Cheney's wealth triple that of Bush

May 15, 2008 6:30:49 PM PDT
The tens of millions of dollars in assets reported by Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne, triple those held by President Bush and the first lady, Laura Bush. Bush kept much of his money invested fairly conservatively, in U.S. Treasury notes and certificates of deposit, according to financial disclosure reports released Thursday.

Cheney spread his money around, at least $15.8 million in mutual funds that include bonds, international equities and domestic stocks.

In the financial wild ride of 2007, Bush's wealth appears to have held steady while Cheney's seemed to decline a little.

Of course, how much difference does it really make when you're talking real wealth - $7 million to $20 million in the case of Bush, $20 million to $100 million in the case of Cheney, according to the documents released by the White House.

It's impossible to tell the actual numbers because federal law allows top government officials and members of Congress to report their financial picture in wide ranges. So wide that Bush actually might have lost money while Cheney could have gained.

For example, how much is Bush's Texas ranch worth? According to the financial disclosure forms, the 1,583-acre spread near Crawford is worth somewhere between $1 million and $5 million - the same range listed for Cheney's undeveloped real estate in McLean, Va.

Bush got $15 million when the Texas Rangers baseball team which he owned a piece of was sold, Cheney got $35 million by exercising his stock options at his old firm, Halliburton.

The big pay days are over. What's left is the task of looking after lots of money.

Personal finances have taken up some time this year on the presidential campaign trail.

While Sen. John McCain released his tax return - total income of $405,409 last year - his wife is causing some controversy. Cindy McCain, an heiress to a Phoenix-based beer distributing company, has a fortune in the range of $100 million, but she has declined to disclose her tax returns.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and former President Clinton made nearly $109 million since they left the White House, capitalizing on the world's interest in the former first couple and lucrative business ventures.

Obama released tax documents last year showing income of more than $991,000 for him and his wife, Michelle. The figure included his Senate salary as well as her income as an administrator of the University of Chicago Hospitals.

On their financial disclosure reports, the president and vice president also revealed they received a number of gifts last year.

The most expensive was a $6,160 bike that a Waterloo, Wis., manufacturer gave the president, an avid biker.

The Greenbriar Lodge of Carlisle, Ark., hosted Cheney for two days of hunting and gave the vice president a hunting vest and a hardcover book, "Duck Calls: An Enduring American Tradition," all valued at $1,600.

The financial disclosure forms also suggest that if he chooses, Cheney will have lots to do next year when he leaves the White House. He's a trustee at the Gerald R. Ford Foundation and the George C. Marshall Foundation, an adviser at the University of Wyoming College of Arts and Sciences in Laramie and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York and the Business Council in Washington.

May 15 is the annual deadline for top government officials and members of Congress to file the forms. The congressional forms will be released next month.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) AP-NY-05-15-08 1914EDT