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Highest-paid employees in the White House

  • Highest-paid employees in the White House

    The recent White House salary report to Congress has revealed some surprises. One is that the highest-paid person in the white house—besides the president—is an assistant.

    With any large organization, the pay is typically a reflection of how important the staffer is perceived. For example, the highest-paid employee of many Division I Football Bowl Subdivision universities is not the president of the university or the provost, but the head coach of the men's football team. This is most likely because football is the leading revenue driver for not just the athletic department, but typically the academic departments, too.

    Pay for federal employees is based on established pay rate tables and congressional mandates, but the White House has managed to find ways to reward loyalists with higher-paying positions. One way to do this is to make a staffer a detailee—a "borrowed" position from a different executive branch agency.

    A detailee is a federal employee that's temporarily assigned to a different workstation and work title. Being assigned a detailee allows the employee to collaborate with a different branch, work with a non-federal body, or take on a separate federal position removed from current obligations. A detailee would be paid at the pay rate of his or her home agency but would be able to work at the White House.

    Stacker compiled a list of the 50 highest-paid White House employees using data from the Annual Report to Congress On White House Office Personnel. The data presented is current as of June 28, 2019, and lists 418 employees as working for the executive office of the branch. As there were several high-profile resignations in July 2019, these have been denoted where relevant. The president of the United States makes $400,000 per year, while the vice president currently makes $230,700—less than the highest-paid White House staffer. The report lists the name of each employee, their position in the White House, their employment status, their salary, and the pay basis for each salary, which is per annum for each employee.

    The 50 White House employees on this list were ranked by their salaries, and any ties were indicated in slide titles. This list does not consider elected officials or employees that officially have a salary of $0, such as Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner.

    Keep reading to find out which highly paid White House staffer's previous experience included being a third-grade teacher.

    You may also like: Your guide to the Cabinet of the United States

  • #50. Martin J. Dannenfelser (tie)

    - Salary: $166,500
    - Position title: Senior policy advisor
    - Status: Detailee
    - Pay basis: Per annum

    Before joining the White House, Martin J. Dannenfelser served five and a half years as the senior policy advisor and coalitions director for the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. He also served as the director of external relations for the Energy Innovation Project and deputy assistant secretary and senior policy advisor at the Department of Health and Human Services.

  • #50. Nancy B. Beck (tie)

    - Salary: $166,500
    - Position title: Policy advisor
    - Status: Detailee
    - Pay basis: Per annum

    Nancy B. Beck was the senior director for regulatory science policy for the American Chemistry Council, where she worked to improve chemical risk assessments. In 2017, Beck joined the Environmental Protection Agency as the deputy assistant administrator for Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.

  • #29. Kathryn C. Todd (tie)

    - Salary: $168,000
    - Position title: Deputy counsel to the president
    - Status: Employee
    - Pay basis: Per annum

    Kathryn Comerford Todd was the former senior vice president and chief counsel for the U.S. Chamber Litigation Center, which serves as the litigation arm of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Todd also served as a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas during the 2000 term.

  • #29. Amy H. Swonger (tie)

    - Salary: $168,000
    - Position title: Deputy assistant to the president and deputy director of legislative affairs
    - Status: Employee
    - Pay basis: Per annum

    Before joining the White House, Amy Swonger was the senior manager of the Washington Council Ernst & Young and a member of Heather Podesta + Partners. A lobbyist, Swonger lobbied for Aetna, American Bankers Association, Airlines for America, Boeing, Cigna, Dish Network, The Dow Chemical Company, Exxon Mobil Corporation, Reynolds American, and many others.

  • #29. Roger L. Stone (tie)

    - Salary: $168,000
    - Position title: Deputy assistant to the president and director of White House Information Technology
    - Status: Employee
    - Pay basis: Per annum

    Roger L. Stone—who is a different individual from the currently indicted political operative Roger J. Stone—is the White House chief information officer. The office was created by President Barack Obama in 2015 to “have the primary authority to establish and coordinate the necessary policies and procedures for operating and maintaining the information resources and information systems provided to the president, vice president, and EOP [Executive Office of the President].” Stone joined the federal government during the Obama administration as a staffer of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

  • #29. Ory S. Rinat (tie)

    - Salary: $168,000
    - Position title: Deputy assistant to the president and chief digital officer
    - Status: Employee
    - Pay basis: Per annum

    Ory S. Rinat worked previously as a teacher at General Assembly, a for-profit college, and as an employee for the conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation. He also worked as a self-employed marketing consultant.

  • #29. Julie T. Radford (tie)

    - Salary: $168,000
    - Position title: Deputy assistant to the president and chief of staff to the advisor
    - Status: Employee
    - Pay basis: Per annum

    Julie T. Radford is the chief of staff for Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump. Radford formerly worked in the George W. Bush administration as an assistant to the then-Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings.

  • #29. Michael M. Purpura (tie)

    - Salary: $168,000
    - Position title: Deputy counsel to the president
    - Status: Employee
    - Pay basis: Per annum

    Michael M. Purpura is the White House counsel assigned to lead the response against congressional investigations on the White House. Purpura formerly served as a federal prosecutor and a Justice Department official.

  • #29. Patrick F. Philbin (tie)

    - Salary: $168,000
    - Position title: Deputy counsel to the president
    - Status: Employee
    - Pay basis: Per annum

    Patrick F. Philbin was a controversial figure in the George W. Bush administration. Philbin was the deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel before moving on to be an associate deputy general in the Office of the Deputy Attorney General. Philbin helped to convince Bush that the former president could charge Guantanamo detainees before military commissions. He was also one of the Justice Department staffers that rushed to then-Attorney General John Ashcroft’s hospital bed to try to block other staffers from persuading Ashcroft to reverse James Comey’s decision to block renewal on the warrantless wiretap program. This earned Philbin the ire of then-Vice President Dick Cheney.

  • #29. Timothy A. Pataki (tie)

    - Salary: $168,000
    - Position title: Deputy assistant to the president and director of the Office of Public Liaison
    - Status: Employee
    - Pay basis: Per annum

    Timothy A. Pataki previously served the Trump administration as the special assistant to the president for legislative affairs and the special assistant to the president and deputy director of the Office of Public Liaison. He also worked in the staff of then-House Majority Leader (currently, the House Minority Leader) Kevin McCarthy and former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

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