Mitch McConnell: I Didn’t Earn My Millions, I Inherited Them

One of the most hotly contested issues in the Kentucky Senate race is over the minimum wage. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is against raising the minimum wage to even a modest $10.10 an hour, while his opponent, Alison Lundgeran Grimes (D), is for raising it. In a debate on Monday night, McConnell took a strange defense of his own wealth, saying he didn’t earn his wealth as a Senator, despite a salary of much, much more than $10.10 an hour. He bragged instead that he inherited it.

In the debate, Grimes accused McConnell of getting “rich while consistently voting to keep Kentucky poor and we can’t have a senator like that any longer.”

Image courtesy of Flickr

Image courtesy of Flickr

McConnell “defended” himself in the following exchange:

McCONNELL: I can’t let that stand. She’s been given four Pinocchios for that as well.

GRIMES: So you’re not a multimillionaire?

McCONNELL: To claim that I got rich at public expense — she knows that that’s a result of an inheritance that my wife got when her mother passed away. And she’s consistently gone around, Bill, all over the state, and suggested that I’ve somehow enriched myself at public expense.

Let me tell you, her family has made more money off the government in the last 10 years than I’ve been paid in a salary in all my time in the Senate. That is an outrageous suggestion. She knows it’s wrong. She’s been given four Pinocchios repeatedly for continuing to say that.

Source: Huffington Post

As Senate Majority Leader, McConnell is one of the highest paid members of Congress. He earnsĀ $193,400 a year. While that salary wouldn’t classify him as “wealthy,” he’s certainly doing vastly better than any minimum wage employee. However, despite being far from the richest upon entering the Senate in 1984, today he’s in the top 10% of wealthiest Senators, with a net wealth of $22.8 million.

McConnell is correct in that it appears that most of his wealth was inherited from his wife’s mother, who inherited it from his wife’s father. McConnell is married to former George W. Bush Labor Secretary Elaine Chao. Her father ran a company that hurt the labor market far more than it helped it. He imported Chinese made goods to be sold in the U.S.

That’s not where the hypocrisy stops when it comes to Mitch McConnell and jobs. The man who professes to be of the “party of the private sector” has never actually had a private sector job, so one could say it’s accurate that McConnell didn’t earn his money. He made it the old fashioned way.