Joe Biden and team cashed in on the Trump economy they now diss

Yellen scored $7 million in fees, Blinken and Haynes got big dollars, while Biden himself scored $16.7 million, early disclosure reports show.

Published: January 1, 2021 4:48pm

Updated: January 2, 2021 5:39pm

Joe Biden has endlessly attacked the economy that Donald Trump built as rewarding wealth over work, even though before the pandemic it had achieved record-low unemployment, large job growth for minorities, a robust stock market, low interest rates and historic reductions in poverty.

“You’re going to need to start to reward work again, not just wealth," Biden said in a typical attack a few months back.

But left unspoken in the Biden team's political attacks is an irrefutable fact: The Democrat and his closest advisers personally fared extremely well during the Trump years, with some raking in millions each, according to financial disclosure reports newly filed with the Office of Government Ethics.

Biden himself saw an historic rise in income and net worth, scoring at least $16.7 millions in income since Trump took office in 2017, or about three times what he and his wife Jill had made in the prior 20 years combined, his disclosure shows.

The former vice president also picked up a nifty second house, a beach estate in Rehoboth, Del., worth more than $2 million.

He wasn't alone in the high earning category among his team.

Janet Yellen, the former Federal Reserve chair chosen to be Treasury Secretary, reported this week she collected more than $7 million in speaking fees alone in 2019 and 2020 from major financial firms such as Citi and Goldman Sachs and tech giants including Google.

She had so much of Wall Street throwing her money that her proposed recusal statement identifying companies she will avoid entirely in policy decisions or that would require ethics waivers as Treasury boss runs five pages long.

The disclosure reports provide a rare window into how the Biden advisers cashed in during the Trump years with consulting, speeches, investments and positions after leaving the Obama administration.

In Washington, the path to riches is often called the "revolving door" as figures move back and forth between the government and private sector.

Antony Blinken, the man named by Biden to be Secretary of State, provided a textbook example. After leaving the State Department as the No. 2 official in 2017, according to his new OGE report, he scored relationships with a dozen different clients.

His consulting and business ranged from nearly $1.2 million in payments and between $1.75 million and $6.5 million in equity of distributions from his consulting firm called West Exec Advisors LLC.

He also secured $144,483 advising the Biden for President campaign, $134,021 for serving on the board of the investment firm Meridiam, nearly $80,000 in salary for teaching at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy, $21,666 for appearing on CNN, and $27,500 for a speech honorarium from Berskhire Partners.

Blinken also reported taking out a mortgage for a home valued at between $1 million and $5 million in 2018 with a Trump-era interest rate of just 3.5 percent. He also reported owning a loan stake from a 99-year lease of a property worth between $500,000 and $1 million.

Avril Haynes, slated to be America's first female Director of National Intelligence if Joe Biden becomes president on Jan. 20, reported she had seven separate sources of income over $5,000 each after leaving the Obama administration which landed her about $1 million since 2017.

That included $440,121 in income for teaching at Columbia University, $180,000 in consulting fees from the intelligence firm Palantir Technologies, $150,000 in consulting from Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab, about $55,000 in consulting and finder's fees from Blinken's Westlake consulting firm, $54,000 for serving on Biden's transition team and $27,577 for service on Tikehau Capital's advisory board. Uber also paid her $13,000 for "participation in interview."

To put that in perspective, the median household income in America reported by the Census Bureau in September was $65,712.

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