The word came down from White House officials late Friday afternoon: In a few hours, they would begin releasing the personal financial disclosures of about 180 top aides, as required by federal ethics rules. The Washington Post scrambled a team of reporters to pore over the documents as they came in.
It did not take long for one major story line to emerge from the filings: President Trump has drawn from the country's financial elite to staff his administration. We found that 27 top aides together held assets worth at least $2.3 billion when they entered the White House.
Among the wealthiest are Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and daughter Ivanka: They have property and investment holdings worth at least $241 million. Top economic adviser Gary Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs senior executive, reported assets worth at least $250 million. Stephen K. Bannon, chief White House strategist, held assets worth between $11.8 million and $53.8 million. More than half of the nearly $1 million he earned last year came from a network of ventures backed by the wealthy Mercer family.
The complex holdings of many top administration officials create potential conflicts of interest that the White House must now navigate, a process that is underway in consultation with the Office of Government Ethics. Often that will mean aides will have to divest their assets. In some cases in which that is not possible, some aides may have to recuse themselves from matters that intersect with their personal financial holdings.
Here are some other details about the finances of top White House officials that Post reporters uncovered from the documents:
Jared Kushner, senior adviser to the president for strategic planning
Kushner, perhaps the most influential aide in the White House, has one of the largest fortunes, thanks to his family's real estate firm. His filing also shows he has up to $95 million in borrowed money, much of it in the form of unsecured lines of credit held jointly with his father, from lenders including Deutsche Bank and one of Israel’s largest banks, Israel Discount Bank. He also has two Visa credit cards that together had liabilities of between $115,002 and $300,000, with interest rates of 13.74 percent.
Kushner lists Observer Media, the owner of the New York Observer, as effectively worthless (or worth less than $1,001). Kushner bought the paper for $10 million in 2006, when he was 25. Kushner said in January he would sell the paper into a family trust. On the disclosure, he said the company made $4.5 million in advertising revenue last year.
Reince Priebus, chief of staff
Priebus pulled in $508,268 in salary and bonuses in the last 12 months from the Republican National Committee, where he served as chairman until joining the White House. The RNC also covered his rent in Washington, which cost the committee another $57,274.
Bill Stepien, political director
Stepien reported that he received income exceeding $5,000 as a consultant for Amaya, an online poker company operating in Isle of Man, an island in the Irish Sea. Amaya has come under intense scrutiny from gaming regulators in both the United States and Canada. In Quebec, securities regulators charged Amaya founder David Baazov with insider trading stemming from the company's $4.9-billion acquisition of PokerStars. Baazov has pleaded not guilty and is set to go to trial in November in what has been billed by Canadian authorities as the largest insider trading investigation in the country's history. The trial is expected to last about 13 weeks.
The financial disclosure forms from the White House do not indicate the specific amount of income Stepien received from his work as a consultant for Amaya. Stepien reported a salary of $472,000 from his own New Jersey-based consulting firm, Nassau Strategies.
Stepien was ousted from his role as campaign manager for New Jersey Gov. Christie after his ties to the Bridgegate scandal involving the closure of traffic lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge.
Dina Powell, senior counselor for economic initiatives and deputy national security adviser for strategy
Powell, former president of the Goldman Sachs Foundation and a veteran of President George W. Bush's administration, was paid $4 million in salary, benefits and bonuses by the bank. She had assets worth between $6.2 million to $19.4 million.
Katie Walsh, former deputy chief of staff
A close Priebus ally, Walsh served as his deputy until her resignation this week to work for a pro-Trump advocacy group. She earned more than $320,000 as chief of staff at the RNC last year and another $280,000 from a political fundraising firm, the Laymont Group.
Donald F. McGahn, White House general counsel
McGahn has assets worth between $1.8 million to $7.1 million and drew a salary of $2.4 million last year from the Jones Day law firm, where he was a partner. His disclosure also notes a payment of $4,900 from Friedman Entertainment — probably compensation for being the lead guitarist in a cover band called Scott's New Band.
Omarosa Manigault, assistant to the president and director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison
The disclosures show the Hollywood ties of Manigault, a former reality show star who got her start on the first season of “The Apprentice.” She reported receiving more than $1,000 in royalties stemming from an “Apprentice” appearance and received a package including a wedding dress and veil worth $25,000 for appearing on the TLC reality show “Say Yes to the Dress.” Manigault is engaged to be married to a Florida pastor. She disclosed that her largest asset is her one-third share of a trust established after the death of actor Michael Clarke Duncan, to whom she had been engaged, which is worth between $1 million and $5 million.
Makan Delrahim, deputy White House counsel
Delrahim reported that he has been serving as a board member of the World Poker Tour Foundation and invested in a movie called “Trash Fire.” Per IMDb.com, the 2016 movie is about a man who becomes entangled in a “horrifying web of lies, deceit and murder” after being forced to confront lies he'd been avoiding all of his adult life. One reviewer said of the film, “The characters are so abrasive and unsympathetic that you wish they'd all just crash and burn.”
Peter Navarro, director of the National Trade Council
Navarro, a former college professor, has assets worth up to $1.3 million. In November 2016, he was paid $10,500 to deliver the keynote speech at an event for the Casket and Funeral Supply Association of America.
This post has been updated.
Tom Hamburger, Drew Harwell, Jenna Johnson, Michael Kranish, Robert O’Harrow, Ashley Parker, Lisa Rein, Steven Rich and Allan Sloan contributed to this report.