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Republican U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa has not announced whether he will seek reelection in 2022.
But Democrats have been campaigning against the seven-term senator anyway, with midterm elections about 15 months away.
Former 1st District U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer has painted Grassley as someone “out of touch” with Iowans since declaring her candidacy for the job July 22.
In a July 31 tweet that included a link to donate to her campaign, Finkenauer called Grassley a “multimillionaire who has owned a house in Washington since I was 5 years old.”
The Fact Checker reached out to Finkenauer’s campaign for its sourcing behind the claims that Grassley is a multimillionaire and has owned a house in the nation’s capital since Finkenauer was 5 years old. But a campaign official did not respond to the request.
First, we’ll take a look at whether Grassley is a multimillionaire.
As a member of the U.S. Senate, Grassley must submit a financial disclosure form every year that includes information about his assets and transactions from the previous calendar year. Each asset listed has a wide range of what it is worth.
Open Secrets, a nonpartisan website dedicated to tracking money in politics, has used those reports to estimate each member of Congress’ net worth. The most recent estimates available use data from the 2018 financial disclosures.
Grassley’s estimated net worth was $7.6 million in 2018, according to Open Secrets. About $1.2 million was invested in his family farm in Butler County. Between 2008 and 2018, Grassley’s estimated net worth never dipped below $2.5 million.
He is far from the only multimillionaire on Capitol Hill, according to Open Secrets’ estimates. Among those in Congress in 2018, 171 had an estimated net worth of at least $2 million.
Finkenauer, on the other hand, was one of the poorest new members of Congress with an estimated net worth of a negative $12,500.
Nonetheless, Finkenauer’s claim that Grassley is a multimillionaire lines up with his financial disclosure forms.
As to whether Grassley has owned a house in Washington since Finkenauer was 5, the Fact Checker looked at property records from the Arlington, Va., assessor’s office.
The records show Grassley purchased a home in Arlington, a suburb of Washington, D.C., on Nov. 3, 1994. That was 54 days before Finkenauer’s sixth birthday.
Grassley has not sold the property in the 27 years since then, proving the second part of Finkenauer’s claim to also be correct.
His property is assessed at $818,400, according to the assessor’s office. He bought it for $375,000.
Public records back both parts of Finkenauer’s claims about Grassley. It’s worth noting Grassley is far from the only multimillionaire in Congress, but that doesn’t take away from Finkenauer’s claims. We give her an A.
The Fact Checker team checks statements made by an Iowa political candidate/officeholder or a national candidate/officeholder about Iowa, or in ads that appear in our market.
Claims must be independently verifiable.
We give statements grades from A to F based on accuracy and context.
If you spot a claim you think needs checking, email us at email@example.com.
This Fact Checker was researched and written by John Steppe of The Gazette.