The Highest Paid White House Staffers

Tuesday, we tackled the excessive salaries earned by the CEOs of big businesses, so it only seems fitting that today we should take a closer look at the paychecks of the people who run the country.

This month, the Obama administration released its annual report for the salaries of all White House staffers. All in all, White House employees earned a salary of $38.7 million. That may sound like a hefty amount, but it covers more than 460 employees (yes, there are a lot of people running in and out of the White House) and, incidentally, it is just a fraction of the salaries earned by the CEOs of companies like Hess and Oracle.

In fact, only two employees at the White House earned more than $172,200, although nearly two dozen staffers take home a fat paycheck for that amount. It is worth noting that the president and vice president are not included in this breakdown, though both of their salaries are a matter of public record. Biden earns $221,000 a year and Obama earns $400,000, which again, may sound generous, but U.S. presidents actually make significantly less than the leaders of other countries.

The truth is that, unlike most CEOs, the people working in the White House now (as with most people working for the government in general) could probably earn a lot more money working elsewhere in the private sector. Here is a list of some of the highest paid staffers in the White House based on the report, along with some information about what these staffers earned before joining this administration and what some might able to make after.

Rahm Emanuel

Salary: $172,200

Rahm Emanuel currently serves as President Obama’s Chief of Staff, which is arguably the most intensive job at the White House, after being the president. Emanuel is known for being a brash legislator who resorts to some extreme antics to get what he wants, but he is also known for working around the clock.

Prior to accepting the position as chief of staff, Emanuel had served in the House of Representatives where he was earning $169,300 a year. So you can say he got a little raise with this position. However, if he had stayed in the House, he would now be making $174,000, as they’ve increased the compensation for representatives. More than that, Emmanuel had publicly expressed his desire to be the first Jewish speaker of the House, which pays $223,500 a year, but he gave that up at Obama’s behest.