White House releases financial disclosures for staff

White House releases financial disclosures for staff
© Greg Nash
The White House released details on Friday evening about the personal finances of senior staff members. 
Financial information for top White House staff including chief strategist Steve Bannon, chief of staff Reince Priebus, senior adviser Jared Kushner and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn were published late Friday.
Press secretary Sean Spicer said earlier in the day that personal financial disclosures for “commissioned officers” would be made public, but did not specify which specific staffers would be included. Individuals and news outlets had to submit individual requests to receive staffers' disclosure forms. 
President Trump and Vice President Pence’s financial documents were not included. 
The paperwork gives insight into the finances of an unusually wealthy White House staff. 
Bannon's file, for example, shows an estimated net worth of at least $10.7 million. Cohn's career at Goldman Sachs helps put his assets at at least $252 millionKushner's 54-page filing is a web of real estate LLCs and also gives a glimpse into the finances of Ivanka Trump. The New York Times reported that Kushner will retain a significant stake in his family's large real estate business. 
Ivanka Trump's financial report is not yet available, because high-ranking officials have 30 days after taking office to file the disclosures with ethics officials. 
A White House official clarified that these reports list assets, outside positions, and other financial details of each person when they entered the White House, and the disclosures are not a current accounting of their affairs.
"I want to highlight the incredible complexity and sophistication of the assets and the financial structures that this White House is going to present. These are incredibly successful individuals — very high net worth, very sophisticated, complex asset structures, numerous sub-LLC, trusts, others, all of which have to be worked through," a senior White House ethics counsel told reporters during a background briefing with the press on Friday afternoon.
There are about 180 people considered to be senior staff or commissioned officers. Commissioned officers titles' could include assistant, deputy assistant, or special assistant to the president. Senior staff members are defined as those making more than $161,700 per year.
Friday afternoon, a new page went live on the White House website that will allow for members of the public to request individual financial disclosure reports to be sent to them personally.
During the background briefing about this process, a senior White House ethics counsel told reporters that a list of the 180 names would not be made available.
"I certainly don't know if I have that leverage," one of the senior White House officials said under his breath during some cross-talk about the subject.
Frustrated reporters pressed the lawyers about the cumbersome process. The White House insists that they are following the same legal procedures — and request process — as the Obama administration.
Those seeking details about the finances of Obama White House officials also had to fill out a form — called a 201 form — in order to see them.
"You do a lot of things differently than the Obama administration, you talk about that every day," a reporter said.
"You’re absolutely right, you know what we did differently? We are ahead of schedule. The Obama administration released these items on April 3, and we’re now on March 31, so we are different," a second senior official shot back.