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The Richest Member of Congress Drives a Lexus LS 460

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author photo by Doug DeMuro August 2016

When I visit Washington, D.C., one of my favorite activities -- aside from standing in the field next to the Washington Monument and taking photos in which I pretend to hold it up -- involves looking for cars driven by our senators and representatives to Congress. They all have special license plates that display their district number and say "U.S. Senator" or "Member of Congress," and I find it tremendously interesting to see what they're driving.

The reason for this is obvious: The only real way to assess the decision-making capabilities of our elected officials is to judge them by what car they drive.

Unfortunately, I'm almost always disappointed, as most senators and representatives choose simple, dull, down-to-earth daily drivers -- a Honda CR-V or a Cadillac CTS, for example. A Chevy Impala or a Chrysler 300. A Jeep Grand Cherokee or a Ford Escape Hybrid. Nothing that will ever make you stop and say, "Wow! I'm voting for that guy! He's driving a Volvo V70R with a stick shift!"

The exception: Congressman Darrell Issa, who represents California's 49th district, near San Diego. He's driving around in an unusually luxurious Lexus LS 460, which currently starts at $73,500 with shipping. But this probably shouldn't be very surprising. With a net worth of more than $250 million, Representative Issa is the wealthiest member of Congress.

And Rep. Issa might know a thing or two about cars because he earned his fortune in the car business. Way back in the 1990s, during the height of the car alarm craze (Remember the "Woop Woop" sound when you locked your doors?), Rep. Issa founded a car alarm business dubbed Directed Electronics that counted General Motors, Ford and Toyota among the clients for his Viper-branded alarms. You may remember Viper because if you stepped too close to a vehicle equipped with a Viper alarm, it notoriously announced, "Please step away from the car." And Rep. Issa? He supplied the voice.

Needless to say, I took this picture from a safe distance.

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The Richest Member of Congress Drives a Lexus LS 460 - Autotrader