White House releases $taffer$’ $alarie$

Jul 1, 2011 4:52pm

President Obama pays 21 White House staffers the maximum allowable salary, $172,200 a year, the White House disclosed today in its annual report of salaries.

These top wage earners include all of those given the assignation “assistant to the president”: chief of staff Bill Daley, national security adviser Tom Donilon, top speechwriter Jon Favreau, counterterrorism adviser John Brennan, senior advisers Valerie Jarrett and David Plouffe, press secretary Jay Carney, and communications director Dan Pfeiffer — whose first name is Howard (!), the disclosure reveals.

 The annual disclosure of salaries (the full list can be read HERE) is one of the drawbacks of working in government – imagine your own workplace if such personal data was revealed each year, and you could see your numerical value to your boss.

To wit: Does No. 2 speechwriter Cody Keenan really deserve to be paid almost one hundred grand less than his boss, Favreau? Keenan makes $75,000 a year.

In November 2010, President Obama, whose annual salary is $400,000, froze the salaries of every staffer making more than $100,000. So the only way for a staffer to get a raise over that threshold is to get a new job, as when deputy press secretary Josh Earnest became, upon the departure of Bill Burton, the principal deputy press secretary.

The president pays his “body man” Reggie Love $102,000, his adviser on faith-based issues Josh Dubois $100,000, and his manufacturing adviser Ron Bloom $163,000.

Press pool “wrangler” Ben Finkenbinder gets to play golf and pickup basketball with the president, but that hasn’t bumped up his salary: he’s one of the lowest paid at $50,000.

But Finkenbinder, who departs the White House today to work on the president’s re-election campaign in Chicago, is not the lowest paid.  

Sixty four of the 454 White House staffers, make less than $43,000 a year. Movie actor Kal Penn (actual name: Kalpen Modi) makes $41,000 a year for his work in the office of public liaison, a fraction of the cost of munchies on the set of A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas, coming this Holiday season to a theater near you.

Two White House advisors, Shale Wong and Jessica Schumer, receive $0 in salary, but are on fellowships sponsored by nonprofit organizations.  A third adviser who receives $0, Patricia McGinnis, works part-time and provides advice on periodic trainings for presidential appointees authorized by Congress.

-Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) and Jon Garcia

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