Wealthy White House staffers' finances
detailed in new disclosures
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[April 01, 2017]
By Roberta Rampton and Ayesha Rascoe
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald
Trump on Friday released details of the personal finances of his
staffers late on Friday, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner and
daughter Ivanka, confirming that he has surrounded himself with some
very affluent advisers.
White House ethics officials said the legally required disclosure
documents provided a snapshot of assets and positions held by personnel
when they first entered their new jobs at the White House, and before
they started selling stocks and other assets that could pose conflicts
The White House disclosed Gary Cohn, former Goldman Sachs president and
now head of the White House National Economic Council, had assets worth
at least $230 million, but possibly much more. Little information was
given on several of his assets and only indicated they were worth more
than $1 million.
Cohn had income ranging from $48 million to nearly $77 million in the
year preceding his engagement in the White House, though it could be
Jared Kushner’s 54-page report – which included most of the assets and
income of his wife Ivanka Trump - included scores of assets worth six-
The New York Times reported that the couple’s real estate and investment
empire was worth as much as $741 million. Kushner held executive
positions with 266 LLCs, corporations, groups and non-profits, which he
has resigned from since January.
Democratic lawmakers have expressed concern about potential conflicts of
interest for Kushner, who like Trump is a New York real estate
Trump this week officially added his daughter Ivanka to his staff. She
had a fashion business and was involved in her father's global real
estate development business, but stepped aside from managing the
businesses when her father entered the White House.
Senior adviser Steve Bannon's pre-White House bank accounts, real estate
and other holdings were valued at between $3.3 million and $12.6
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus had assets of between $604,000
and $1.16 million and income of $1.42 million. About $566,000 of his
income came from the Republican National Committee and the rest from his
partnership in a Milwaukee law firm.
Neither Trump nor Vice President Mike Pence's assets were included in
Trump has faced questions about conflicts of interest with his hotel and
golf course businesses since his election in November. He has handed off
control to his two oldest sons, but ethics watchdogs have complained
that the arrangements do not go far enough to avoid conflicts, and have
urged Trump to divest fully or set up a blind trust for his assets.
Trump, a real estate magnate and television celebrity with no political
experience before he was elected president, has brought in some
high-net-worth people to advise him.
For example, Reed Cordish, a Baltimore real estate developer before he
become Trump's technology adviser, disclosed pre-White House assets of
between $92 million and $798 million. He had income of between $48
million and $55 million.
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President Donald Trump talks to senior staff Steve Bannon and Jared
Kushner during a swearing in ceremony for senior staff at the White
House in Washington, DC. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
"These are incredibly successful individuals, very high-net worth,
very sophisticated complex asset structures, numerous sub LLCs,
trusts and other items, all of which have to be worked through," a
senior White House ethics official told reporters before the data
Wealthy senior White House staff have to enter into ethics
agreements where they agree to resign from positions and divest from
assets. Copies of those agreements were not available.
The White House said the independent Office of Government Ethics,
which reviews financial disclosures to help executive branch
officials avoid conflicts of interest, has classified about 25
percent of Trump White House staffers as having "extremely complex"
reports, meaning the filers are very wealthy.
In contrast, only a sliver of the staffers in former Democrat
President Barack Obama's White House fell into the "extremely
complex" category, according to pie charts released by the White
House. No numbers accompanied the charts.
Almost three-quarters of the Obama White House filers had disclosure
statements that were rated "simple" or "moderate" while only a third
of the Trump filers were in those categories.
Not all of Trump's advisers were gold-plated before joining the
government. Peter Navarro, Trump’s trade adviser, earned a
relatively modest $240,000 from University of California-Irvine,
with less than $1,000 in royalties from the book “Death by China” in
the past year, and speaking fees from the Casket and Funeral Supply
Association and other groups.
Omarosa Manigault, who rose to fame on Trump's reality show the
Apprentice and now is a White House adviser, had a modest income
under $100,000. The disclosures showed she is a beneficiary of a
trust established by her late fiance, actor Michael Clarke Duncan,
worth between $1 million and $5 million.
Manigault is currently engaged to a Florida pastor. Forms show she
received a wedding dress, veil and accessories worth $25,000 for an
appearance on the reality show "Say Yes to the Dress."
(Corrects grammar in paragraph 9.)
(Reporting by Roberta Rampton, Eric Beech, Ayesha Rascoe and Yasmeen
Abutaleb; Writing by Bill Trott and Roberta Rampton; Editing by
Kevin Drawbaugh and Lisa Shumaker)
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