The White House Staffers Who Make the Most Money

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July 3 2014 1:40 PM

The 22 White House Staffers Who Make the Most Money

The White House
It pays to work here.

Photo by El Kebir Lamrani/AFP/Getty Images

The post originally appeared in Business Insider.

The White House released its annual staffer salary list this week, unveiling the president’s most highly paid aides, assistants, and advisers. Since President Obama’s decision to freeze White House pay scales in 2010, the top White House salary has capped out at $172,200. Twenty-two presidential aides, eleven men and eleven women, are making top dollar this year.

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Here they are: 

Anthony John Blinken: Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Adviser

Harvard University grad Tony Blinken, 52, has served as deputy national security adviser for President Barack Obama since January 2013. Prior to his current position, Blinken was Democratic staff director of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations from 2002 to 2008. He then worked on the 2008 presidential campaign of Sen. Joe Biden. In his spare time, he enjoys music and film. 

Joshua R. Earnest: Assistant to the President and Press Secretary 

Kansas City native Josh Earnest, 37, was tapped by Obama on May 30, 2014, to succeed Jay Carney as White House press secretary. Earnest graduated from Rice University in 1997 and went on to join Obama’s first presidential campaign as Iowa communications director in 2007. Most recently, he served as principal deputy press secretary under Carney. 

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Jeffrey Zients.

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Jeffrey D. Zients: Assistant to the President for Economic Policy and Director of the National Economic Council

Jeff Zients, 47, is a native of Kensington, Maryland, and graduated from Duke University. Before accepting his nomination to become director of the National Economic Council, he was tasked by Obama with resolving the issues that plagued healthcare.gov in late 2013. Zients’ success in that job earned him the nickname “Mr. Fix-It” in the Obama administration. Before his current post, he served as director of the Office of Management and Budget from January 2012 to April 2013.

Warren Neil Eggleston: Assistant to the President and Counsel to the President

Eggleston, 60, of West Lafayette, Indiana, was named by Obama to become White House counsel in April 2014. Eggleston has enjoyed a long legal career both in and out of the White House. He worked as deputy chief counsel for the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee charged with investigating the Iran-Contra Affair in the 1980s, and as a partner at Washington-based law firm Kirkland & Ellis until 2014.

Lisa O. Monaco: Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism and Deputy National Security Adviser

Monaco, 46, is a federal prosecutor who has served as homeland security adviser since March 2013. Before assuming this position, she worked as former FBI director Robert Mueller’s chief of staff from 2007 to 2009 and as the assistant attorney general for national security from 2011 to 2013. Monaco graduated from Harvard University in 1990 and grew up in Boston. 

John D. Podesta: Counselor to the President

Podesta, 65, assumed office as counselor to President Obama on Jan. 1, 2014. So far, his tenure has been focused on elevating environmental policies in the Obama agenda. Before becoming counselor, he served as White House chief of staff under President Bill Clinton from October 1998 to January 2001. In 2003, he founded the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank based in Washington, D.C, where he also served as president. He also works as a visiting professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center. 

Katherine Beirne Fallon: Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Legislative Affairs

Fallon, better known as Katie Beirne, was tapped by President Obama to take over as director of legislative affairs in December 2013. Formerly, Fallon served as an aide to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and as staff director for the Senate Democratic Policy and Communications Center, where she gained her strong reputation as a democratic strategist. She was named deputy communications director to the White House in May 2013. Fallon attended the University of Notre Dame from 1994-98.

Kristie A. Canegallo: Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy Implementation

Canegallo, 34, was appointed deputy chief of staff for policy implementation by President Obama in May 2014. Canegallo began at Goldman Sachs as a derivatives analyst before working for the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan in 2007. She then served as a civilian Pentagon official detailed to the White House beginning in 2009 until becoming director of the National Security Council’s Defense Policy and Strategy Directorate. In 2011, Canegallo was named senior adviser to then Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough.

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Tina Tchen.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Christina M. Tchen: Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to the First Lady

Tina Tchen, 58, is an attorney who serves both as chief of staff to first lady Michelle Obama, and as executive director of the White House Council on Women and Girls. Tchen became chief of staff to the first lady in January 2011. From 2008-11, she served as director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. Tchen’s career before joining the White House consisted of 25 years spent as an attorney and partner at the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, based in Chicago.

Katy A. Kale: Assistant to the President for Management and Administration

Kale, a Massachusetts native, served as director of operations for the Obama-Biden transition team, and as special assistant to the president and director of White House operations during President Obama’s first term. She was tapped to move up to assistant for management and administration in early 2013, at the same time that Denis McDonough was made chief of staff.

