Thursday, June 16, 2011 | 2 a.m.
WASHINGTON — Wednesday was 2010 personal financial disclosure day on Capitol Hill: The day lawmakers roll back the curtain on where and how they’ve been investing their dollars and watching them shrink or grow.
It’s not possible to determine exactly how much a lawmaker is worth. The value of assets are presented in ranges so totals are a best guess within a range.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, for example, is worth a minimum of about $3.4 million, and a maximum of $10.4 million.
Sen. Dean Heller is in the same ballpark: He’s worth a minimum of $2.5 million and a maximum of $11 million.
Rep. Shelley Berkley, on the other hand, is worth more than both of them combined: a minimum of $6.1 million, but potentially as much as $23.9 million.
Rep. Joe Heck lands on the low end of the spectrum: his assets weigh in at least $378,000, and at most $895,000, plus a little more than $100,000 in salary from his various medical practices.
The statements reveal a few standout perks — like the $14,500 private jet ride Reid and his wife accepted from California Sen. Dianne Feinstein — but most of the items on the disclosures are about as exciting as reading the ingredients on a tube of toothpaste — mutual funds, municipal bonds, land titles, dialysis empires ... wait, what?
Yes, the 2010 personal disclosure reports may be one of the rare moments in Nevada politics that’s apparently devoid of drama, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few choice quirks. We’ve gone through and picked out the Most Fun or Interesting Thing each disclosure report has to offer, as a little window into the private world of your public figures.
• Harry Reid likes to invest in schools. No, no: really.
Most of Reid’s net worth — and all of the approximately $300,000 increase in that worth over last year — comes from his land holdings.
But Reid also has a good amount of stock in schools: somewhere from about half a million to a million dollars in various municipal bonds tied to school building and administrative ventures in Arizona, Utah, Alaska, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Texas.
Those investment don’t include Nevada, but they also weren’t his: They were, according to a letter presented with the forms, choices made at the suggestion of Reid’s Wells Fargo trust and fiduciary specialist Andrew Moll, who vouches for making those decisions without input from Reid or his wife, Landra. But we assume that politically, Reid would endorse such a pro-schools agenda.
• Shelley Berkley is a dialysis magnate. Berkley’s wealth is mostly found in investment accounts, and the various buildings and companies related to her husband’s medical practice. But she’s also got millions in what she itemizes as “dialysis units.” In fact, it’s about $1.6 million to $6.3 million in dialysis units. Her husband, Lawrence Lehrner, is a registered nephrologist, or kidney doctor, and these dialysis units are the life-sustaining machines he uses for his practice.
Berkley has been a vocal advocate for improving access to quality dialysis care, which is the treatment of choice for patients with diabetes and other renal ailments. Dialysis treatments are covered under Medicare, and the number of patients who use it — and by extension, the cost — are ballooning.
• Joe Heck may be turning 50 this year, but he’s still, like many Americans, paying off the student loans he took out to put himself through medical school. According to his financial disclosure forms, he owes from $50,000 to $100,000 on outstanding loans.
That’s not rare. Most hefty student loans amassed by medical school students are issued on a 30-year debt payment plan, and Heck’s only been out of med school for 23 years. We assume he’s glad his children are still a few years away from college, when he may have to start adding to his educational debt by shouldering a bit of theirs.
• Dean Heller has a boring financial disclosure report. There are a bunch of municipal bond holdings in California. There are some Bank of America accounts. There are some Mass Mutual Life Insurance accounts. And there’s his wife, Lynne’s, family’s Brombach Family Limited Partnership, which made a little more than $100,000 this year in income and gains.
But none of it falls into the category of Interesting and Fun. So in keeping with the spirit of that, we’ll throw in something else from Heller’s world that we think counts as both. Heller’s 21-year-old son, Drew, it turns out, is fighting the wildfires raging in Arizona right now.
“He’s an engineering student (at USC), but in the summer, dad makes him fight fires,” Heller told a meeting of the Energy and Natural Resources committee this week. He’s being dispatched from the Nevada-based unit at Lake Tahoe, Heller’s office explained. He is supposed to finish his two-week service tour at the end of the week.