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Mongolia’s wealthy politicians

Sitting comfortably

The median net worth of members of the US Congress – 435 representatives and 100 senators – is a comfortable $440,000, more than six times the wealth of your average American household.

Among US lawmakers there are also haves and have-nots with the bank accounts of the 50 richest members holding a tidy $1.6 billion.

That translates to small beer across the Pacific.

The wealthiest 50 delegates to China’s National People’s Congress, a body that acts as a rubber stamp for Communist Party decisions, control $94.7 billion, according to the Hurun Rich List.

While it seems fair to say that these days you have to be rich to be elected in the US and that being wealthy in China ingratiates you with the Communist Party, Mongolia takes the concept to a whole new level.

Mongolian parliamentarians and high-ranking government officials have been required since 2007 to disclose their assets and net worth to the Asian nation’s Independent Authority Against Corruption.

The Mongolist blog has crunched the numbers and it looks like Mongolia’s top politicians have managed to expand their asset base much quicker than the rate of economic growth in the country.

According to latest 2012 annual filing, current parliament members are sitting on 1,137 billion tugrik in total net assets or approximately $785 million. Of the 74 MPs that disclosed their wealth, the top four control about 64% of the total.

Those are impressive numbers particularly when you consider Mongolian politicians’ hoard relative to the size of their country’s economy.

US Congress members’ combined fortunes is a rounding error when you consider America’s $15.7 trillion economy. Chinese politicians fare better. They control 1.1% of the globe’s second largest economy.

The rulers of Mongolia’s fewer than 3 million citizens have amassed moolah to the equivalent of 7.6% of the country’s GDP.

Put another way, if US politicians concentrated the wealth of America to the same degree they’d each be worth more than $2.2 billion.

Click here for more from The Mongolist.

Image of Russian President Putin meeting deputies of the Great State Hural by Wikimedia Commons