published Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

U.S. senators from Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama report millions in assets


by Chris Carroll
People visit the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
People visit the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

WASHINGTON — Four of the U.S. senators from Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama reported more than $1 million in personal assets, according to their newly released financial disclosures. One got a delay.

Members of Congress must only disclose their holdings and incomes in broad dollar ranges. They're not required to document their homes, automobiles or other effects. U.S. House disclosures will be released later this month.

In Tennessee, Sen. Lamar Alexander reported between $6.7 million and $19.2 million in assets. He reported liabilities between $3.75 million and $16.5 million. The former Tennessee governor's holdings range from checking accounts to corporate stock to several properties in Texas. His biggest 2012 transaction involved the sale of Blount County, Tenn., land for between $500,000 and $1 million.

On top of his $174,000 salary, Alexander made at least $200,000 in stock dividends from Knoxville-based Custom Foods and more than $100,000 in capital gains on his Texas properties.

Sen. Bob Corker was granted an extension until August. Last year, the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call ranked the former Chattanooga mayor the 19th-richest member of Congress, with at least $19.6 million in assets.

In Georgia, Sen. Johnny Isakson reported at least $5 million in assets. He derives much of his money from real estate, including a 12-acre spread in Rabun County, Ga., valued at more than $1 million. Last year the senator set up a blind trust for his other assets, which include stock in MasterCard and Microsoft. Isakson listed a 20-year-old line of credit as his only liability.

Meanwhile, Sen. Saxby Chambliss reported $107,000 to $380,000 in assets, including holdings with Georgia-based Coca-Cola and AerovectRx Corp., which manufactures aerosol therapeutics. His lone liability, a mortgage held through Bank of America, is between $100,000 and $250,000.

In Alabama, Sen. Richard Shelby reported no liabilities and assets between $4.9 million and $7.8 million, disclosing million-dollar homes in Tuscaloosa and Washington. One of Shelby's largest transactions last year was a cash gift valued between $500,000 and $1 million to his family trust. He made at least $50,000 in rental income for a Tuscaloosa office building he owns.

Shelby's colleague, Sen. Jeff Sessions, reported between $3.4 million and $10.6 million in assets and a pair of mortgages that amount to between $500,000 and $1 million in liabilities. Most of Sessions' assets are investments and land holdings in Alabama, including hunting property in Choctaw County valued at more than $1 million.

Lawmakers must report assets held by themselves, spouses or dependent children.

Contact staff writer Chris Carroll at ccarroll@times freepress.com or 423-280-2025.

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