When it comes to personal finances, there’s wealthy and then there’s rich. An analysis of the personal financial disclosures in one of Georgia’s two U.S. Senate races this year explains the difference.
To run for Senate, candidates are required to disclose details about their personal holdings, including salaries, real estate and investments, and any liabilities. While specific dollar figures aren’t required (except for salaries), candidates must indicate a dollar-figure range that tells a fair amount about how much they have, who they owe and where their possible conflicts of interest may lie.
Three prominent Democrats are vying to take on incumbent Republican Senator David Perdue, a former CEO whose personal holdings makes him one of the wealthier members of Congress.
According to an AJC analysis of his most recent filing, Perdue’s net worth is somewhere between $14.9 million and $42.6 million. The fuzzy math is due to Senate reporting requirements that allow candidates to report a value range for each individual holding, like stocks and bonds, and Perdue has a lot of both.
About 80% of Perdue’s estimated wealth lies in his investments in stocks, bonds and mutual funds. And those holdings are broadly based in dozens of companies from many different economic sectors. The senator’s largest stock holding is in Atlanta-based data marketing firm Cardlytics. Prior to running for office, Perdue served on the Cardlytics board and has between $1 million and $5 million in stock with the company.
Perdue spokeswoman Casey Black, who refers to her boss as “the self-made son of two public school teachers,” said the senator is not actively managing his portfolio.
“In order to comply with current law and go above and beyond basic Senate ethics requirements, the senator is not involved in any day-to-day investment decisions and uses an outside financial advisor to manage all assets and publicly report every transaction in a timely fashion,” she said.
Maintaining that distance is important for avoiding conflicts of interest. Perdue serves on the Armed Services, Banking, Budget and Foreign Relations committees.
The challenger most like Perdue from a wealth perspective is Jon Ossoff, who has reported a net worth of between $2.3 million and $8.6 million. While a large chuck of that net worth is tied up in the value of his documentary film company (which he estimates to be worth between $1 million and $5 million), Ossoff also reported a significant stock portfolio valued between $753,000 and $1.7 million.
While Ossoff reported owning shares of a number of familiar companies — Home Depot, Coca-Cola, Boeing and Kraft Heinz — much of his investment wealth is in Apple stock, which he valued at between $500,000 and $1 million.
Democrat Sarah Riggs Amico, who ran for lieutenant governor in 2018, reported the largest salary of the field. Amico received a $1 million salary as head of Jack Cooper Ventures, a Kennesaw-based car hauling business. That paycheck is a large part of her estimated net worth, which was reported as between $1.6 and $3 million.
Amico’s campaign said that financial picture has changed since the filing. Last year, Amico’s company filed for bankruptcy protection to renegotiate debt largely related to the firm’s pension fund. The firm has since emerged from bankruptcy. She also has stepped down from the firm to concentrate on running for office.
Democrat and former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson reported a net worth of between $2 million and $4.7 million. Tomlinson and her husband are both attorneys and much of their wealth is tied up in mutual funds that are part of their retirement savings. They also own a half-dozen rental homes with a reported value of up to $1.2 million in total.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.