Ever since the Watergate scandal in the Nixon White House, senior employees of the president have been required to make details of their finances public. This includes their stock holdings, salaries and business ties at the time they enter government service. Why? These are the people who have the president’s ear. They shape policy. Conflicts of interest would matter.
One month ago, the Trump administration began releasing their employees’ financial disclosures. At the time, they said there were roughly 180 disclosures. But we’re still waiting for at least 60 forms. That’s an “at least” because, thanks to the opacity of this process, we don’t even know if we’ve asked for the full list. The administration declined to provide the names of the eligible staffers. This means we’ve had to guess.
We’ve only been able to get 105 so far. (Here’s our Google Drive with all of the disclosures.) There are an additional 15 that we’ve been told are still being processed. As for the other 60? Some of the possible reasons they are missing in action:
- The White House general counsel’s office is slowly processing these disclosures or staffers have yet to fill them out;
- The roughly 180-odd figure cited by the White House is actually lower;
- Or — and this is the big one — we have requested the wrong 180 names. We’ve been told that roughly 35 of the names we’ve requested are wrong because the staffers’ salaries are not high enough to qualify. It seems very possible that there are 25 or so staffers out there whose names we don’t know.
So our next task — and our next ask for you — is to identify any people potentially missing from our list of White House staffers. We really do need your help. (Here’s our list of White House staffers we’ve requested disclosures for and a form you can fill out with additional White House names. If you’d prefer not to go on the record, here’s our best advice for contacting us securely.)
To help you (and us), here’s the criteria the White House has provided for those that are required to file financial disclosures:
- They need to be “commissioned officers,” borrowing a military term for senior staff, reporting directly to the president. These titles generally include “…to the President” or “…to the Vice President.”
- Civilian White House employees making more than $161,755 are also subject to disclosure. Their titles are broader, but could include, for example, “special adviser,” “assistant,” “director” or “counsel.” This still has to be within the White House — not a separate federal agency such as the State Department or the Department of Agriculture.
- These could be people who have left the government. We’ve already got a few of those on our list. (See Flynn, Michael.)
We can make guesses. It doesn’t hurt to request names we’re not 100 percent sure qualify.
The list we pulled together comes from press announcements and statements from the White House. We’ve scoured these to the best of our ability, looking for people with applicable titles. So did our partners at the Associated Press and the New York Times. This doesn’t mean we’ve caught them all.
Here are other ways you could find the names missing from this list:
We — or, at this point, you — could know someone who knows someone who works in the White House and fits these criteria. Perhaps they have never shown up in an official record. Clearly, you know many people we do not. Share. Ask around.
We know some people originally working for federal agencies as temporary employees, so-called beachhead team members, have now made their way to the White House. Here’s our list of those names. If you know anything more about their current employment status, that could be helpful.
Local press reports, LinkedIn pages, social media accounts. Buried within someone’s social media history could be an update about a new job in the White House.