White House Staff Salaries Released; 141 Earn $100,000 or More

White House Staff Salaries Released; 141 Earn $100,000 or More

By Alexis Simendinger - July 1, 2011

President Obama pays his most valued senior aides $172,200 a year, while almost a third of White House staff members earned six figures or more during the last year, according to a report describing 454 White House employees and their compensation.

Obama sent a fiscal 2011 salary report to Congress July 1, and released it publicly on the White House website late Friday.

The president could stock a law firm with the 28 attorneys listed in the White House counsel's office and in the office of White House personnel, which helps select and vet Obama's appointees for government service throughout the executive branch. The president enlarged his workforce at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. with at least 26 employees loaned from other departments and agencies. Those workers are known as "detailees," and while Obama benefits from their labors, the White House budget does not have to bear their costs.

Of the all employees on the list, 141 earned $100,000 or more in the year that ended June 30. The bottom-rung for compensation appeared to be $41,000 for administrative and entry-level employees.

Three of the 24 most senior officials with "assistant to the president" business cards earned less than the capped wage of $172,200, the ceiling Obama set for his key advisers. The salary disparity among the team is unusual compared with the compensation practices adopted by Presidents Clinton and Bush for their top advisers. But maintaining the number of his best-paid subordinates at around 21 enables Obama to hover within the bounds established by his predecessors. Since assembling his staff in 2009, the president has gradually shed his fondness for White House über-advisers nicknamed "czars," an organizational model that lawmakers of both parties criticized at the outset of the administration.

The White House reported the salary data to Congress for the just-completed fiscal year, as required by law. However, the report is by no means exhaustive. Obama is not required to provide information about the White House residence staff, the vice president's staff, the employees at the Office of Management and Budget, or other adjunct advisory experts, such as his Council of Economic Advisers.

The president earns $400,000 annually, and Vice President Joe Biden earns $230,700. Because of the vice president's companion role as president of the Senate, many of his staff members are paid by the legislative branch.

The president's White House office staff members -- who enjoy compensation beyond what most Americans can begin to dream about for themselves -- work under an Obama-ordered pay freeze designed to show fiscal restraint. The morning after his inauguration, Obama halted raises for senior White House aides earning $100,000 or more. At the time, the president's team said the pay freeze would "enable the White House to stretch its budget to get more done for the country. The president and his staff recognize that in these austere times, everyone must do more with less, and the White House is no exception."

White House assistants to the president in fiscal 2011

($172,200 annual salary, unless specified):

1. Domestic Policy Council Director Melody Barnes
2. Manufacturing policy, Ron Bloom, $163,000
3. Management and administration, Kiley Bradley, $162,900
4. Homeland security and counterterrorism, John Brennan
5. Press Secretary Jay Carney
6. Deputy Senior Adviser Stephanie Cutter
7. Chief of Staff Bill Daley
8. Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy Nancy-Ann Min DeParle
9. National Security Adviser Tom Donilon
10. Chief of Speechwriting Jonathan Favreau
11. Principal Deputy Director of the National Economic Council Jason Furman, $147,500
12. Senior Adviser for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement Valerie Jarrett
13. Counselor to the Chief of Staff David Lane
14. Cabinet Secretary Christopher Lu
15. Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations Alyssa Mastromonaco
16. Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough
17. Director of the Office of Legislative Affairs Rob Nabors
18. Director of Communications Dan Pfeiffer
19. Senior Adviser David Plouffe
20. Counsel Pete Rouse
21. White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler
22. Special Adviser Phil Schiliro
23. Assistant for Economic Policy and Director of the National Economic Council Gene Sperling
24. Chief of Staff to the First Lady Christina Tchen


Alexis Simendinger covers the White House for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @ASimendinger.

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