Several Biden White House Officials Have Ties to Millions from Private Businesses

Jacob Bliss22 Mar 2021

Since their Obama years, several of President Joe Biden’s White House officials have made millions of dollars with ties to private businesses increasing their wealth, recent disclosure reports found.

Biden has surrounded himself with top advisers in the West Wing who spent time in the private sector, significantly increasing their wealth since their time in the Obama Administration, where some previously worked.

Some of Biden’s top advisers do not need confirmation by the Senate, and Biden in the past has said, “I entered as one of the poorest men in Congress, left one of the poorest men in government,” trying to stick with his image of “Middle-Class Joe.”

A White House spokesperson told ABC News in a statement:
These White House officials are experienced government leaders whose past private sector experience is part of a broad and diverse skill set they bring to government service. They have returned to government because of their deep commitment to public service, their desire to help bring our nation out of this time of crisis, and their strong belief that government can work for the American people.

White House chief of staff Ron Klain, who also worked for Biden when he was vice president, was previously an executive at Revolution, a venture capital firm. According to the Associated Press, “He was listed as having a salary of $1.8 million, according to his disclosure form.” In 2009, Klain reportedly owned between $1.4 million and $3.5 million in assets, and now under the Biden administration his disclosures show between $4.4 million and $12.2 million in various assets.

Jen O’Malley Dillon, who ran Biden’s 2020 campaign, is currently the White House deputy chief of staff and was a co-founder of Precision Strategies, a consulting firm. According to ABC News, her disclosure forms showed her income last year was $800,000, and deferred compensation and severance from her company is $426,067, not including her $50,000 salary from Precision Strategies. The disclosure showed her with $2.2 million to $4.7 million in assets.

The disclosures also showed a list of some of the clients she had as a paid consultant, including General Electric, Lyft, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and Gates Ventures. O’Malley Dillon made over $110,000 as Beto O’Rourke’s campaign manager, which happened before becoming Biden’s campaign manager with a salary of reportedly over $190,000.

Jake Sullivan is currently Biden’s National Security Advisor . Sullivan was a senior partner at Macro Advisory Partners, a consulting firm, where he was paid more than $135,000 in advisory fees, CNBC reported. Sullivan also received $5,000 to speak to J Street and received $45,000 from Microsoft, where he sat on the advisory council from 2017 until last year, according to ABC News.

Sullivan and his wife Margaret Goodlander show assets between $7.5 million and $27.5 million where the two of them have “residential and commercial real estate properties” and hold numerous shares of companies such as Abbott Labs, American Express, Facebook, FedEx, Google, Merck, Visa, and Verizon, according to the report. Sullivan held top official positions in the Obama Administration as Deputy Assistant to the President and as National Security Advisor to then-Vice President Biden.

Brian Deese is currently the head of the National Economic Council and was previously the global head of sustainable investing at BlackRock. Deese “made over $2.3 million in salary and bonuses,” and according to his disclosures, “could have made an additional $2.4 million through its restricted stock plan,” the Associated Press reported.

Deese was a former senior adviser in the Obama Administration, leading Obama’s auto rescue plan and managing his climate policy. During the Obama administration, Deese reported “between $81,000 and $215,000 in assets.” Now, during the Biden administration, he’s reported “between $2 million and $7.2 million in assets,” as shown in the report.

Mike Donilon, a senior adviser in the White House, was a managing member of media consulting firm MCD Strategies. According to the Associated Press, “Donilon lists the Biden campaign and Democratic National Convention Committee as two of his clients.” Donilon’s financial disclosures show he made over $4 million during his time leading MCD Strategies.

Jeffrey Zients was CEO of Cranemere, a Wall Street investment firm, before joining the White House as Biden’s lead adviser. ABC News shows Zients to be the wealthiest person working in the Biden White House.

The financial disclosures released to ABC News show:
Zients reported owning between $89.3 million and $442.8 million in assets, including various investment funds, real estate properties and cash shares. He has divested his shares in his private investment firm, Cranemere Group, as well as $1 million worth of shares in Facebook, where he has served as a board member.
He reported making between $10.4 million and $28 million in income in the past year, including his seven-figure salary from his investment firm, as well as other several seven-figure assets he has divested from.
His total wealth has more than doubled since he first joined the Obama White House as the deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget in 2009, when he reported assets between $45.2 million and $205.7 million.

Susan Rice is also one of the wealthiest people in the Biden administration. During the Obama administration, Rice was National Security Advisor and Ambassador to the United Nations. In 2009, Rice reported “total wealth between $13.6 million and $40.4 million,” which increased before joining the Biden administration to “between $36 million and $149 million in various assets,” according to the report.

Rice’s total income from the past year was between $2 million and $6.7 million. She holds shares in major corporations worth between $250,000 and $5 million. Some of the companies include Johnson & Johnson, Apple, Microsoft, and Netflix.

Rice also has holdings between $1 million to $5 million at Enbridge Inc., a Canadian multinational natural gas distribution company, and she earned roughly $620,000 during her time as president of her author and speaking business SERice LLC, where she received $250,000 from book royalties