Book deals, real estate and stock sales: How legislators make money on the side
A book deal netted U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth more than $380,000 last year ahead of her memoir's recent publication, federal documents indicate.
The Hoffman Estates Democrat was the only member of the congressional delegation representing the West, Northwest or North suburbs profiting from publishing last year, according to a Daily Herald analysis of their latest financial disclosure reports.
But all 10 lawmakers reported assets and sources of income beyond their $174,000 annual salaries. They ranged from bank accounts and investment funds to ownership shares of private companies.
What the forms show
Filed annually by members of the House and Senate, the disclosure reports are transparency tools designed to reveal any potential conflicts of interest.
They detail information about the source, type and amount of a legislator's income, including personal investments, spousal income and investments, paid travel, gifts, contracts and money from other sources. Debts must be reported, too.
House and Senate candidates and some congressional employees also must file disclosure reports.
Reports are due each May 15. Extensions are common.
According to the annual disclosure report Duckworth filed in May, Hatchette paid her $382,500 in 2020. The sum was an advance against future royalties, a Duckworth spokesman confirmed.
Duckworth also reported personal or family assets including stocks, mutual funds and bank accounts.
Additionally, she filed a periodic transaction report this April indicating she and her husband sold shares of Verizon Communications, Illinois Tool Works and the Walt Disney Co. that month. The sales brought in between $17,003 and $80,000 overall, the report showed. Only ranges are required.
Illinois' senior U.S. senator, Dick Durbin of Springfield, got an extension and filed his 2020 annual report in August.
Durbin listed among his investments 123 shares of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, the manufacturer of a COVID-19 vaccine, Viagra and more. Durbin valued the stock position at the time at $4,519 and reported receiving $187 in dividend payments last year.
Durbin bought the stock more than a decade ago and hasn't changed his position in that time, spokeswoman Emily Hampsten said.
"(It) provides a modest dividend," she said.
Durbin also listed various investment funds that are independently managed, a house in Springfield and a condominium in Chicago among his assets.
Battling climate change has been a political priority for U.S. Rep. Sean Casten, a Downers Grove Democrat representing Illinois' 6th District. A member of House subcommittees on energy and the environment, Casten has voiced his ecological concerns on the campaign trail, in meetings with constituents and on social media.
Casten's latest financial disclosure report, filed in August, showed he has ownership stakes in two energy companies.
One is a Minnesota waste recycling and energy company called GOE Capital Partners. The other is a California outfit called Greenleaf Power that converts biological material into energy.
When asked about the investments, Casten spokeswoman Emilia Rowland said the representative "has no control, managerial or otherwise, over Greenleaf and GOE Capital Partners."
Casten is no stranger to the energy industry. Before joining Congress, he cofounded a company called Recycled Energy Development, and he led another energy company called Turbosteam.
His other reported assets include mutual funds, cash and real estate.
Casten also reported a February 2020 trip to Colorado that was funded by the Aspen Institute, a nonprofit group focused on environmental challenges, economic inequality and other subjects. He attended an energy-related discussion series hosted by the group, Rowland said. The institute covered travel costs, lodging and food.
U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, a Chicago Democrat whose 5th District includes parts of Elmhurst, Oakbrook Terrace and other suburbs, was the only other member of the suburban delegation to disclose a paid trip. Quigley traveled to Japan in February 2020, his report showed.
The seven-day trip was a study tour funded by the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress. It included travel, food and lodging for Quigley and his wife.
U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Channahon Republican serving Illinois' 16th District, listed an ownership interest in a company called Prosper Funding when he filed his annual disclosure report in late July. The California-based organization connects borrowers with investors.
Kinzinger also bought and sold stock positions in four companies between April and July last year: American Airlines; Pluralsight, a Utah-based company that offers video training courses for software developers and other professionals; the U.S. Oil Fund, a company that tracks Texas crude oil prices; and U.S. Foods Holding Corp., a food service distributor.
Kinzinger's other reported assets include rental property, bank accounts and mutual funds.
U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider, a Deerfield Democrat serving the 10th District, noted ownership stakes in several companies when he filed a disclosure report last month. They include real estate investment groups; M Financial Group, an Oregon life insurance company; and a Schaumburg-based group called Medical Related Investments that has an ownership stake in a firm operating MRI centers.
Schneider reported many financial transactions, including the sale of stock in a pet insurance company called Trupanion worth between $50,001 and $100,000. Schneider also reported collecting between $15,001 and $50,000 when a fund in which he was invested sold a Buffalo Grove wireless technology company called Fluidmesh Networks and distributed the proceeds.
The disclosure reports for the other members of the suburban delegation -- 6th District Democrat Bill Foster of Naperville, 8th District Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi of Schaumburg, 9th District Democrat Jan Schakowsky of Evanston and 14th District Democrat Lauren Underwood of Naperville -- noted a mix of bank accounts, mutual funds, retirement funds and other investments as assets.
Side: A couple of legislators went on expenses-paid trips