The 16 Biggest Political Losers

Becoming a millionaire or billionaire is remarkably difficult — after all, if it wasn’t, we’d all be doing it right now — but, unfortunately, losing millions or billions of dollars is remarkably easy.

People will often say you have to spend money to make money. Well, these 16 people apparently misinterpreted that as meaning throw away all of your money. Whether they lost it as a result of bad business decisions, lack of foresight, or even criminal prosecution, these 16 current and former politicians are the biggest (financial) losers in history:

Rick Perry

Who Is He? Former Governor of Texas, Former GOP Presidential Candidate

Rick Perry began his political career in the Texas legislature in 1984 and eventually made it to Lieutenant Governor of Texas under George W Bush in 1998. In 2000, Bush left office to become the President of the United States, passing the governor seat down to Perry.

Perry attempted to follow in Bush’s footsteps in 2012 but didn’t quite make it, losing the GOP nomination to Mitt Romney. After multiple scandals including the blatantly racist name of his family hunting camp, his open criticism of gay people in the military, and just generally fumbling with debates and speeches, he dropped out of the race in January 2012.

Andrew Cline /

Andrew Cline /

This time around, he didn’t even make it that far. He dropped out of the race this summer after news came out the campaign had stopped paying salaries because Perry had literally gone broke. To make matters more ridiculous, Perry went broke despite the fact that Opportunity and Freedom, a dedicated pro-Perry super PAC, is still sitting on $13 million in cash. His promise to create more jobs apparently couldn’t even extend past the primary election.

Thomas Jefferson

Who Is He? Former President of the United States

Thomas Jefferson—better known as our third president and one of the founding fathers—was not immune to the consequences of being terrible with money. For all the other great things he accomplished, budgeting and living within his means were definitely not his strong point.

He went broke, not from blowing all his money on his presidential campaign, but from building a massive plantation home called Monticello. He used credit to buy rare and expensive books, exorbitantly priced wines, art, furniture and even silver.

chrisdorney /

chrisdorney /

While most presidents managed to leave their descendants assets, Jefferson left his a mansion that was about the same size as his huge pile of unpaid debt. His descendants ultimately had to sell it for parts in order to pay off the creditors—the creditors who lent money in order to build and furnish the same home that would later be sold off to pay them back.

Rick Renzi

Who Is He? Former Arizona Congressman

Returning back to modern times, you’ve got Rick Renzi. He served as congressman in Arizona’s first district from 2003 to 2009. His term ended after he was indicted on 32 separate counts of corruption. He pled not guilty but was later found guilty on 17 of them. That must have been one of the longest jury discussion in history, individually debating each of the 32 charges.

In 2013, he earned 3 years in prison, lost his job, and left his wife and 14—yes, fourteen—children to fend for themselves while he serves out his sentence.

Speaking of Rick Renzi’s family: his wife is named Roberta Renzi and all 14 of his children have names beginning with R. You would think by around the 8th or 9th kid, you’d run out of good ideas for R-names.

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