Billy Long photo by Alex Brandon
It shouldn't come to a surprise to anyone who follows Billy Long that despite his efforts to pass himself off as 'just a good old boy', Long is part of the congressional millionaire club.
We all know that Billy lives in a $750,000 Highland Springs house, a wealthy enclave with gates to keep the constituents outBilly Long's four walls and a roof.
We all know that Billy frequents a posh restaurant often enough to have a dish named after him. The Metropolitan Grill offers a "Billy Long Cut" 11 ounce ribeye filet served with pot roasted Heirloom baby bakers and apple brined Haricots Verts $28.50.
We can't vouch for where he shops, but it looks like it. We don't know if, as Billy told NPR's Andrea Seabrook on November 16, 2010, if he liquidated his 1/3 interest in Murney and Associates. "Gotta liquidate my auction company, liquidate my third interest in the largest real estate company in town, so there's a lot of things you gotta get up to school on, up to speed." Billy Long, November 16, 2010
Malia Rulon, in her blog, "Inside Missouri Politics", picks up the trail: Billy Long part of congressional millionaire's club:Rep.
Billy Long has something in common with the leaders of his party — they’re all millionaires.Well, we did. And page 13 is of interest:Remember back in late January the Heritage Foundation paid for Billy's trip to California, a trip they called "In the Steps of Reagan", the 2011 Conservative Member's retreat. The Heritage Foundation spent $2,878.00 getting Billy out there, wining and dining him and bringing him back. Lobbying Reform: Travel Rules for Congress:
Personal financial disclosure reports released this week show, in broad ranges, the assets and investments owned by each lawmaker. The reports, filed with the U.S. House Clerk, are designed to provide transparency so voters can be aware of any conflict of interest.
According to the reports, the Springfield Republican is worth at least $1.5 million. He could be worth more than double that, but lawmakers aren’t required to report the value of their primary residence and all assets are reported only in broad ranges.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is worth at least $2 million and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., is worth at least $3.4 million.
Long is among at least 19 Republican freshmen who own assets worth more than $1 million, according to The Washington Post. However, he’s also among 19 GOP freshmen who have personal liabilities of more than $100,000, the Post reported.
Many of the 87 GOP freshmen ran on a platform of reigning in the U.S. debt.
Long owes between $865,000 and $1.8 million in mortgages on a commercial building, rental condominium and other properties.
As for income, it’s unclear whether Long is earning more or less as a congressman than he did as an auctioneer. That’s because all income and assets are also reported in broad ranges and lawmakers aren’t required to report how much their spouse earns.
According to documents filed this week, Long earned $43,096 last year from auction commissions and the sale of hay, a tractor and a brush hog. He also earned rental income between $20,000 and $65,000.
He reported capitol gains of between $50,000 and $100,000. He also earned between$22,400 and $68,800 in interest and dividends from several bank accounts and stock worth between $349,000 and $811,000.
All together, Long’s report indicated that he made between $135,500 and $276,900 last year. As a congressman, he makes a $174,000 annual salary.
You can look up Long’s report for yourself on the House Clerk site.
g) After each trip taken by a Member, Senator or staff a travel disclosure form that lists the expenses by the private source must be completed, signed and filed with the Clerk of the House or the Secretary of the Senate. The form must include good faith estimates of the transportation, lodging, meal and other expenses paid, set out separately, and a determination that such expenses were ‘necessary’ and related to the individual’s official duties. In the House, this disclosure form must be filed within 15 days of returning from the trip. In the Senate, the disclosure form must be filed within 30 days of the trip. Furthermore, Members, Senators and officers, as well as employees who file a Financial Disclosure Statement, must also disclose each such trip on Schedule VII of their annual financial disclosure statement.Billy Long's trip to California in January, paid for by the Heritage Foundation, was not listed on Schedule VII of his annual financial disclosure because it was taken in 2011. But it should be listed on Long's 2011 financial disclosure form.
Also, if Long sold his 1/3 share in Murney and Associates AFTER 12/31/2010, it too will have to be listed on his 2011 financial disclosure. Likewise, if Long, as he said he did, shut the doors on Billy Long Auctions and sold the assets to competitors, that too would show up on Long's 2011 financial disclosure.
At face value, Long's financial disclosure statement raises more questions than it answers.
Bob McCarty is among the many who have repeatedly asked substantive questions of Long and his staff and has repeated been ignored, also questions if the congressman failed to report all his assets:
Another thing the second report shows is handwritten explanations of how Long terminated one of his business enterprises and resigned from positions at three others. It does not, however, explain what happened to the “…third interest in the largest real estate company in Springfield” about which he told Josh Marsh, “I have to sell that.”
Springfield locals tell me that Murney Associates is the biggest real estate firm in town. According to Active Network, they’re correct; the company ranks as the 40th largest independent real estate company in the United States. Unless Congressman Long has a larger firm which he operates “below the radar,” one must assume the first-term congressman has twice failed to report all of his assets on his disclosure forms. After all, there’s no mention of Murney except as a source of earned income.Others are suggesting that Long sold the bulk of Keller-Williams to a relative of the owner of the grocery store at Glenstone and Bennett and went over to Murney and Associates.
As to Long's claims, “I own a third interest in the largest real estate company in Springfield; I have to sell that. Do you want to buy a real estate company today? You know, they’re not worth anything, and I have to give up my real estate broker’s license.” some insiders insinuate that Long never owned any of Murney's company and that this statement is 'just so much bull'.
It is known that Long has never filed paperwork with the Missouri Secretary of State dissolving Billy Long Auctions, LLC; Billy Long Auctioneers Inc; and Billy Long,Inc.
It is not surprising, after all, Billy himself told us he is not a detail person. From the bus garage, January 5, 2011: "Like a horse, it's rode hard and put away wet," quipped Long.
A flashy Southern auctioneer with as much a penchant for cowboy hats as for telling voters that he’s “fed up,” Rep. Billy Long struck electoral gold with his campaign as a bona fide Capitol Hill outsider.How long is that piece of rope? Long enough to hang yourself with.
But Long not only met the insiders, he hired one of them as his chief of staff. Joe Lillis has been legislative director to Rep. Lynn Westmoreland since 2005, and before that, he worked for the Georgia Republican’s predecessor, Rep. Mac Collins (R), and former Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.).
Long declined to comment for this report, but Westmoreland recently recounted giving the inexperienced legislator the advice to hire someone who can guide him through Washington.
“I said, ‘Billy, you’re not a detail person are you?’ He said, ‘Nope,’” Westmoreland told Roll Call. “I said, ‘If you’re not detail-oriented, you better hire somebody who is detail-oriented.’ The ropes are going to be hard enough for a new Member of Congress to learn. If he has eight people or seven people there who are learning the ropes together, that’s going to be a long ride.”