Broderick D. Johnson: Assistant to the President and Cabinet Secretary

Johnson originally joined the Clinton White House in 1998, where he served as the president’s principal liaison to the House. He then turned to the private sector, co-founding the Collins/Johnson Group, where he acted as a partner specializing in strategic policy advice. He then joined President Obama’s re-election team in 2011 as an adviser. He also lectures at the University of Michigan Law School. He was chosen to become Cabinet secretary in January 2014.

Benjamin J. Rhodes: Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications and Speechwriting 

Rhodes, 37, graduated from New York University in 2002 before becoming assistant to the director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Lee Hamilton. As Hamilton’s assistant, Rhodes helped to draft recommendations of the 9/11 Commission among other contributions. In 2007, he joined the Obama presidential campaign as a speechwriter and quickly rose to the top foreign policy writing position, penning influential addresses like Obama’s “A New Beginning” speech, which was delivered in Cairo in 2009.

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Susan Rice.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Susan E. Rice: Assistant to the President and National Security Adviser

Rice, 49, assumed office as national security adviser in July 2013. Previously, she served as United States ambassador to the United Nations from 2009 to 2013. Rice was reportedly considered as a replacement for former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton but voluntarily withdrew her name in light of ongoing controversy regarding the 2012 Benghazi attacks.

Valerie B. Jarrett: Senior Adviser and Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement

Jarrett, 57, took her current job in January 2009 at the beginning of Obama’s first term. She was born in Shiraz, Iran, and moved to Chicago at age 7. Before joining the Obama administration, Jarrett worked in mayoral politics in Chicago and served as CEO of the Habitat Company, a real estate development firm. Her relationship with President Obama began in the 1990s, where first lady Michelle Obama was her former employee. She now acts as one of three senior advisers to the president.

Denis R. McDonough: Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff

McDonough, 44, assumed office in January 2013 and is currently serving as the 27th White House chief of staff. A Minnesota native, McDonough joined the Obama administration as a senior foreign policy adviser when then Chief Foreign Policy Adviser Mark Lippert was called into active duty, thus needing a swift replacement. McDonough continued to work as an adviser during Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, and then served as deputy national security adviser from 2010 to 2013.

Jennifer M. Palmieri: Assistant to the President and Director of Communications

Palmieri took her current post in January 2013, for which she leads President Obama’s media campaign and promotes his agenda to the public. Before this role, she served as president of the Center for American Progress Action Fund and as the national press secretary for the Democratic National Committee. She also worked in the Clinton White House for eight years as deputy press secretary and as a special assistant to chief of staff Leon Panetta.

Cecilia Muñoz: Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council

Muñoz51, assumed her current position in January 2012 at the start of Obama’s second term. Previously, she served as White House director of intergovernmental affairs from 2009 to 2012. Before joining the White House, Muñoz, a Detroit native, had a long career in civil rights, working as the senior vice president for the Office of Research, Advocacy and Legislation at the National Council of La Raza, where she advocated for Hispanic Americans.

Anita J. Decker Breckenridge: Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations

Decker Breckenridge, 35, is President Obama’s personal assistant. This job has her at Obama’s side consistently, as she executes the president’s daily schedule and handles all relations with the Cabinet, among other responsibilities. Before becoming deputy chief of staff for operations, Decker Breckenridge led Obama’s downstate operations in Illinois during his time in the Senate post-2004.

Cody S. Keenan: Assistant to the President and Director of Speechwriting

Keenan, 33, was hired to Obama’s presidential campaign as an unpaid intern in 2007 before getting hired by the administration as a junior speechwriter in 2008. He entered the national spotlight when he stepped up to write Obama’s speech for the Arizona memorial service honoring the victims of the deadly shooting involving then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in 2011. He became director of speechwriting in March 2014, after Jon Favreau stepped down.

David M. Simas: Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Political Strategy and Outreach

Simas, 44, was tapped early this year by President Obama to lead the Office of Political Strategy and Outreach, which was closed down by the Obama administration in 2011. Obama decided to reopen the office this year and enlist Simas for two reasons: to oversee Democratic congressional candidates and to help evaluate and bolster support for Obama’s agenda during his last two years in office. Before this role, Simas served as aide to Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and as deputy senior adviser for communications and strategy.

Danielle White Crutchfield: Assistant to the President and Director of Scheduling and Advance

Crutchfield, 31, deals with the creation of President Obama’s schedule. She previously worked as the deputy director of Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and as deputy schedule director for Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.). She was named director of scheduling at the start of Obama’s first presidential term in 2009.

Howard “Daniel” Pfeiffer: Assistant to the President and Senior Adviser

Dan Pfeiffer, 38, is President Obama’s senior adviser for strategy and communications. Prior to this job, which he took in January 2013, Pfeiffer served as White House director of communications from 2009 to 2013. He worked as a spokesman for Vice President Al Gore in 2000 and began his relationship with the Obamas when he joined the 2008 presidential campaign as traveling press secretary.

(h/t Yahoo! News)

Julia Cannon is an intern at Business Insider.

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