President Obama’s 2011 assets include anywhere from $500,000 to $1 million held in a JPMorgan Chase checking account, according to annual financial disclosure forms released by the White House on Tuesday.
The bank is under heightened scrutiny this week, as the Department of Justice is launching a criminal probe into the firm following reports of its staggering $2 billion trading loss.
The White House has argued that the news of JPMorgan Chase’s loss underscores the need for financial regulatory reform such as the Dodd-Frank measure that Obama signed into law in 2010.
“You could have a bank that isn’t as strong, isn’t as profitable managing those same bets and we might have had to step in,” Obama said in an appearance on ABC’s “The View” this week. “That’s why Wall Street reform is so important.”
In contrast to Obama, Vice President Biden has from $2,000 to $30,000 in two savings accounts and $2,000 to $32,000 in four checking accounts, the forms show. The Bidens also had income of $21,000 from a residential property in Wilmington, Del.
The forms also underscore that while Democrats may be united in their 2012 campaign focus on “economic fairness,” for Obama, it pays to be a president who has penned several best-selling books.
The Obamas in 2011 held total assets ranging from $2,566,000 to $8,265,000.
That’s more than ten times the total assets reported by the vice president and his wife, Jill, in 2011. The Bidens reported assets ranging from $233,000 to $776,000.
The range of the Obamas’ total reported assets is changed – although not necessarily down — from 2010, when the first couple’s disclosure forms showed assets from $2.8 million to $11.8 million. The lack of a specific dollar figure stems from the fact that the forms require only that assets be reported within broad ranges.
The forms show that the Obamas made from $250,000 to $2.1 million in book royalties in 2011. “Dreams from My Father” and the children’s book “Of Thee I Sing” each accounted for $100,000 to $1 million; and “The Audacity of Hope” accounted for $50,000 to $100,000.
In past years, the Obamas have reported gifts such as Bo — the $1,600 Portuguese water dog given to the first family by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) – and the $1.4 million cash prize that accompanied Obama’s 2009 Nobel Prize win. (The cash was donated to charity.) This year, Obama reported no gifts.
Biden in 2011 reported one gift – a Vulcain Cricket watch given to him by Keijo Paajanen of Helsinki, Finland. According to the site Hodinkee, Biden was spotted wearing a Vulcain Cricket watch late last year. The disclosure form lists the value of the watch as $800.
Staff writer Dan Eggen contributed to this report.