WASHINGTON — Rep. Dennis Cardoza, D-Merced, seriously entered the horse race business last year, newly filed disclosure statements show.
Cardoza reported buying seven horses, with names including Regrettable Romance, Dad's Little Man and Beau American. His best horses, in turn, earned Cardoza tens of thousands of dollars.
"This is something I always wanted to do, all of my life," Cardoza said Wednesday, "and I finally reached a financial place where I was able to do it."
As a House member, currently serving on the House Agriculture Committee, Cardoza is earning $174,000 this year. His wife is a physician; she isn't required to report her annual income.
Their financial picture is laid out in the annual disclosure statements completed last month and formally made public Wednesday. The statements illuminate specific investments, assets and losses, but sometimes are ambiguous on how much money is involved.
The statements show, for instance, that Cardoza's San Joaquin Valley congressional colleagues maintain their own rural investments.
Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Visalia, is a partner in a winery, and Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, has earnings from a farm.
Some of the valley's congressional candidates follow the same pattern. State Sen. Jeff Denham of Atwater, now the Republican congressional candidate in the 19th Congressional District that stretches from Modesto to Fresno, reported income from an Atwater area farm.
In some cases, the lawmakers and candidates report precise dollar amounts. Cardoza, for instance, reported earning $1,451.72 from two online betting operations, called XpressBet and TVG.com. "TVG is the number one wagering Web site and horse racing network in the USA," the company's Web site states.
In many cases, though, the lawmakers and candidates need only report dollar amounts in ranges.
On April 9, 2009, for instance, Cardoza reported spending $15,001 to $50,000 for Regrettable Romance. By the end of the year, he reported having earned $50,001 to $100,000 from the horse's performances.
"I have one that's my favorite, a real sweetheart," Cardoza said, referring to Regrettable Romance.
All told, Cardoza reported spending $49,000 to $210,000 on buying racehorses last year. In prize money, the horses were reported to have earned $70,000 to $165,000.
None of the valley members' financial holdings can compare with those of Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, whose report spanned 141 pages to cover her investments and those of her husband, Richard Blum. The reported investments were in everything from a radio show syndicated by longtime Democratic activist Bill Press to a boutique San Francisco toy company that makes "premium quality" action figures.
Rep. Jerry McNerney, the Pleasanton Democrat whose district includes portions of San Joaquin County, reported having two patents, including one for a "wind turbine load control method." In neither case, though, did McNerney report income from the patents.
Bee Washington Bureau reporter Michael Doyle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-383-0006.