Here's How Much Mitch McConnell Is Really Worth

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, representing the great state of Kentucky, has come under fire recently from the anti-Trump PAC The Lincoln Project (founded by George, aka Mr. Kellyanne, Conway) for what they claim is a suspicious increase in his net worth during his time in office (via The Washington Post). While there's nothing even the slightest bit unusual about yet one more Republican (or Democrat, for that matter) millionaire in the Capitol building, the McConnell family fortunes are unusual in that McConnell, who's been a senator since 1985, was worth a mere $3.1 million as recently as 2004. As of now, his net worth is estimated at $34,137,534. How did it increase by more than tenfold?

Per Congressional Research Service, his salary as House Majority Leader is $193,400. Hardly starvation wages, but it still would not qualify him as a member of the multimillionaire club, nor would it account for more than a fraction of his over $30 million jump in net worth even if he'd banked every single penny of it. Could there be any truth behind the widely circulated internet meme that Snopes reports implies some impropriety behind the wealth increase that took McConnell from being a mere single-digit millionaire to the senate's seventh-richest member?

How Mitch McConnell made his money

Nope, sorry to disappoint any conspiracy theorists out there, but there's no scandal whatsoever behind McConnell's elevation to the ranks of the one percenters. (According to Forbes' Wealth Rank Calculator, you need at least $10.2 million to qualify.) The Post notes he got his riches — at least, the massive cash infusion that vastly inflated his assets — the "old-fashioned way." No, not through hard work and perseverance, but through marriage and inheritance.

It seems that while McConnell was hardly born into poverty (Find A Grave says that his dad had worked as an employee-relations superintendent at DuPont), he really hit the jackpot when he married his second wife, Elaine Chao, in 1993. Chao, who served as Secretary of Labor under George W. Bush and is Secretary of Transportation under the current administration, comes from a family who've been extremely successful in the shipping industry. Her father, James S. C. Chao, is the founder of the Foremost Group, a New York-based shipping company that Celebrity Net Worth says is valued at an estimated $1.2 billion before debt. 

In 2008, Elaine Chao's mother passed away, leaving her daughter (and her husband) what McConnell's financial disclosure form (via Open Secrets) listed as a "gift from a filer's relative" in the form of a tax-exempt money market fund valued at between $5 million and $25 million.