IN AN APRIL report by the Government Accountability Office, a quarter of registered lobbyists were cited as having failed to disclose their income and expenditures to the nearest $10,000. Last week, the second wealthiest Member of Congress, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), made an error on his financial disclosure that makes a $10,000 miscalculation appear astoundingly accurate. The Congressman, who derives most of his wealth from his wife, the daughter of Clear Channel Communications Chairman Lowry Mayes and sister of Clear Channel CEO Mark Mays, affixed three extra zeros to an asset listed as “Harding Loevner Funds Inc.”
Two days after listing the asset at $1,000,000,000, McCaul filed an amendment asking the Clerk of the House to change this number to $1,000,000. “[I]t was the intent that the column should read $1,000,000,” writes McCaul. It’s thus not without humor that one revisits The Hill’s deadpan explanation that such an amendment “reduc[es] the congressman’s wealth dramatically under The Hill’s methodology.” It’s hoped for the sake of general numeracy that under anyone’s methodology would $1 million appear $999 million shy of $1 billion.