Goldman Sachs, the most notorious investment bank on Wall Street, has two things in common with the legislators with significant investments in the company: wealth and power.

According to research by the Center for Responsive Politics, 19 current members of Congress reported holdings in Goldman Sachs during 2010. Whether by coincidence or not, most of these 19 Goldman Sachs investors in Congress are more powerful or more wealthy than their peers, or both.

Nine of them sit on either the most powerful committee in their chamber or committees charged with regulating the Wall Street giant. Moreover, seven of them are among the 25 wealthiest members of their respective chambers, according to the Center’s research.

And of the six lawmakers who fall into neither category, two are the most influential Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives: House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.).

Altogether, the 19 had at least $480,000 and as much as $1.1 million invested in Goldman Sachs in 2010, the most recent year personal finance data are available. That’s an average of about $812,900 for these 19 lawmakers’ holdings combined.

Lawmakers are only required to report their personal assets and liabilities in broad ranges, meaning it’s impossible to know the precise value of these holdings. The Center uses the minimum and maximum values listed on the filings to calculate an average value for each asset and liability.

But these financial interests are not a one-way street: Goldman Sachs employees and its political action committee have contributed about $124,000, combined, to a dozen of the lawmakers who reported holdings in the company in 2010, according to the Center’s research. This includes all money given during the 2010 election cycle and thus far in 2011.


The congressional Goldman Sachs investors wield considerable influence in both chambers, either through powerful committees, leadership positions or committee assigned to overseeing Goldman and the big-money interests on Wall Street.
In the leadership category are names such as Boehner and Cantor, each of whom has an average $32,500 invested in Goldman.

Goldman Sachs’ employees, meanwhile, have also contributed heavily to Boehner and Cantor.

Boehner has received $29,500, and Cantor $48,000, from them since 2009, according to the Center’s research.

Other Goldman investors with this kind of power include two members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, better known as the debt supercommittee.

The first, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), reported $1,177 invested in Goldman in 2010, and, as minority whip, is the second highest ranking Republican in the Senate.

And not only is Kyl a member of the supercommittee and party leadership, he also sits on the Senate Finance Committee, which regulates Goldman Sachs and its peers on Wall Street.

Another one of Kyl’s colleagues on the supercommittee, Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), is also a Goldman investor.

Upton had an average of $8,000 invested in the company in 2010, according to the Center’s research.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), is another influential Goldman shareholder in Congress.

Ryan sits on two very important House committees: the Budget Committee, which he chairs, and the Ways and Means Committee.

Ryan reported an average of $8,000 invested in Goldman and has received $5,800 from the company’s employees so far this year after receiving $10,000 from them during the 2010 cycle, according to the Center’s research.

One of Goldman Sachs’ most valuable congressional investors is Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas), whose average of $550,000 in investments in the company is far and away the most in Congress.

Additionally Neugebauer sits on the House Financial Services Committee, which oversees Wall Street and the securities and investment industry of which Goldman is a part.

That also helps explain the $9,500 Goldman Sachs employees have contributed to Neugebauer since January 2009 through the company’s political action committee.

Rep. Gary Peters (R-Mich.) is another Goldman Sachs investor on the Financial Services committee. He has an average of $8,000 invested and has received $4,500 from the company this year from its PAC.


The Goldman Sachs investors in Congress aren’t just influential, many are also among the wealthiest of their peers.

The fifth wealthiest member of Congress, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), was invested in Goldman in 2010.

Warner’s average net worth is an estimated $192.7 million. He has between $0 and $1,000 invested in Goldman Sachs, a company whose employees have given him $3,000 since January 2009.

Rep. Vernon Buchanon (R-Fla.), the eighth richest member of Congress and fifth richest member of the House, had an average $32,500 invested in Goldman in 2010. Buchanon also sits on the House Ways and Means Committee.

Another wealthy member of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Richard Berg (R-N.D.), is also a Goldman investor.

Berg had $3,026 invested in Goldman in 2010 and is worth $33.5 million, making him the 14th wealthiest House member.

Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) is a Goldman investor and is also among the 25 wealthiest members of the House.

Sensenbrenner, who is worth an estimated $18.7 million, had $16,816 invested in Goldman in 2010.

Other wealthy members of Congress invested in Goldman include Sens. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).

Here is a table showing these 19 lawmakers, along with the average amounts of their 2010 Goldman Sachs holdings and the amount of campaign contributions they’ve received from Goldman Sachs employees or the corporate PAC since January 2009:

Name Average Investment Value Amount Received 2009-2011
Richard Berg $3,026 $5,000
Jeff Bingaman $8,000.50 $3,000
John Boehner $32,500.50 $29,500
Vernon Buchanon $32,500.50 $2,500
Larry Bucshon $8,000.50  $0
Eric Cantor $32,500.50 $48,150
Jack Kingston $8,239  $0
Jon Kyl $1,177  $0
Claire McCaskill $500  $0
Ben Nelson $500 $1,235
Randy Neugebauer $550,001 $9,500
Gary Peters $8,000.50 $4,500
Phil Roe $21,602  $0
Steven Rothman $8,000.50 $500
Paul Ryan $8,000.50 $15,800
James Sensenbrenner Jr. $16,816  $0
Fred Upton $8,000.50  $0
Mark Warner $500 $3,000
Sheldon Whitehouse $65,001 $1,000
Total $812,866.50 $123,685

See the more detailed information on members of Congress and their Goldman Sachs investments here.

Center for Responsive Politics senior researcher Dan Auble contributed to this report.

Photo: By Keith Allison via his Flickr photostream. Used with Creative Commons 2.0 License.Used with Creative Commons 2.0 License.
Seth Cline

Seth Cline

Seth Cline joined the Center for Responsive Politics in September 2011 after graduating from the University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication in May. He previously worked as an editorial intern at Forbes, writing for its Leadership section and Corporate Responsibility Blog, and at The Daily Tar Heel, where he served as lead elections reporter in 2010.