Thursday, June 15, 2000

Lawmakers reveal worth

Ky.'s senators open their books

By Nancy Zuckerbrod
The Associated Press

        WASHINGTON — Kentucky Sens. Mitch McConnell and Jim Bunning opened their books Wednesday.

        Like all U.S. senators, the two Republicans had to report their assets and how much money they earned last year apart from their $136,700 salaries.

        Mr. McConnell, chairman of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, listed investment accounts worth between $780,000 and $1.75 million. He also received $250,000 to $500,000 from the estate of his uncle, Julius J. Smartt.

        Mr. McConnell is the executor of Mr. Smartt's estate, and that earned him an extra $30,000.

        While senators are not allowed to earn speaking fees, there are no such limits on their spouses.

        Mr. McConnell's wife, Elaine Chao, earned more than $80,000 in speaking fees. She is a distinguished fellow at a conservative Washington-based think tank, the Heritage Foundation. She also is the former director of the United Way.

        Senators also can't earn money by giving out their autographs, but Mr. Bunning is allowed to do that because he was so famous prior to coming to the Senate. He is a baseball Hall of Famer who pitched a perfect game in 1964 for the Philadelphia Phillies.

        He received nearly $30,000 by signing baseball cards and other memorabilia. He donated the money to a foundation that bears his name, but he took a $15,000 salary from the foundation.

        Mr. Bunning's connection to the sports world seems to extend to his investment strategies.

        He owns $100,000 to $250,000 in Atlanta-based Bull Run, which provides specialized services with a focus on sports marketing.

        He also owns stock in America Online and Tyco International, a manufacturing and service company.

        He reported capital gains of a little more than $200,000, about half of which was from the sale of Comair shares.


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