(CNN Money)-- For the first time ever, more than half of current members of Congress are millionaires, according to a new report from the non-profit Center for Responsive Politics.
Among the 534 current members of Congress, at least 268 had an average net worth of $1 million or more for 2012, the CRP said, citing disclosure forms filed last year. A year ago, the total stood at 257 members, or about 48 percent.
SEE ALSO: 10 Investigates reveals how local congressman take advantage of campaign loopholes
The group said the new figure "represents a watershed moment at a time when lawmakers are debating issues like unemployment benefits, food stamps and theminimum wage, which affect people with far fewer resources, as well as considering an overhaul of the tax code."
CRP executive director Sheila Krumholz said the data reflect the reality that "in our electoral system, candidates need access to wealth to run financially viable campaigns, and the most successful fundraisers are politicians who swim in those circles to begin with."
Related: Fiscal cliff deal stops many tax hikes, but leaves big issues
This year's analysis was complicated by a change in reporting rules that allows lawmakers to report the worth of high-value assets and income as simply "$1 million or more," after previously requiring more specific values.
Rep. Darrell Issa of California, a Republican from California, remains the wealthiest member of Congress, with a net worth that averaged $464 million in 2012 stemming from his car alarm business.
Related: See if your Congressional leader made the list
Bringing up the rear is another member of the California House delegation, David Valadao, who reported an average net worth of negative $12.1 million based on loans to his family dairy farm. Rep. Alcee Hastings of Florida also owes millions of dollars in debt stemming from legal bills incurred in the 1980's after he was charged with taking a bribe while serving as a federal judge.
You may also like...
Weird Florida: A look back at some of the strangest stories of the year
Miracle Baby: Tampa toddler has 5-organ transplant
Broke Bad: Contest winner busted in synthetic drug ring
Here kitty, kitty: Lion escapes enclosure at Pasco sanctuary
Fake Cop: Man arrested 3 times for impersonating officer
Animal tragedy: Girl's miniature horse attacked by dogs
#ShortYellows: Florida quietly shortened yellow lights
Kittens shot: Officer shoots kittens in front of children
Popular photo galleries:
Faces of Meth: Devastating before and after photos of meth abusers
Trayvon Martin Shooting: Trayvon Martin crime scene photos and George Zimmerman injury photos
Hooters Winners: Winners of the 2013 Hooters swimsuit pageant
Rejected: Funny Florida license plates rejected by the DMV***warning graphic***
Deadly sinkhole: Home collapses, man dies in giant sinkhole
Florida Sex Offenders: Look up sex offenders in any Florida neighborhood here
Restaurant Inspections: Look up inspection reports for any Florida restaurant here