The Lawyers In The Trump White House: How Much Are They Worth? (Part 1)

The Lawyers In The Trump White House: How Much Are They Worth? (Part 1)

Kellyanne Conway (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty)

Kellyanne Conway (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty)

In the Trump Administration, weekends are when the magic happens. Some of the most exciting news breaks on Friday night and beyond. Sometimes it’s by the administration’s choice — e.g., President Trump’s Saturday morning tweets — and sometimes it’s not.

Fairly late on Friday, the administration released financial disclosures for key White House staffers. As noted by the New York Times, this move “fit an age-old pattern in Washington of dumping mountains of documents on Fridays, when normal people have left work and are beginning to enjoy their weekend. Not many are likely to be glued to their computers and television sets to track the wealth of White House officials. After all, as Josh Lyman, the fictional White House deputy chief of staff on The West Wing, put it, ‘No one reads the paper on Saturday.’”

But we read the papers on Saturday, where we saw coverage of the disclosures — and now we’re happy to bring you highlights, featuring the lawyers on the list. If you’d like to spin through the source documents yourself, they’re collected over at the Times and Politico.

Here are summaries of the financial disclosures for White House staffers who are lawyers (defined broadly as law school graduates), in alphabetical order. Click on each person’s name to be taken to their disclosure.

As we’ve explained before about federal financial disclosures, when we dissected the net worths of Judge Neil Gorsuch and former SEC chair Mary Jo White, (1) approximate asset values are reported in ranges, so we can’t come up with exact totals for an individual’s assets, and (2) the filings do not include the value of personal residences (which could be sizable in some cases).

1. Thomas Bossert

Tom Bossert, homeland security adviser, is a 2003 graduate of George Washington University Law School. He earned $161,396 from Civil Defense Solutions LLC, his sole proprietorship focused on security consulting. He seems to like liquidity: he has one bank account with $100,001 to $250,000 sitting in it. This is good thing, considering that he still has outstanding student loans totaling between $50,001 and $100,000.

2. Sean Cairncross

Sean Cairncross, deputy assistant to the president and senior adviser to White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, is a 2001 graduate of NYU Law, a former top lawyer for the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Republican National Committee, and a former Covington & Burling associate. He earned $275,000 in salary and bonus from the Republican National Committee, including a $35,000 bonus received in December 2016; $132,797 in salary and bonus from the Holtzman Vogel Josefiak Torchinsky law firm; and $22,500 from the Vogelhood Research consulting firm (where he’s still on the website — someone should probably fix that). His biggest asset appears to be a brokerage account containing $100,001 to $250,000.

3. James Carroll

A 1988 graduate of George Mason Law (now Scalia Law), Jim Carroll serves as special assistant and senior counsel to the president. He most recently worked in-house at Ford Motor, earning a handsome $396,849 in salary and bonus. He has employment- and retirement-related assets, including Ford stock and real estate properties, worth between $1 million and $2.3 million, plus a bank account ($100,001-$250,000) and additional real estate ($250,001-$500,000).

4. Justin Clark

Justin Clark, who graduated from U. Conn. Law in 2004, is deputy assistant to the president and director of intergovernmental affairs. His recent income comes from political campaigns: $91,735 from the Trump campaign, and $93,333 from Chris Christie’s campaign. He also received a partnership share and an LLC distribution from his former firm (Davis, Clark & Bonafonte) of $2,500 and $180,358, respectively.

Clark seems to be one of the least well-off lawyers in the Trump Administration. His other assets, consisting of two checking accounts and a life insurance policy, are worth between $3,000 and $45,000. Meanwhile, he has debts up the wazoo: student loans ($150,002-$350,000), credit card debt ($10,001-$15,000), and money owed to the IRS ($15,001-$50,000) — yikes!

5. Kellyanne Conway

Kellyanne Conway, former Trump campaign manager and current counselor to President Trump, needs no introduction; the 1992 GW Law grad is now famous (as in Saturday Night Live famous).

Make that rich and famous. She earned more than $800,000 from her consulting company, Polling Company/Woman Trend, which as an asset could be worth as much as $5 million. She and her husband have total assets that Bloomberg estimates are worth between $10 million and $39.3 million and the Times estimates are worth between $11 million and $44 million.

Where does all that wealth come from? Kellyanne Conway is a highly successful pollster, strategist, and consultant, but remember that she’s also married to George T. Conway III — a partner for more than two decades at Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz, which routinely tops the American Lawyer’s listing of firms ranked by profits per partner. Per Am Law, Wachtell Lipton had profits per partner in 2015 of $6.6 million. (George Conway is reportedly going to be nominated to head the Civil Division at the Justice Department.)

6. Makan Delrahim

Makan Delrahim currently serves as deputy White House counsel, but the GW Law grad — lots of GW grads on this list! — probably won’t be in that post for much longer. The former Brownstein Hyatt partner has been nominated to lead the DOJ’s antitrust division (where he worked back in the George W. Bush Administration). He received more than $1 million from Brownstein Hyatt: $728,096 in salary and bonus, $254,460 for a buyout of his equity, $70,616 in his S Distribution for 2016, and $41,096 for his salary through January 20 of this year, when he joined the administration.

Delrahim has several assets valued in the six-figure range: money in index funds (smart investor!); two bank accounts, one with more than $100,000 and one with more than $250,000; real estate holdings across the country (D.C., Maryland, Los Angeles, Maryland); and a stake in an online dispute-resolution service called Preconcile, LLC, worth between $250,001 and $500,000.

His most interesting asset: a $100,001-$250,000 stake in a 2016 movie called Trash Fire (and no, snarky Democrats, it’s not about the Trump Administration).

Okay, that’s enough financial voyeurism for now. In the next installment, we’ll cover some heavy hitters in Trumpworld, including presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner and White House Counsel Don McGahn.

Who’s Worth What at the White House: The Financial Disclosures [New York Times]
White House staff financial disclosures: A deeper dive into the forms [Politico]
Kellyanne Conway Valued Polling Firm at $5 Million, Filing Shows [BloombergPolitics]

Earlier: Friday Night Fights — At The Ninth Circuit
Judge Neil Gorsuch: What’s His Net Worth?

DBL square headshotDavid Lat is the founder and managing editor of Above the Law and the author of Supreme Ambitions: A Novel. He previously worked as a federal prosecutor in Newark, New Jersey; a litigation associate at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz; and a law clerk to Judge Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. You can connect with David on Twitter (@DavidLat), LinkedIn, and Facebook, and you can reach him by email at


Published at Mon, 03 Apr 2017 22:53:44 +0000

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