July 1st, 2009
09:25 PM ET
13 years ago

White House releases staff salary list

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/20/art.rahm0120.gi.jpg caption="White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel's salary has maxed out."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Top-level staff members of the Obama White House earn the same amount as their predecessors in the Bush administration, according to a report submitted to Congress Wednesday. The president announced the pay freeze on his first full day in office for White House employees earning more than $100,000.

The report, which a 1994 law requires be submitted annually to Senate and House oversight committees, shows 487 employees on the White House personnel list. Of those, 455 are employed directly by the White House, while an additional 32 are so-called "detailees" on loan from other federal agencies.

Among the actual employees, 122 staffers earn more than $100,000 annually, compared to 125 employees in the final year of the Bush administration. Twenty-two Obama White House staffers make the top possible salary of $172,200, compared to 18 employees who made that amount in the Bush White House.

Obama White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and press secretary Robert Gibbs both make the top amount, as did their Bush counterparts Joshua Bolten and Dana Perino. Other top Obama aides who earn the maximum salary are senior adviser David Axelrod, White House Counsel Gregory Craig, communications director Anita Dunn, speechwriting director Jonathan Favreau, senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, National Security Adviser James Jones, and National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers.

The highest-paid White House staff member is Public Health Policy Director David Marcozzi, who earns $192,934. However, as a detailee from the Department of Health and Human Services, his salary is not paid directly by the White House.


David Axelrod
Assistant to the President and Senior Adviser

Melody Barnes
Assistant to the President and and Director of the Domestic Policy Council

John Brennan
Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Adviser for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security

Elizabeth Brown
Assistant to the President and Staff Secretary

Carol Browner
Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change

Gregory Craig
Assistant to the President and Counsel to the President

Thomas Donilon
Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Adviser

Anita Dunn
Assistant to the President and Director of Communications

Rahm Emanuel
Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff

Jonathan Favreau
Assistant to the President and Director of Speechwriting

Patrick Gaspard
Assistant to the President and Director of Political Affairs

Robert Gibbs
Assistant to the President and Press Secretary

Valerie Jarrett
Senior Adviser and Assistant to the President and for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement

James Jones
National Security Adviser

Christopher Lu
Assistant to the President and Cabinet Secretary

Alyssa Mastromonaco
Assistant to the President and Director of Scheduling and Advance

James Messina
Assistant to the President and and Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations

Peter Rouse
Assistant to the President and Senior Adviser

Philip Schiliro
Assistant to the President and Director, Office of Legislative Affairs

Susan Sher
Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to the First Lady

Lawrence Summers
Assistant to the President for Economic Policy and Director of the National Economic Council

Mona Sutphen
Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy

Complete list published by the White House (PDF)

Filed under: Extra • Obama administration
soundoff (155 Responses)
  1. Robin in Tampa, FL

    The lion share of the people on that list are middle income works who make below $40K. Many of these folks could easily earn 2-3 more if they chose to work in the private sector.

    July 1, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  2. Robin in Tampa, FL

    There are close to 500 people on that list and only 1/5 of them earn over $100,000 the rest make far less money.

    July 1, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  3. Enough

    And we wonder why our taxes are so high?? They get the best salaries and the best health care, compliments of the tax payers. Nice when you get to determine your own salary at other peoples expense. This should be voted on by the taxpayers!!

    July 1, 2009 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  4. Palin fan

    No surprises here.

    July 1, 2009 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  5. makesUwonder

    What about all the PERKS these people get. Guess Obama forgot to mention that one. Good Lord, I have never seen so many "Assistant" positions in my life.

    July 1, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  6. mich

    What about all the Czar's what do they earn? How much money are we paying them. Their part of the WH staff.

    July 1, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  7. Carlos

    Glad he doesn't want to cap his peoples pay.

    July 1, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  8. phoenix86

    What about all these czars Obama has appointed, how much are they costing the taxpayer?

    July 1, 2009 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  9. phoenix86

    487 people on the White House staff. Obama could never get to the top job in the private sector, that's for sure.

    July 1, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  10. Mick

    Why does the world need to know this?

    July 1, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  11. johnnie

    so what,how much does lou dobbs , john king ,bill bennett, john roberts , dana bash, make.why dont cnn show their salaries, and cnn why dont you just grow up,what is the big deal. who cares, we need to investagate cnn, oh and how much does ricardo sanchez make?

    July 1, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  12. mike

    All are underqualified and overpaid.

    July 1, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  13. Rob

    We see from this list that the salaries of all the Obamaczars are kept secret from the taxpayers.

    July 1, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  14. They deserve every penny

    Every member of the White House staff is incredibly talented and deserve every cent they're paid. Most of them could be making double or triple their salaries in the private sector, but they chose to serve our country in our time of great need, and I for one, thank them all.

    July 1, 2009 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  15. John M in NoHo, CA

    I don't think that's extravagant, considering what CEOs make. Not at all.

    July 1, 2009 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  16. Mark in Miami

    He's spending more than Bush in everyway possible. NONE OF OBAMAS STAFFERS ARE WORTH THAT MUCH MONEY! SHAME ON YOU, OBAMA!

    July 1, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  17. John from ABQ New Mexico

    That's interesting. I thought white house officials made more money than that. I'm really surprised because my university president and 18 or so vice presidents make much much more than the highest paid white house officials.

    July 1, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  18. Mom

    They all deserve to earn more than 172K plus.

    July 1, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  19. Scott

    these people are assistants for god sake....being paid over one hundred thousand dollars....I am a school teacher and only earn fifty four thousand per year.....?????????????????????????

    July 1, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  20. Mike

    how about these politicians start working for a ceremonial dollar a year until the federal government gets out of bankruptcy. The execs from the auto industry were asked to do the same thing.

    July 1, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  21. Tina

    I can't believe how rediculously low some of these salaried are. How do you survive on $36,000 a year living in Washington D.C. / Virginia?

    I glad to see I make more than some of these people.

    July 1, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  22. This is Obama's idea.....

    of the redistribution of wealth? It seems he only wants to redistribute YOUR wealth, not that of his friends.

    Don't ever listen to what Obama says: watch what he DOES.

    July 1, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  23. Terry Valeriote

    I am surprised at the low salaries. I thought the U.S. would treats its people better and not be so cheap. With the responsibilities these people have, they deserve at least $500,000 a year and your President should be making no less than a couple of million a year.

    Terry Valeriote

    July 1, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  24. Robin

    Looks like Obama is "spreading the wealth".

    July 1, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  25. Franky, Land of Lincoln

    This is a disgrace, I'm embarrassed by this. Well, for starters, they don't make that much, is cool but is not like they're shaking people down...Nixon did that, LOL!! But the point is I don't wanna know, I don't. I got in trouble for asking in college and now I'm finding out one of the most prestigious places on earth has a bounty on. Good lord, no wonder everyone deserves...

    Yeah, that sounded good, right? Sweet! 🙂 LOL!!!

    July 1, 2009 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
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