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. S Callahan

    Throw in the benifits...you got to admit...not bad for saying "Yes, we can!" 🙂

    July 1, 2009 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  2. Karen in Ohio

    A few things to remember before folks start to complain about the salaries of President Obama's staff.

    1 – Most if not all of the staff have taken pay cuts, some of them quite large, to work for us, the American taxpayor, in this administration.

    2 – In addition to that, many of them have had to uproot their families, and move them to the Washington DC area, where the cost of living is significantly higher.

    3 – They do this knowing that the job requirements are going to be taxing – long hours, few if any holidays, and a constant stress level that will take years off their life expectancy.

    They do this for us, the American people. They do it because they believe in our country. They are patriots, putting their own lives on hold for 4 or hopefully 8 years of President Obama's time in the White House.

    Before you sit down to write your comments, ask yourself one simple question – Would you sacrifice your life for the next 8 years for your country? Would you uproot your family, take a pay cut, and sign up for 80 hour work weeks?

    For me, all I can do is say Thank You to all who serve in President Obama's administration. God bless you for your integrity, your committment to our nation, and your patriotism.

    July 1, 2009 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  3. linda skyosi

    Excuse me??
    $172,000 plus health insurance and other benefits?!
    While a third of the country goes to bed hungry and can't afford health insurance because they are taxed to the hilt to cover these outrageous salaries and benefits.
    These federal jerks work for us and yet they are paid better than we,
    their employers.

    July 1, 2009 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  4. Gill

    At least we are getting our money's worth with these Obama staffers!

    July 1, 2009 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  5. GIBBS

    they are all paid too much! is obama going to tax them too! ok people....get ready to pay up.....spread the wealth workers....us welfare people need more money......yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 1, 2009 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  6. Honest Independent

    I wonder how much money ACORN and the SEIU are giving them to support their struggles?

    July 1, 2009 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  7. R D Ehrenborg

    Recession hasn't hurt those people. I realize they live in the Washington area, but $172,000 is a lot of money. I'm sure they have alot of other perks we don't hear about......

    July 1, 2009 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  8. Jim

    President Obama i want a job!

    July 1, 2009 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  9. demwit

    Meanwhile..., 618,000 hard working Americans were laidoff last week.

    July 1, 2009 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  10. Gary

    Most of these cabinet members and advisors are multimillionaires, do they really need to take their high pay even when the economy is struggling so? Somehow we need to look for ways to reduce the government size, cost and salaries. I would encourage every Administration employee to take no more than $100K at least until the economy comes back.

    July 1, 2009 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  11. Carole

    Ahhh....this transperancy feels so good! Now, if only Cheney could go back in hiding.

    July 1, 2009 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  12. WIlly Brown

    This is news because?

    July 1, 2009 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  13. cal

    I wanna be a fat cat democrat and give away all the American people's hard earned money to my rich friends in Wall Street and the Car industry.

    July 1, 2009 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  14. Taxed to death (almost)

    Since we pay the salaries can we vote on how much to cap them at instead of letting the political allies making that decision for us?

    July 1, 2009 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    so how much is mom getting to keep the kids

    July 1, 2009 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  16. Jon

    It's incredible to believe that the taxpayers of this country are paying Robert Gibbs $172,000 to get up on stage every day so that he can refuse to answer questions from the press, answer staged questions and in general, lie through his teeth at all other times because either Rahm the Nazi or Obama the Idiot told him to.

    July 1, 2009 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  17. sammy payne

    What are the "czar's" making?

    July 1, 2009 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  18. Walter

    How about a list of all the czar's that dictator Obama has made appear out of thin air. We're paying for them too and those aren't even constitutional positions. He just created them as another layer of robots to brainwash people with higher taxes, govco health, govco motors, a pay czar, a consumer rights czar, soon will be a thermostat czar, air conditioning czar, potato chip czar, burger czar, and of course a czar to oversee the czars who reports directly to king Barack Insane Obma.

    July 1, 2009 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  19. Operation Crush Rush

    Thats good money,but nowhere near what Limbaugh makes for telling lies for exxonMobil.His real salary is unknown because its all bag money thats put in Swiss and offshore accts.

    July 1, 2009 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  20. Ken


    I agree about the taxes. But they are STILL Dubya's taxes. The Obama tax changes don't take effect until NEXT year. Did you complain last year to George???

    July 1, 2009 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  21. dn

    Jonathan Favreau is 27 years old. Exactly what has he done to deserve a $172,200 salary other than write exactly what Mr. Obama tells him to write?

    July 1, 2009 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  22. Mark Knox

    It's funny to hear those of you whining about how much these people make. I guess you didn't catch the fact that their salaries are capped where Bush's folks were paid. I'd say the people who are tasked with getting us out of the mess we're in ought to be paid at least as much as those that got us into it.

    July 1, 2009 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  23. Tim

    And, because it would be preposerous for anyone taking government money to get any sort of bonus, they have all agreed to turn any money over to the government should they ever decide to write a book or lobby the government.

    Change for fools!

    July 1, 2009 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  24. Bill

    What they make doesn't concern me. It really isn't that much compared to the private sector. But what does concern me is that Obama has more staffers going in than Bush had at the end of his term. But then again he needs all the help he can get.

    July 1, 2009 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  25. tjaman

    Yeah! Why don't they work for free?! You pinheads. Wall Streeters, bankers and insurance CEOs make orders of magnitude above these salaries, and D.C. is an expensive place to live. Plus the first graf talks about the pay freeze.

    It's probably why he released these numbers - that and it's his job - to demonstrate that not a single one of these people is in it for the paycheck. They're all way too talented to be taking such a hit.

    This indeed is leadership by example. Keep applying that pressure, sir!

    July 1, 2009 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
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