Elena Kagan, Money, Real Estate

Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? Elena Kagan — She Already Is!

As I noted this morning on Twitter, Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan is looking like a million bucks these days. And this should come as no surprise, since she’s worth a million bucks — and then some.

Recently I examined the financial disclosure form filed by Elena Kagan last year, when she was nominated for Solicitor General. It showed the Divine Miss K with a divine net worth — just over $1 million (as of January 2009). That may not put her in Biglaw partner territory, but for someone who has spent most of her career in government service or academia, Kagan has done quite well for herself. (She’s also doing much better than most ATL readers; according to our reader poll, over 40 percent of you have negative net worths.)

And in the past year, despite her taking a pay cut when she left Harvard Law School to become SG, and despite the economic downturn, Kagan’s net worth has jumped — significantly. Just like Lady Gaga, Lady Kaga is beautiful, dirty, rich.

How rich? Let’s take a look at Elena Kagan’s latest financial disclosure form, submitted to the Senate earlier this week….

In January 2009, when she filled out the Senate questionnaire for her nomination as Solicitor General, Kagan declared a net worth of $1,011,718. A year later, her net worth has climbed by almost 75 percent, reaching $1,762,519 (as of January 1, 2010). This is reflected in documentation Kagan just submitted to the Senate.

How did Lady Kaga amass so many benjamins (and we’re not talking Cardozo)? There were at least three contributing factors. David Ingram of the National Law Journal reports:

Elena Kagan’s estimated net worth grew 74 percent during her year as solicitor general, records show, an increase that a White House official attributes largely to the distribution of her mother’s estate.

The rebound of the stock market also helped the U.S. Supreme Court nominee, as did the sale of her Cambridge, Mass., home.

Some commenters on our last post expected Kagan to take a loss on her house, which she purchased in 2004 for $1.4 million. As it turns out, she sold it in October 2009 for $1.53 million — not a huge profit, especially given what she probably paid in broker fees and closing costs, but also not a loss.

The sale of her house allowed her to pay off her two mortgages, totaling $1.215 million in her 2009 financial disclosure. Now, according to her latest net worth statement, Lady Kaga has zero liabilities. Nice!

Meanwhile, her non-real-estate assets have ballooned. From the NLJ:

In responding Tuesday to a Senate Judiciary Committee questionnaire, Kagan listed assets of $1,762,519 and no liabilities as of Jan. 1. About $740,000 was in cash, with the rest split among a money market fund, mutual funds and retirement plans.

A cash position of $740K is a big increase from January 2009, when Kagan claimed about $300K in cash and cash equivalents.

Last year, Kagan listed about $500K in retirement savings. She has seen some growth on that front too (presumably due to the distribution of her mother’s estate, mentioned supra):

Kagan listed $824,000 in various retirement plans, “from employment and inherited IRAs.” That’s up 64 percent from the $504,000 in her retirement plans when she answered a Judiciary Committee questionnaire to be solicitor general on Jan. 15, 2009. She reported a 22 percent increase — or $35,880 — in the combined value of her money market fund and mutual funds.

In leaving the deanship of Harvard Law School to assume the post of Solicitor General, Kagan took a hefty pay cut, from $437,299 (HLS) to $165,300 (SG) — a decrease of over 60 percent. But given Kagan’s cash cushion of almost three quarters of a million, that was a hit she could afford to take.

In fact, if Kagan appeared the Suze Orman show’s Can I Afford It?, with her coveted luxury as “a seat on the Supreme Court,” Suze would surely say: Yes you can!

With a balance sheet like that, Lady Kaga, the Sapphic Suze might even invite you over for a softball game! Too bad you’re not a lesbian….

P.S. I was impressed by Kagan’s overall financial picture and net worth of almost $1.8 million. But some of the commenters on CNN’s Political Ticker blog felt differently. E.g.:

“That’s an awful lot of money for an avowed Socialist. She apparently has no problem accumulating wealth. Is she gonna lecture the rest of us about the evils of wealth? Wouldn’t surprise me at all.”

“Then why isn’t she ‘sharing her wealth’ like a good little socialist. No democrat should be allowed a net worth more than 5 times the poverty level as a show of solidarity for their cause. They tell us to sacrifice but my oh my aren’t a lot of them ever so wealthy…………..”

Well, crazy commenters, you’ll be glad to know that this “good little socialist” supports your free speech rights.

Kagan Had Strong Financial Year in 2009 [National Law Journal]
Kagan worth nearly $1.8 million [CNN / Political Ticker]

Earlier: Open Thread: What’s Your Net Worth? (And how does it compare to Elena Kagan’s?)

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