Who are the wealthiest presidential candidates in Election 2012, and how much are they worth?
It's tough to say, precisely. Federal election laws don't require candidates to disclose the exact value of their assets. Instead, they require office-seekers to provide only an estimated range of wealth.
Still, those annual financial disclosures provide a useful snapshot of the personal wealth of those running for and elected to federal office.
So, back to the original question: Who are the wealthiest presidential candidates?
Here's a look at each at each of the five leading contenters in the 2012 presidential race.
The information is based on public statements made by the candidates, personal financial disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission, and both media and watchdog accounts of their net worth.
Romney is not only the wealthiest presidential candidate in Election 2012, but the wealthiest presidential candidate since billionaire Steve Forbes ran in 2000, according to the research firm Wealth-X. Romney is worth between $85 million and $264 million, according to published reports about his personal financial disclosure.
The Wealth-X analysis found Romney is among the 3,140 richest individuals in the United States.
To put Romney's wealth into perspective, here are the other wealthiest presidential candidates through history:
- Ross Perot, worth at least $3.58 billion while a candidate for president in 1992 and 1996
- Steve Forbes, worth at least $450 million while a candidate for president in 1996 and 2000
- John Kerry, worth at least $240 million while a candidate for president in 2004
- Al Gore, worth least least $100 million while a candidate for president in 2000
- Bill Clinton, worth at least $85 million while serving as president from 2003 to 2001
Gingrich, a former U.S. House speaker, is worth between $6.7 million and $30.1 million, according to an analysis of his personal financial disclosure by Bankrate.com.
Gingrich's sources of income include dividend payments from Gingrich Productions of more than $2.4 million a year. The company is described as a performance and production company featuring the work of Gingrich and his wife Callista.
ABC News' The Note has reported that Gingrich also got paid $60,000 every time he spoke to a group in his post-congressional career.
President Barack Obama is worth between $2.8 million and $11.8 million, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan research organization that tracks money in politics.
Obama is the fourth-wealthiest member of the executive branch. He earns $400,000 a year as president, and has reported income from sales of his popular books Dreams From My Father and The Audacity of Hope.
U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas is worth between $1.9 million and $5.2 million, ranking him in the top fifth among the 435 member of the U.S. House of Representatives in personal wealth, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Among Paul's sources of income are his affiliation with a Texas real estate firm and a medical pension annuity of more than $91,000.
The former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania is worth between $526,070 and $2.6 million, according to his personal financial disclosures. That makes him the least wealthy of the five leading contenders for president in 2012.
Much of Santorum's income came from consulting contracts with a coal and natural-gas company, a faith-advocacy group and Washington lobbying firm, according to an analysis of his financial disclosures by the Tampa Bay Times.