Michigan lawmakers among wealthiest in Congress
Two Michigan congressmen — Republican Reps. Dave Trott and Paul Mitchell — are among the 15 wealthiest members of Congress, according to the latest Wealth of Congress Index.
The index, published by Roll Call, estimates each House and Senate member’s minimum net worth based on financial disclosure reports of their liabilities and assets in 2016.
Birmingham’s Trott, who ranked No. 4 on the list, has a net worth estimated at $119.1 million, behind only Reps. Darryl Issa of California, Greg Gianforte of Montana and Jared Polis of Colorado.
Trott, an attorney, is retiring at the end of this second term. Before taking office, he sold his stake in his family’s law firm in Farmington Hills, but years with the company contributed to his portfolio, which includes at least $83.2 million worth of investments and $24 million in trusts.
Roll Call noted that Trott and wife Kathleen maintain holdings in Detroit Legal News, which publishes foreclosure and other legal notices, and Attorneys Title Agency, specializing in pre-foreclosure deed searches.
Mitchell, a former corporate executive from Dryden, ranked No. 15 on the wealth index with an estimated net worth of $37.7 million marking the freshman’s first year on the list.
Mitchell, former owner of Ross Medical Education Center, spent over $3 million to clinch the open 10th District seat when Rep. Candice Miller retired last term. He previously spent $3.6 million in a losing race in mid-Michigan's 4th District against John Moolenaar of Midland in 2014.
Mitchell’s assets include a range of high-value stocks and partnership income from a private investment fund, according to Roll Call.
Michigan’s next appearance on the index is GOP Rep. Fred Upton of St. Joseph, whose grandfather co-founded Whirlpool, coming in at No. 40 with an estimated net worth of $11 million.
Financial disclosure rules require lawmakers to report all debts but not all assets, such as the value of their principal residence.
Leading high court nominees emerge
University of Michigan law professor Sam Bagenstos and appellate attorney Megan Cavanagh are the odds-on favorites to be the Democratic nominees for the Michigan Supreme Court.
In fact, with an April 15 endorsement convention fast approaching, they’re the only two public candidates for the party nominations.
Bagenstos and Cavanagh last week picked up a coveted endorsement from the Michigan Association of Justice, formerly known as the Michigan Trial Lawyers Association, and have won praise from Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Brandon Dillon.
“We’re very excited about the Supreme Court,” Dillon told The Detroit News as Democrats gear up to take on incumbent Justices Kurtis Wilder and Beth Clement, each seeking election after appointment last year by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder.
Cavanagh, the daughter of former Justice Michael Cavanagh, is a “very respected attorney” with a “long history of public service, Dillon said.
And Bagenstos, who served as a federal civil rights assistant attorney general under President Barack Obama, “is considered pretty much a rock star in legal circles,” Dillon said, suggesting he “has a network of national supporters” who could contribute to his campaign.
“We think if he’s the nominee, he’s going to be an extremely strong candidate as well,” Dillon said.
Biden endorses Slotkin
Former Vice President Joe Biden has endorsed Democrat Elissa Slotkin in her bid to challenge Republican Rep. Mike Bishop of Rochester.
Her campaign said Slotkin often advised Biden on national security matters in her previous post at the Pentagon.
In a statement, Biden said he first met Slotkin when she was aiding the transition of then President-elect Barack Obama into the White House.
“Elissa Slotkin is a true public servant who has experience working to solve tough problems, no matter what. Michigan’s 8th District — and our entire country — needs a leader who understands that the strength of our country abroad is only as strong as our economy at home,” said Biden, who hasn’t ruled out another presidential run.
Chris Smith, a progressive from East Lansing, is also running in the Democratic primary.
Kildee endorses Andy Levin
U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee is endorsing Andy Levin to succeed his father, retiring Rep. Sandy Levin, D-Royal Oak, to represent Michigan’s 9th District in Congress.
“Andy has been in the trenches battling for working families every day, and we need the strongest possible leaders fighting alongside me in Congress,” Kildee said in a statement. “I’m proudly endorsing Andy for his ability to grasp complex issues and build winning solutions for Michigan and America.”
Kildee, D-Flint Township, said he was Genesee County treasurer when Andy Levin ran a state job-training program for unemployed and under-employed workers. “We need something like Andy’s No Worker Left Behind program for our entire nation,” Kildee said.
Andy Levin also recently picked up endorsements from former U.S. Reps. Mark Schauer and David Bonior, as well as former Gov. Jennifer Granholm.
Other Democrats in the race include former state Rep. Ellen Lipton of Huntington Woods, state Sen. Steve Bieda of Warren and Martin Brook, a labor and employment law attorney from Bloomfield Township.
Contributors: Melissa Nann Burke, Jonathan Oosting