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. Bill

    To all the Idiots who are Yapping about White House Staff Salaries:

    1. Only Extraodinary Sharp, Qualified people are Hired in White House.

    2. These Extraodinary Sharp, Qualified people are capable of earning much more than what White House pays them.

    3. So it is worthless to Grumble and make a Fuss.


    July 2, 2009 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  2. Sniffit

    time to cut wages on ALL in govt. R, D, ALL!!!

    July 2, 2009 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  3. daniel

    What's truly amazing is how every story - dental caries, Shake and Bake, Oxy Clean, the lump of green putty a man in Hoboken found in his armpit this morning - becomes an opportunity for Obama bashing from the permanently aggrieved. We get it folks, you don't like him, in fact you loathe him, despise every breath he takes, begrudge him the hair he grows, the food he eats, the unfair advantage he takes of the law of gravity to remain on the earth and of electro magnetism and the strong and weak nuclear forces to keep himself together. But honestly, Johnny One Notes, haven't you got anything else to say? It's wearing mighty thin, and it doesn't take a real keen eye or ear to figure out you're not contributing anything fresh to the national conversation, just hate, hate, hate.

    July 2, 2009 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  4. Roger

    I support the Obama White House Staff. I am OK with their Pay Checks, because they disclose their earnings.

    I am not Ok with undisclosed incomes, such as:

    1. Wall Street Crooks embazzling public money.
    2. Mortgage Lenders defrauding Homeowners.
    3. Oil Cartels' price gauging.
    4. Healthcare Executives accumulating wealth at sick patients' cost.
    5. AIG and Bank of America taking private jet rides from bailed out funds.

    July 2, 2009 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  5. Marie

    Just wondering... why is this a story & why are people so upset? Every adminstration has to hire people.

    Democrats and Republicans really need to figure out how to work together rather than arguing amongst one another. Really – how is this arguing helpful?

    July 2, 2009 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  6. Ha Ha Ha

    What do you all Guys here Expect?

    White House Staff should get paid $ 9 / per Hour...... Ha Ha Ha


    July 2, 2009 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  7. In NC

    These salaries are far less than what these folks should be getting paid. You must remember several things:
    1. They live in DC which is the one of the top three or four most expensive metro areas in the country. At the (disregarding other wealth)highest salaries alone many of the staffers probably can not afford to live within the city limits.
    2. These folks do not work a typical 40 hour week. They all work long hours (60+ hours a week). Many of the top staffers are "on-call" at all times in the instance of a crisis.
    3. These are compentent folks that would command salaries 2-10 times what they are presently earning. Instead of criticizing these folks for the salaries they earn, we should applaud them for being committed to serving the people of this country at a cost to their family, personal life, and personal wealth.

    July 2, 2009 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  8. Sharon

    You know the Bush adminstration was working hard when that 42 year old man was stealing funds from the SSAdmin. and it took someone working in the OBAMA administration to find this guy, was stealing the SSA funds off of his dead mother. To the tune of 100,000.00 By the time he gets out of prison in 25 years he will be 67 years old and ooooops he will have a claim once again. He's one to watch, then his statement "I am my mother". So maybe it will be a senile claim. The guy sure was bold, my mind would never go there, to steal from the dead, and a dead family member to top it off. Now you know why Obama said it would take him 8 years to get us going in the right direction. Sort of reminds me of the crimminal always wins, we paid him to be his dead mom, we pay his board in prison and he collects off us again, when he's aged. I think he should work in the prison 10 hours per day.

    July 2, 2009 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  9. ss

    I still want to see this birth certificate and make sure this president and his staff even deserve to be in the oval office let alone making this kind of money...............show us the birth certificate, cnn .......whats the problem, it seems to me you pushed so hard to get him elected that you neglected to get all the answers so if theirs no problem then produce it, and despense all the rumors

    July 2, 2009 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  10. Former Bush Staffer

    I spent time in President Bush's administration and for the most part these are people who work very very hard and could make much more money elsewhere. They are taking a pay cut to serve the president and their country. However, there are also those cronies who are not worth the money they are paid. There were many under Bush and many under Obama. Chief among these is Reggie Love, the personal assistant to Obama. Reggie's job is to carry the backpack for Obama and follow him everywhere he goes. Blake Gottesman held this position for President Bush....the difference....Blake at his highest salary after 5 years working for the president made $72,000....Obama has chosen to pay his personal assistant (also known as "body man") as starting salary of $102,000. I guarantee you that Reggie's skills of carrying the president's bags, walking the dogs etc is not worth that in the private sector. Obama has simply chosen to offer a big kick back to his little buddy.

    July 2, 2009 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  11. Ha Ha Ha

    I am not Ok if:

    1. White house staff Flee / Elope to Argentina (Mark Sanford)
    2. Take kids on Plane rides at Tax Payor's Money (Sarah Palin) 😐

    July 2, 2009 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  12. Janel, St. Paul, MN

    I can't believe the headlines in this CNN blog.

