In GOP Senate battle, McMahon's finances dwarf Shays' holidings
The S&P 500 is suffering from a case of envy -- courtesy of Linda McMahon.
The two-time Republican Senate candidate and her famous husband, Vince, own between $92 million and $355 million in stocks, bonds and other securities that routinely pay the power couple millions in dividends and interest, according to an analysis of McMahon's 2011 financial disclosure report that was filed with the secretary of the Senate.
Candidates and sitting members of Congress are not required to give a specific amount of their investment holdings, just a range.
The couple's joint portfolio runs the gamut, from publicly traded stocks such as Apple, Target, McDonald's and Whole Foods Market, to municipal bonds in their home state of Connecticut, as well as private hedge fund investments.
A major narrative of McMahon's second campaign, like her first, is that she and her husband had to overcome personal bankruptcy before they could realize prosperity.
"As she meets with people across the state, her story is something people relate to," Isaac said.
Isaac additionally referred to video on McMahon's campaign website in which the professional wrestling magnate from Greenwich voiced her support for the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge or STOCK Act.
The ethics bill, which is grinding its way through Congress, bars lawmakers and their aides from insider trading.
"I will insist that my investments be put in a blind trust account that I will neither see nor have any control over," McMahon said in the video, which was released last month. "I strongly believe members of Congress should be treated the same as everyone else, no preferences, and there should be zero opportunities for personal gain."
Upon request, both the McMahon and Shays campaigns provided copies of their financial disclosure statements.
A separate request for the candidates' tax returns was denied by McMahon's campaign. Tax returns were not immediately available from Shays, whose campaign said he had not done his taxes yet this year.
In 2010, Linda and Vince McMahon filed joint tax returns. They paid just under 25 percent in federal and state taxes, and donated $1,750,000 individually and through their foundation, according to McMahon's campaign, which said it had released more than 100 pages of disclosure materials.
McMahon's financial disclosure report covers 105 pages, compared to just six pages for Shays, who lost his seat of 21 years in the House during the 2008 election.
McMahon, who three years ago this month rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange when she was chief executive of World Wrestling Entertainment, earned between $8.2 million and $29.9 million in interest and dividends with her husband over a 12-month period ending Oct. 20, 2011.
State Republican Chairman Jerry Labriola Jr. downplayed the wealth factor of McMahon, who spent $50 million on an unsuccessful bid for Senate in 2010 after leaving the executive ranks of WWE.
"Someone's financial accomplishments should not negate their ability to connect with people," Labriola said.
Matt Wylie, the campaign manager for Shays, characterized it as presumptuous of McMahon to be discussing blind trusts.
Between three bank savings accounts and one at a credit union, Shays listed between $117,004 and $330,000 in assets. His home near the Chesapeake Bay is valued between $1 million and $5 million, generating $5,001 to $15,000 in annual dock rental income. Shays did not list any stock holdings.
McMahon listed her spouse as owning over $1 million in WWE stock on her report, which did not require her to give a range because Vince McMahon's assets in the wrestling entertainment conglomerate are independently held.
The McMahons' joint stock holdings include $100,001 to $250,000 in each of the following companies -- Bed Bath & Beyond, Costco, IBM, Intel, Nike, Target, Verizon, Whole Foods Markets and Priceline.com.
The couple owns between $50,001 and $100,000 of stocks in the following companies -- Starbucks, Time Warner Inc. and Tiffany & Co.
They also have substantial holdings in the bond market, owning some $34 million to $121 million in assets. In addition to general obligation bonds of the state of Connecticut and the University of Connecticut, the couple is invested in municipal bonds for the following cities and towns -- Norwalk, Wilton, Danbury, Glastonbury, Newtown, New Milford and Middletown.
"We wouldn't have any schools, roads or bridges if people didn't invest in municipal bonds," Labriola said.
The couple also owns between $500,001 and $1 million in state of New Jersey Tobacco Settlement bonds, which are tax-free bonds backed by the revenue from the landmark 1998 settlement between four tobacco companies and 46 states.
Non-publicly traded assets accounted for between $5.7 and $18.5 million of the McMahons' total portfolio.
Of that, $1 million to $5 million is tied up in UBS Quadrangle Fund LLC, which is a hedge fund that invests primarily in media companies.
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