Ed Bedford 11:44 p.m., June 19
Among Late Filers, Issa Discloses Huge Loans, Filner Reveals Mortgages and Free Trips
The deadline for annual personal financial disclosure statements filed each year by members of Congress is May 15, but extensions of up to 90 days may be obtained through mid-August.
Among this year's dawdlers were San Diego county's Darrell Issa, a Republican, and Bob Filner, a Democrat currently running for mayor of San Diego.
Issa, who made his fortune in car alarms, seems virtually sure to retain his crown as the richest member of the House, based on his latest disclosure, dated June 29.
But precise net worths are difficult to determine from the congressional forms, because members only have to report ranges of their holdings, income, and personal liabilities.
Issa's disclosure, for instance, reports that on January 7, 2011 he borrowed in excess of $50 million from Merrill Lynch.
The same day, according to the disclosure, Issa paid off a "personal note" valued at between $25 million and $50 million to DEI, LLC, one of his holding companies. That loan had been made on November 5, 2010 by DEI with "funds provided through a business line of credit from Merrill Lynch secured with personal assets."
Three days later, on January 10, 2011, Issa paid off another "personal note," valued at greater than $50 million, to Greene Properties, another family holding company. That loan, which had been made on January 7, 2010, was also funded by money from a Merrill Lynch credit line secured by personal assets, the statement says.
Then, on October 14 of last year, Issa took out a personal loan exceeding $50 million from Union Bank.
The congressman still has shares in a Guardian mutual fund, worth between $15,000 and $50,000, according to his report, but dividends and capital gains from those fell from last year. In 2010, they were valued between $2,501 to $5,000. In 2011, they were between $1.001 to $2,500.
Filner also showed two Chase Bank mortgages, one between $250,001 to $500,000 on property in Washington, D.C., and another of between $100,001 to $250,000 on Chula Vista real estate.
He reported three free trips given to him by two special interests and one famous TV star.
In April of last year, Filner's travel and lodging was picked up by Oprah Winfrey's Harpo productions after he appeared on a show about Freedom Riders in the south, of which he was one.
Also that April, the Pacifica Institute, a group with links to controversial Muslim scholar Fethullah Gulen, sponsored a Filner trip to Istanbul.
And Filner went to Paris in June 2011, thanks to a group calling itself the Colorado Iranian American Community.
There, as we've previously reported, he spoke at a rally on behalf of the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization, also known as the MEK, which has long been embroiled in a fight with the U.S. State Department over whether or not the Iranian rebel group, now based in Iraq, is a terrorist organization.
Filner, along with other U.S. politicos, including Mitchell Reiss, a foreign policy advisor to presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, have argued in favor of overturning the MEK's terrorist designation.
Last month, syndicated columnist Clarence Page said he would give back a $20,000 speaking fee and travel reimbursement he got for appearing at this June's MEK rally in Paris.
Congressional filings from Legistorm.Com