Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Roxanne Conlin and her husband list assets of about $12.5 million to $46.3 million, according to a newly filed personal financial disclosure report.
The report, while showing a well-to-do candidate, appears to undercut some critics’ claims about the money she made as an attorney in a lawsuit filed against Microsoft.
At the same time, the filing shows that Conlin holds stock in some of the same companies she’s criticized in her still-new campaign.
Conlin announced last November that she would run for the Democratic nomination for Republican U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley’s seat.
Since then, Republicans and one of her Democratic opponents have pointed to her wealth in attacks against her.
Conlin’s campaign said her financial condition is proof of her up-from-poverty success in a legal career notable for her willingness to take on corporations and other special interests.
“Roxanne Conlin’s story is truly one of the American dream,” said Mark Daley, her campaign manager.
Conlin’s disclosure, which is required annually of all federal officeholders and candidates, details a wide range of investment assets, as well as liabilities, income and positions with nongovernmental organizations.
Her and her husband Jim’s holdings include dozens of stocks and mutual funds, as well as significant holdings in municipal bonds and a string of real estate companies, many of them investments in apartments.
In fact, most of the Conlins’ net worth, between $10.4 million and $34.6 million, are in those real estate holdings, according to the disclosure.
The report, which covers a nearly two-year period from early 2008 through late 2009, requires asset values be reported in wide ranges.
The Conlin campaign estimates her net worth at $24.9 million. Grassley’s latest disclosure lists his assets at $2.2 million to $5.2 million.
Most of the Republican criticism aimed at Conlin has centered on her role as lead attorney in a class-action lawsuit against Microsoft, which was settled in 2007 for $180 million.
Republicans have said Conlin collected $75 million in attorney’s fees, claiming she reaped more of the benefit than regular Iowans.
The Conlin campaign calls those claims inaccurate, and the disclosure doesn’t reflect the money Republicans claim she received.
The Conlin campaign said her share of the attorney fees was $22 million, after which she paid taxes and $5 million in compensating her staff, repaying a loan and creating two foundations worth $1 million.
Individual Iowans and businesses made claims worth $57 million, averaging $90 per person and $24,000 per business, the campaign says.
Another $60 million went to schools across the state, with $60 million in unclaimed money going back to Microsoft, according to the campaign.
“You can’t find another person in the state who has secured more funding for Iowa education than Roxanne Conlin,” Daley said.
Republicans aren’t impressed. They have called on Conlin to give some of her own money to Iowa schools.
“The issue to Iowa voters isn’t how much wealth she has, but what she does with it” and what her values are, said Danielle Plogmann, a spokesperson for the Republican Party of Iowa.
Conlin’s disclosure could create some problems for her. According to the filing, she owns stock in a few drug companies, including Pfizer Inc. Drug companies often are criticized by Democrats as the big special interests they’re fighting.
Conlin herself has said she plans to fight special interests. And when she announced her candidacy, she specifically targeted big banks.
“As the big banks got bailed out and CEOs got outrageous bonuses, we got left behind,” she said.
The disclosure report, however, said Conlin holds stock worth between $15,001 and $50,000 in Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and $1,001 to $15,000, in Wells Fargo.
Both banks received government bailout money. They have subsequently paid the government back, but Goldman Sachs, in particular, has been criticized for getting government help while still planning to pay its executives big bonuses.
The Conlins’ holdings are but a small part of the $2.3 million to $6.6 million in publicly held assets she and her husband own.
Plogmann said it’s not right to criticize companies in which she holds stock.
“I think that’s hypocritical,” she said.
Daley, however, said Conlin’s stock holdings aren’t as important as her actions.
He noted that she is part of a federal lawsuit against Wells Fargo and that she also owns Microsoft stock.
The Wells Fargo suit, filed in 2008, alleges the company charged excessive fees to people who had fallen behind on mortgages. The bank denies the allegations.
“It’s not a matter of what they have investments in, it’s what they’re actions tell,” Daley said. “She holds stock in Wells Fargo, and she’s leading the charge against them.”
Conlin’s report also says her income from her law firm was $456,000 and that her and her and her husband’s liabilities were between $1.1 million and $5.25 million.