WASHINGTON - Rep. Ray LaHood's name was pulled out of a
barrel at a homecoming game at Illinois College in
Jacksonville in October.
He won a $1,600 travel gift certificate to benefit a
scholarship fund for a local chapter of the NAACP.
Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., last summer received a
$1,900 Gibson Les Paul studio guitar - the kind used by
Frank Zappa - from Rock the Vote, a nonprofit group that
seeks to bring more young people into the political
Those were among the more offbeat awards and winnings
that the lawmakers reported in their annual personal
finance reports, which were released Wednesday.
House rules permit lawmakers to keep prizes won in
random lotteries as LaHood did. Obama was allowed to
keep the guitar because it was considered an award. The
guitar, which is inscribed to Obama, is displayed in the
senator's private office.
"The only reason he can keep it is because he can't
play," Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs joked.
The annual reports provide a limited glimpse into the
personal wealth and debts accumulated by House members
and senators, beyond the $162,100 salary for
rank-and-file members for 2005. But the lawmakers are
only required to report their assets and liabilities in
broad ranges and don't have to report their personal
residences at all.
LaHood, a Peoria Republican whose district includes
part of Springfield, listed assets of between $215,000
and $500,000, most of which were wrapped up in his
wife's retirement accounts. He also reported debts of
$80,003 to $200,000, down from 2004, when his daughter's
wedding and new condo furnishings raised his loans to
$265,000 to $650,000. His wife works for Goodwill
Industries of Central Illinois.
Lawmakers are required to donate speaking fees to
charity. When LaHood spoke to the Pekin Life Insurance
Co. Dec. 2, he donated $250 to The Salvation Army Tree
of Lights campaign, an aide said.
Rep. Lane Evans, D-Rock Island, who also represents
part of Springfield, listed assets of between $565,003
and $1.15 million, including his Capitol Hill townhouse,
estimated between $500,001 and $1 million. He also lists
a mortgage of $250,001 to $500,000 on the Capitol Hill
Rep. John Shimkus, Springfield's third congressman,
listed assets for himself, his spouse and his children
between $685,001 and $1.48 million, including a
Washington, D.C., townhouse valued at $500,001 to $1
million, for which he received rent ranging from $15,001
to $50,000 last year. He listed his debts as two
mortgages on the house totaling between $300,002 and
As he does each year, Shimkus, R-Collinsville,
released a lengthy list of every gift he received,
including six peaches from Titan Peach Farm and four
loaves of zucchini bread and a plate of brownies from
Judy Leomker of Edwardsville.
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., who attached his tax return
and pay stub to the report, goes beyond the reporting
requirements to list exact values of his assets and
liabilities. He also included his wife's salary of
$76,929 as a lobbyist in Springfield.
Their assets include the longtime family home in
Springfield, valued at $325,000; a Chicago condo worth
$300,000; home furniture listed at $45,000; and a 2001
Ford truck estimated at $5,000. In addition, their
stock, retirement and credit union accounts are valued
at $657,700. Durbin's only debts are mortgages of
$207,676 on the Chicago condo and $62,361 on the
Springfield house, according to the report.
Obama reported $847,167 from a book advance from
Random House, part of $1.9 million he expects to receive
for writing three books. He also received $378,239 in
book royalties in 2005 from Dystel and Goodrich for a
book published in 1995. Obama reported that he and his
wife's assets in 2005 were between $700,000 and $1.1
million. He listed no liabilities. His wife works at the
University of Chicago Hospital.
He donated $2,000 he received for a speech to the
Herb Block Foundation last September to the Bush-Clinton
Katrina Fund. With increased scrutiny of lawmakers'
privately funded travel, Illinois lawmakers took fewer
trips in 2005 than in previous years.
LaHood and his wife traveled to China March 23 to
April 3, 2005, courtesy of The Aspen Institute, a
Colorado-based think tank. Shimkus and his wife went to
Israel Aug. 7-15, their travel and lodging paid by the
Jewish Federation of Chicago. Shimkus also traveled to
Seward, Neb., May 6-7, 2005, paid by the town's
Durbin and his wife traveled to Ireland Aug. 21-26,
2005, for a conference on United States-Russian-European
relations. The trip was paid by The Aspen Institute.
Also, the Association of Trial Lawyers of America paid
for Durbin to go to Toronto to be the keynote speaker at
the group's annual conference.