Most senior White House officials have little more to their names than their government salaries and a home, according to personal financial disclosure reports released yesterday.
While many have minor rental properties and small stock portfolios, only a few could be considered men or women of property, the reports showed.
Only one aide, Steven Selig III, who is a member of a prosperous Georgia business family, appears to be genuinely wealthy.
Robert Lipshutz, counsel to the president, also reported substantial real estate and stock holdings. Lipshutz was a successful Atlanta lawyer before coming to the White House.
The disclosure reports present a partial financial picture of the 11,000 government employes who must file them. For example, savings accoutns under $5,000 personal residences, personal home mortgages and other standard assets and liabilities do not have to be disclosed. In addition, the forms do not require exact figures and values, only a range of worth.
The filings, required for the first this year, nevertheless represent the most sweeping disclosure exercise ever for federal employes.
Disclosure reports of 56 White House aides earning over $44,700, the cutoff point under the new law, were released yesterday by the White House.
Hamilton Jordan, Carter's top political adviser and a man who has devoted his entire career to the president, reported a negative net worth. His sole significant holding was a lot on Lake Hartwell in South Carolina worth between $5,000 and $15,000. He owned between $15,000 and $50,000 to an Atlanta Bank, the Citizens and Southern National Bank, according to his report.
Jody Powell, the presidential press secretary, showed no liabilities on his disclosure form, but reported only one asset: a half-interest in 150 acres of unimproved woodland in Georgia worth between $15,000 and $50,000.
Powell, Jordan and the other ranking aides earn $56,000 a year from the government.
Frank Moore, the president's chief congressional lobbyist, reported no assests and liabilities at all, though he noted that he sold his home in Marietta, Ga., last August for between $50,000 and $100,000.
Jordan, Powell and Moore are among the small ground around the president who have been with him since he first held public office in Georgia. The reports indicate that, financially at least, they have little to show for it.
Those with careers outside politics and independent of Carter appear to have done better.
National security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, an established scholar and author before joining the White House, reported owning three houses in addition to his $210,000 residence in Virginia.
Two of them, one in Vermont and one in Maine, were described as vacation houses together worth between $90,000 and $140,000. Brzezinski also listed stockholding worth about $16,000.
Selig, an assistant to Jordan, reported an interest in his family's business, Selig Enterprises Inc., worth over $250,000, a trust worth over $250,000, real estate holdings valued between $150,000 and $300,000 and marketable securities worth between $5,000 and $100,000.
Lipshutz, Carter's counsel, listed real estate holdings valued between $240,000 and $440,000 and stocks and bonds worth between $70,000 and $250,00 in addition to substantial savings accounts.
Lipshutz also suffered some losses, according to his disclosure, through foreclosures on four properties in which he held an interest. The interest was "reduced to zero" after the foreclosures, he reported.
The only other senior official reporting significant holdings was Landon Butler, another aide to Jordan. Butler reported assets in stocks, bonds and savings worth between $170,000 and $400,000. his largest income-producing holding was a U.S. Steel bond worth between $15,000 and $50,000.
The disclosure report for Gerald Rafshoon, who accumulated some wealth as head of Rafshoon Avertising Inc., and Rafshoon Communications, was not released yesterday.
Rafshoon and several other staff members received extra time to file their disclosures as is allowed under the Ethics in Government Act.