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Senate's presidential hopefuls have deep pockets, reports show

Associated Press
Published June 15, 2005

WASHINGTON - Senators considering a White House run are a well-heeled lot.

Republican leader Bill Frist, the Tennessee heart surgeon whose father founded a hospital chain, has blind trusts valued between $7-million and $35-million, a significant chunk of cash if he opts to use some of his finances to start a 2008 presidential bid.

Similarly, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., received nearly $2.4-million in book royalties from her memoirs while receiving income from a blind trust valued at $5-million to $25-million that she holds jointly with her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

Details about senators' monetary gains, losses, overseas travel, exotic gifts - even a Hollywood turn - are contained in the annual financial disclosure forms that provide a glimpse into lawmakers' personal lives and bank statements.

Overall, the Senate lived up to its reputation as the millionaires' club, with several potential presidential candidates clearly in the top tax brackets.

"It sounds like we're not seeing any downturn in the fortunes of senators. They continue to do well," said Larry Noble, head of the campaign-finance watchdog Center for Responsive Politics.

Several senators have their wives to thank for any bottom-line increase in the family checkbook.

Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana, a potential Democratic presidential candidate, derived the bulk of his personal income from his Senate salary of $158,100. His wife Susan's business dealings overshadowed that income.

A former pharmaceutical attorney at Eli Lilly, Susan Bayh listed salary payments of more than $1,000 from 10 corporations where she serves on the board of directors.

The companies, including Anthem Inc., Dyax Corp. and E-Trade Financial Corp., offered her stock or stock options worth as much as $250,000. She also cashed in a sizable amount of her accumulated holdings, including two sales of stock in Esperion Therapeutics on Feb. 23, 2004, worth more than $1-million and $50,001-$100,000, respectively, as well as a stock sale with Anthem Inc. valued at more than $1-million.

Franki Roberts, wife of Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Tricia Lott, wife of Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., bought and sold stocks through their Meager Means Investment Club. Roberts valued her 60 stocks at $70,000-$879,000.

Another possible Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, has a blind trust worth $1-million-$5 million as well as bank accounts, stock and a 335-acre grain farm in Kansas. The farm generated $7,530 in income last year.

Democratic Sen. John Kerry, the unsuccessful 2004 presidential candidate who also may make another run, listed four trusts valued at $430,000-$2.56 million as well as page after page of his wife's holdings.

Teresa Heinz's wealth is estimated at more than $500-million.

Kerry's Massachusetts colleague, Sen. Edward Kennedy, reported that he bought the Hyannisport home of his brother, former President John F. Kennedy. The senator paid $3-million to his niece, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, and her husband.

[Last modified June 15, 2005, 00:44:10]

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