White House aides’ finances revealed in disclosure documents

Documents released by the White House have revealed millions of dollars in assets held by its senior staff.

President Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, have assets valued between $240m and $740m (£191m- £590m).

That includes a stake in Trump International Hotel, which earned Ms Trump between $1m and $5m last year.

The financial disclosure documents also detail salaries of several other high-profile figures in the administration.

Ethics regulations require such financial disclosures for staff working in the White House. The documents show income and assets at the time they started working for the US government – before any assets were sold or disposed of.

Neither President Donald Trump or Vice-President Mike Pence were part of the disclosure release, which came late on Friday.

The documents, which US media have uploaded online, list asset values within a range, rather than giving precise figures.

Among the revelations are:

  • Ivanka Trump‘s business empire is worth more than $50m, and the value of her stake in Trump International Hotel is between $5m and $25m, according to the filing of her husband, Jared. Ms Trump only recently became a formal White House employee, and may file her own disclosure form later.
  • Jared Kushner‘s disclosure document runs to 54 pages, detailing positions held at 267 organisations, many of which he has since divested himself of. In the previous year, he earned hundreds of thousands of dollars from real estate and other assets.
  • Steve Bannon, now a senior White House adviser, was paid $191,000 in consulting fees by conservative media outlet Breitbart, in addition to at least $1m in other employment income. He also had between $3.3m and $12.6m in assets.
  • Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, was paid $260,000 for his role as chief strategist and communications director at the Republican National Committee, and holds several real estate assets.
  • Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign chief turned advisor, earned more than $800,000, mostly for consulting services, including Mr Trump’s campaign.
  • Gary Cohn, head of the White House National Economic Council and a former Goldman Sachs president, has assets worth at least $230m – but potentially more, as many of his assets are simply listed as worth “over $1m”. The White House said Mr Cohn resigned from all his positions at Goldman Sachs.

In a briefing before the release, White House officials stressed that “these are not the current holdings that everyone has today. These are the holdings that everybody had at the time when they came into office”.

Potential conflicts of interest may have already been eliminated.

“These are incredibly successful individuals, very high net worth, very sophisticated, complex asset structures, numerous sub-LLCs [limited liability companies], trusts and other items, all of which have to be worked through,” the White House official said, adding that every staff member had a “sit-down” about their assets.

US President Donald Trump speaks about signing executive orders on trade policies in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, March 31, 2017.Image copyrightAFP
Donald Trump’s cabinet and senior aides are estimated to be worth $12bn

Reuters news agency quoted a White House official as saying about 25% of Mr Trump’s White House were classified as having “extremely complex” filings, indicating they were very wealthy.

They appeared much wealthier than officials in previous administrations, including Barack Obama’s White House, US media reported.

Bloomberg estimates that Mr Trump’s cabinet and senior staff are worth some $12bn.

Since his election in November, the president’s own business empire has been scrutinised by ethics experts – who say it poses major conflicts of interest.

Fears have been raised that interest groups or foreign governments might stay at the luxury Trump hotel in Washington in a bid to win the administration’s favour.

Mr Trump’s two oldest sons now control his extensive assets, but watchdogs have complained that the arrangements are insufficient to avoid conflicts.

The Office of Government Ethics has urged the president either to divest fully, or to set up a blind trust for his assets.

Mr Trump has also refused to release his tax returns, breaking with a long-held tradition.

Source: GhanaGuru.com

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