering not reimbursing for a certain drug that’s market moving information. And if you can trade stock on — off of that information and do so legally, that’s a great profit making opportunity. And that sort of behavior goes on.”
The Pelosis participated in six IPOs, according to 60 Minutes. In 2012, Congress passed the STOCK Act, which stopped members of Congress from insider trading.
Aside from these investments, Paul Pelosi has stake in a number of real estate properties. Most of his investments are profitable, but in one bad investment he lost $10 million on the Mountain Lions, a team in the now non-existent United Football League.
3. Real Estate, Including a Winery In Napa Valley, Add to the Pelosis’ Worth
Aside from investments in companies, Financial Leasing Services invests in real estate, adding to the Pelosi’s worth. They own at least $23 million worth of real estate across ten properties, including vineyard worth at least $5 million.
Nine of the properties are under Paul Pelosi’s name, but Nancy Pelosi’s name is on the vineyard. The Napa estate is on Zinfandel Lane, and is worth between $5 million and $25 million, according to her financial disclosure form. The Pelosis reportedly earn between $5,000 and $15,000 from selling the grapes grown on the vineyard, though the LA Times said a spokesman for the Pelosis did not say who purchased the grapes. Permission from the Napa County Planning Commission to operate 5,000-gallon-a-year winery was granted in 2005, however, according to the LA Times, the Pelosis have not turned the property into a winery yet.
In 2016, the Pelosis rented out a home they own in Norden, California and eventually sold it for $1.53 million. They also sold real estate in Napa Valley for $600,000.
4. She’s Raised Hundreds of Millions for the Democratic Party
Pelosi has raised $593.8 million for the Democratic party since 2002, and $26 million in 2018 already. So far, none of her challengers for her senior position have raised more than $50,000. Though much of the money she’s raised comes from wealthy donors, Pelosi’s goal is to put more Democrats in Congress to help pass laws that benefit the poor and middle class.
She was the primary sponsor of seven bills that were enacted, including the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 and the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. The Economic Stimulus Act provided tax cuts to most households to help families and the economy recover from the Great Recession. The Housing and Economic Recovery Act guaranteed up to $300 billion in new fixed-rate mortgages for subprime borrowers, and came in response to the subprime mortgage crisis.
Pelosi was also influential in passing the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, securing votes from Democrats skeptical of the final version. Once passed, it became popular among Americans both Democratic and Republican. It wasn’t popular among Republican lawmakers though, and Pelosi fought hard to keep them from repealing the act. Republican lawmakers removed the essential benefit package and other parts of the bill, but it did not pass. In the C-Span video above, Pelosi called it a victory for Democrats but also for the people who would not lose insurance. She quoted Martin Luther King, Jr., who said “of all the forms of inequality, inequality in healthcare is probably the most inhumane, and can sometimes lead to death.”
In 2018, Pelosi called $1000 bonuses “crumbs,” drawing ridicule from Vice president Mike Pence, who said she was out of touch with the American public. Pelosi said they were taking her remarks out of context. Here are her original remarks on the $1000 bonuses:
In terms of the bonus that corporate America received versus the crumbs that they are giving to workers to kind of put the schmooze on is so pathetic. It’s so pathetic. And I would hope that with their big advantage of bringing money home at a very low rate, that they would invest in infrastructure and things. But our experience has been that they will do dividends. They will do stock buy-backs and things like that. I think it’s insignificant.
Later, she said, “This is unconscionable that they would have 83 percent of the benefits going to the top 1 percent.” Her spokesperson said that Pelosi was trying to make the point that these meager one-time bonuses to workers are absolutely dwarfed by the staggering windfalls corporations are pocketing for themselves.”
5. Like Many Wealthy Congresspeople, Her Net Worth Has Caused Controversy
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, in 2012 the median income for a congressperson was more than $1 million. At the same time, it costs more than $10 million on average to win an election, according to the Atlantic.
As one of the wealthier members of Congress, Pelosi’s worth has been a topic of controversy. During a town hall in Phoenix about tax cuts, Pelosi spoke out against “inordinate wealth,” but did not answer when someone in the audience asked how much she was worth.
In 2011, Politico wrote about how Congress’s net worth rose even during the bad economy. In that year, Nancy Pelosi’s net worth rose from $21 million to $35 million.
While there are lists of lawmakers and their net worth, most notably by Roll Call, it is hard to estimate exactly how much each member is worth, as they are only required to provide a range of value for assets and liabilities, not exact amounts. You can see an example of this in Pelosi’s financial disclosure form. Currently, Darrell Issa, a Republican representative from California, tops the list with a net worth of $283.3 million. At number three on the list, Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado is the richest Democrat. Pelosi comes in at number 30, down from previous years.