Former lobbyist Steve Ricchetti took a huge pay cut to work for Vice President Biden. Of course, it helps that he made more than $2 million in the last 14 months from the lobbying firm he owned.
Ricchetti began work as a counselor to Biden last month. On Tuesday, Biden’s office released documents showing that Ricchetti made $1.8 million from his firm, Ricchetti Inc., last year. He’s owed another $217,000 for work in January and February of this year.
He made more in those two months than he’ll make working for the government for the rest of the year — the top salary for White House officials is $172,200. The vice president’s office doesn’t disclose salaries.
The administration doesn’t hire lobbyists who have been registered with the House and the Senate in the past two years. In this case, it hired the president of a lobbying firm with clients including drug-maker Eli Lilly, the American Bankers Association, the American Council of Life Insurers, AT&T and the American Hospital Association.
Ricchetti lists on his disclosure form that he was doing “government relations” for at least 20 different clients last year. However, he did not require a waiver of the administration’s anti-lobbyist policy because he deregistered with the House and Senate in late 2008 as Obama was taking office. His brother, Jeffrey Ricchetti, remained registered to lobby for the firm, which they founded together.
“Steve Ricchetti has not acted as a lobbyist within the past two years, so he does not need a waiver,” Biden’s office said in a statement. “Since 2008, Steve advised clients on public policy, communications strategy, and grassroots efforts but did not act as a lobbyist with the federal government on behalf of any client.”
The disclosure form also shows that Ricchetti resigned from a fleet of Washington boards to take his new job, including the Center for American Progress, the Trust for the National Mall, and Bloomberg Government. BGov paid Ricchetti $57,000 for his board service.
Ricchetti’s 401k will remain with Ricchetti Inc., according to the form, which says it is at least $500,000 and “all cash.”