    Who gives a rip about the salaries of White House staffers? The scandal of Governor from South Carolina? Michael Jackson's sad death after a pathetic life?

    What about Afghanistan? What about the California budget crisis?

    What's with this?

    July 2, 2009 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  13. Mi Ho

    Show us yours, and by the way get back to minding your family
    and local issuse that actually effect your own life and if you have a problem with the birth cirtificate thing call your senator or congressman and let them handle these issuse otherwise you sound like a whiner. Either do something or live with it. WAHH!

    July 2, 2009 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  14. Scott, Tucson

    Just less than four years now till this group is out of the WH, than maybe this country can get back on the road to recovery.

    July 2, 2009 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  15. N. Stribling

    Sir: I can not believe anyone would pay Robert Gibbs the MAX salary as Press Sec.

    July 2, 2009 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  16. xargaw

    Considering the perpetual long hours these people work, their salaries do not seem excessive. Most could make considerably more in the private sector.

    July 2, 2009 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  17. Proud Military Wife

    To Karen in Ohio: Regarding the sacrifice of family members of Federal Employees

    Although I do not doubt that family members of Federal Employees sacrifice with transferring to new locations and adjusting to new schools, etc, which may be difficult to many families. The financial benefits these families receive (moving expenses, housing, guaranteed jobs, not to mention the status one has in the community and/nation).

    As a proud military spouse for almost 16 years, I have dealt with moving on average every four years. We are required move to a new assignment (hopefully one that will advance my husband’s career) that means going to a new state, regardless of my feelings or if it suits my needs.
    The past two moves in nine years, I had the "honor" of doing the move while my husband was deployed in Iraq. Each time, I had to sell our house ON MY OWN, pack-up our belongings and leave a job that I loved. Unlike the Federal Employees whose spouses may have better opportunity to obtain employment in the private sector, military spouses often have difficulty with finding employment. As a special educator with a master’s degree in special education, I am finding it difficult to find employment.
    Karen, before you state that these Federal Employees have made “sacrifices,” I implore you to think about the numerous military spouses and their families. Just remember, we serve as well.

    July 2, 2009 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  18. Think

    It Takes Days or Months to build a House.

    It Takes just Minutes to Lite a Fire and Burn / Destroy a House.

    It again Takes Days or Months to Re-Build it.


    G.W.Bush Lit a Fire and Destroyed our Economy in 8 years.

    Do you Guys Expect Obama to Re-Build the Economy in just 6 Months.


    July 2, 2009 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  19. Addy

    They should get paid based on performance. Get a 20 percent cut in pay like the rest of America, until they deliver a turn-around. If they can pull it off, they they get a nice bonus at end. Otherwise, suffer with the people.

    July 2, 2009 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  20. seabass

    I am assistant to the assistant..to the assistant that wipes up the crap that comes out the the Dems mouths!!! Taxes, health care, global warming, spending ..yet, all Bush's fault..RIGHT?
    Thank you, may I have another!

    July 2, 2009 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  21. hate is not a virtue

    Some of you are going to send yourselves to an early grave. Your hate for anything and everything Obama says or does must have your blood pressure through the roof.

    July 2, 2009 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  22. another proud military wife

    To Proud Military Wife at 1:12am

    Thanks to you and your husband and any children for your service.

    I am also a military wife and have moved five times in eight years, to five different states. I've delivered a child while my husband was in Afghanistan, etc. True, most of these staffers' families will never experience some of the sacrifices we have experienced. But one person's sacrifice is still a sacrifice, even if someone else somewhere else has sacrificed more.

    There are many ways to serve a nation, the military being one of the greatest. But let's not diminish another person's service to our nation. And thanking them for their service does not diminish our service.

    God bless.

    July 2, 2009 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  23. Albert

    @@@ Proud Military Wife July 2nd, 2009 1:12 am ET
    To Karen in Ohio: Regarding the sacrifice of family members of Federal Employees

    We are Proud of our Troops.

    America is Proud of the Supreme Sacrifice made by our Troops.

    But, Criminal G.W.Bush put our Troops on Harms Way, for the Unjustified Iraq War, for his Greed for Oil. None of the 9/11 Terrorists were from Iraq. The intelligence report of WMDs was manufactured to obtain support to go to war. 4300 Troops have died. Still there is no truce in Iraq. Bush should be put to Trial and should spend in Jail the rest of his life.

    July 2, 2009 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  24. Gary in CA

    I'm sure they are making plenty on the back-end... book deals, shady transactions, etc.

    July 2, 2009 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  25. Mark,B'ham,Al.

    Like the military you do not go work for government to get rich.

    July 2, 2009 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
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