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January 28, 2009 1:25 PM

Obama's Am Law 100 Earners

Posted by Brian Baxter

Financial disclosure statements filed with the U.S. Office of Government Ethics show that Eric Holder, Jr., Jeh Johnson, Ronald Kirk, and Tom Vilsack reaped the profits from being Am Law 100 partners. (Hat Tip: Politico.)

Holder, Obama's nominee for attorney general, made $3.3 million at Covington & Burling last year, a number that includes deferred compensation. The AG-to-be (barring an unexpected senatorial rejection) stands to earn between $1 million and $5 million from Covington as part of a separation agreement with the firm.

Holder also will receive a repayment of anywhere between $500,000 and $1 million from Covington's capital account. Politico reports that Covington's retirement plan also might pay Holder nearly $500,000. If confirmed as AG, Holder's annual salary would be $196,700. Holder previously served as deputy attorney general at Main Justice during the Clinton administration.

Obama's nominee to be the Pentagon's top lawyer, prospective Defense Department general counsel Jeh Johnson of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, earned $2.6 million last year as a litigation partner at the firm. Like Holder, Johnson will receive severance of between $1 million and $5 million as part of his agreement with Paul Weiss along with the return of a $200,000 capital investment.

Johnson, who previously served as general counsel of the Air Force during the Clinton administration, also disclosed stock holdings of between $1,001 to $15,000 in defense contactors like Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed Martin, New York-based L-3 Communications, and Minneapolis-based Alliant Techsystems. Politico reports that monthly pension payments of $3,951 will kick in from Paul Weiss for Johnson when he turns 65.

Obama's nominee for U.S. trade representative, former two-term Dallas mayor and Vinson & Elkins partner Ronald Kirk, received $556,740 from his firm last year along with an additional $460,265 from his work on the boards of Phoenix-based PetSmart, Dallas-based Dean Foods, and Dallas-based Brinker International.

Kirk also revealed that he owns between $500,000 and $1 million in Dean Foods stock, between $200,000 and $500,000 of PetSmart stock, and between $50,000 and $100,000 of stock in Brinker, owner of the delicious Chili's and Macaroni Grill restaurant chains.

As part of Kirk's separation agreement from V&E, the firm will pay him a $150,000 bonus and other accrued benefits, which Politico reports includes an outstanding $80,000 partnership share.

Former Iowa governor Vilsack, who made partner at Dorsey & Whitney shortly before returning to the private sector as Obama's nominee for secretary of agriculture, revealed that he earned $300,000 from his firm last year. According to The AP, Vilsack also received $100,000 from Des Moines-based MidAmerican Energy for a consulting contract, $63,000 from Iowa State University, and $55,000 from several other sources.

Vilsack also disclosed that he and his wife own between $500,000 to $1 million worth of farmland, for which they received $15,000 to $50,000 in rent last year.

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