The 40 legal staff at the White House Counsel’s Office and other departments earn between US$62,000 (AUD$72,600) and US$172,200 (AUD $215,700) per annum, far less than the highly qualified staff are used to earning, reports The National Law Journal.
White House counsel, Gregory Craig, is the highest earner, but his salary is well below his former remuneration package at Williams & Connolly where last year he earned US$1.7 million (AUD$2.1m), according to a disclosure report released in April.
Below Craig, three people with the title of deputy White House counsel earn US$158,500 (AUD$198,000): Daniel Meltzer, a longtime Harvard Law professor who is principal deputy; Cassandra Butts, a former vice president at the liberal Center for American Progress; and Mary DeRosa, deputy counsel for national security who previously worked on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The list also includes 12 people with the title of associate White House counsel, at a salary of $130,500 (AUD$163,000), with 30 of the 40 staff earning over US$100,000 (AUD$125,000) per year.
However, none of those 30 staff can expect a pay rise in the next year, after President Barack Obama announced in January that all White House staff earning over US$100,000 (AUD$125,000) would be put on a pay freeze.
President Obama said that given families across the country were tightening their belts in this economic crisis, Washington should also, and was part of his plan to make government more responsible and accountable. Most of the salaries are the same as those paid to Bush administration lawyers a year ago.
The annual report to Congress was established in 1995 and is designed to provide greater transparency of Government’s expenditure.