Today, CenLamar received a number of visitors who were all after the same information: Is Bobby Jindal a millionaire? I had made a brief mention of Representative Jindal’s personal wealth, which he is required to disclose, in a previous post. Apparently, the issue has also caught the attention of candidate John Georges, who wonders when Bobby Jindal had the time to make all of that money.
Jindal once told The Times-Picayune, “I tried to be born wealthy, but that plan didn’t work.” Jindal may have not been born wealthy, but he certainly became wealthy.
Way back in April, when John Breaux was considering whether or not to enter the governor’s race, Dan Z. at Jindal is Bad wrote about Jindal’s fortunes in a post entitled “Bobby Jindal the Millionaire?“. Dan did his homework and discovered, through Open Secrets, that in 2005, Bobby Jindal estimated his personal net worth to be between $1.18 million and $3.17 million. By 2006, Jindal’s assets were estimated to be worth between $1.3 million and nearly $3.5 million, making Jindal one of the wealthiest members of Congress (ranked 118 out of 435).
The average salary of a US Congressman is $165,200 per year plus benefits. It’s a good-paying gig, but it’s still difficult to understand how Jindal could have played with over $1 million in “transactions” in 2005.
So how does one become a multi-millionaire while in Congress?
In his 2005 financial disclosure form, Jindal makes brief mention of his wife’s position with Albemarle, a publicly-traded chemicals company, but he does not disclose her income. However, according to his statement, Jindal owns more than $100,000 in Albemarle stock, $100,000 in an Albemarle “Equity Interest Trust,” a $15,000 Albemarle retirement fund, and $50,000 in an Albemarle mutual fund. Even if one supposes these assets actually belong to Jindal’s wife, they still account for less than 10% of Bobby Jindal’s net worth. The bulk of Jindal’s fortune is in money market and mutual funds, and as his financial disclosure form proves, Jindal is an active trader.
In April, a reader named “Lizzie” responded to Dan Z.’s post. She wrote:
I have never known someone this young who has spent a lifetime in government and still has both of their parents living amass this type of net worth.
Is he required to disclose his wife’s salary arrangement with Albermarle, a Baton Rouge company which she apparently telecommutes to from the home he had to move to in order to get elected to Congress?
Her company is heavily regulated by the government and holds government contracts. It also has no offices in New Orleans. Normally I would say the spouse should be off limits but when you look at his net worth, it raises some questions.
Again, it is worth reiterating: Jindal did not disclose any information about his wife’s “salary arrangement,” but it is clear that his interest in Albemarle accounts for only a fraction of his wealth.
What remains unclear, however, is which stocks and mutual funds have made Jindal so wealthy.
Jindal was in the private sector only briefly. When he was 24 and fresh out of college, he spent a year working for the consulting firm McKinsey and Company. During the past twelve years, Jindal has worked exclusively in the public sector.
There may be a perfectly legitimate explanation for Jindal’s sudden wealth, but the point still needs to be made. Because, for some reason, the Louisiana media has continued to lead us to believe that Boasso and Georges are the only “millionaires” in this election.
Bobby Jindal may not want us to believe that he is a multi-millionaire, but if he plans on ridding the state of “corruption” and instituting real “ethics reforms,” he needs to come clean about his own finances. And while he is at it, maybe he can tell us how he managed to become a multi-millionaire in the public sector. More importantly, we should ask: Why are the substantial majority of his assets “liquid investments?” You only need one thing to buy stock: Cash. In Jindal’s case, lots of cash.