Washington Some of President Obama’s top economic advisers were paid for their commentaries in 2008 about tax policy, government bailouts of financial institutions, global trade and the economic recession, according to financial disclosure forms made public by the White House late Friday.
Four White House economic aides, including National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers, received thousands of dollars in payments for newspaper opinion columns or cable television appearances, the documents show.
The officials received income for their commentaries before joining Obama’s administration in January. Yet at the same time that some were advising Obama’s presidential campaign, they were being paid by news organizations, in some cases for commentating on President George W. Bush’s economic policies or advocating for policies that Obama supported on the campaign trail.
Summers did not join the Obama team in an official capacity until after the November election, but he was an influential adviser to the candidate during the race.
A White House aide said that payments to Summers — including more than $2.7 million in speaking fees from dozens of corporations and other groups — predated his work in Obama’s administration or on his transition team.
Others include Jared Bernstein, formerly of the Economic Policy Institute, $70,000 for more than 130 appearances on CNBC; Austan Goolsbee, a University of Chicago economist, paid $2,000 by the New York Times for a column; and Jason Furman, with the Brookings Institution, $7,900 for column work, including for The Washington Post and Los Angeles Times.