White House senior adviser Anita Dunn is being forced to sell an investment portfolio worth an estimated $16.8 million to $48.2 million that ethics lawyers say poses significant conflicts of interest in her new role.
Political and communication strategists have to distance themselves from the numerous domestic and international issues affecting her former clients.
of Dunn Newly announced financial disclosures, which is 93 pages long, shows the extensive stocks, options, bonds and private equity holdings — that she and her husband, veteran attorney Bob Bauer, have amassed over the years. Bauer is a high-powered attorney who served in the White House under the Obama administration; Dunn is a founding member of the consulting firm SKDK where she was paid approximately $738,715 over the past 2½ years, according to the White House. The disclosure form also provides insight into her extensive client list at SKDK.
White House spokesman Chris Meagher said in an email to CNBC on Thursday that Dunn would have to divest her holdings and be removed from all matters related to SKDK and her past clients. According to Biden-Harris’ ethics pledge, she will not be able to attend any meetings for two years, he said. The form discloses transactions for the past two calendar years Her visit on 9th MayMeagher added.
“Ethics require White House officials to stay away from matters that conflict with their financial interests. When officials have a larger scope of duties and an even larger stock portfolio, sunlight is the best disinfectant,” Kedric Payne, vice president and general counsel. The watchdog Campaign Legal Center said after reviewing her disclosures.
Dunn worked for the president as one of his senior advisers from January 2021 to August before returning briefly this March. She was considered a special government employee for both posts who were exempt from publicly disclosing her assets. She was not needed file Public Disclosure Form until her most recent appointment in May.
She returned as president Joe Biden’s The public poll numbers were in the stream And the administration was struggling with troubling global and domestic crises Russia invades UkraineComputer chip shortages, rising gas prices and skyrocketing inflation. Biden also announced By late February, he was nominating Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court.
The disclosure also shows dozens of stock holdings acquired by Dunn and her husband, including call and put options tied to the S&P 500, corporate and municipal bonds, and personal stocks held in numerous brokerage accounts. Those brokerage accounts represent investments in corporate giants such as Amazon, Alphabet, Boeing, Bank of America, Chevron, Dow, KKR and Morgan Stanley. The couple’s portfolio is diversified and includes at least $500,000 tied up in hedge funds.
Ethics requirements for White House officials and lawmakers do not require precise values, but instead depend on a fairly broad range. Based on her disclosure form, Senior Financial Planner at The Planning Centre, H. Jude Boudreaux estimated that her and her husband’s holdings were between $16.8 million and $48.2 million. Boudreaux is a certified financial planner at The Planning Center. Lee Baker, a certified financial planner with Apex Financial Services, estimated Dunn and her partner’s net worth at between $18 million and $38 million. Their assets are not listed on the form or included in the calculation of their net worth.
The couple put between $1,000 and $15,000 in corporate bonds issued by Lockheed Martin, Philip Morris, Target, Bank of America, Apple and Boeing — all companies with frequent and multiple issues that require federal oversight. The pair had between $15,001 and $50,000 in loans issued by several other corporations, including Cisco Systems, Oracle, Wells Fargo, Duke Energy, Visa and Amazon. They also have numerous accounts or mutual fund holdings valued at over $500,000 each. Dunn also held $1 million to $5 million in stock in the marketing firm StagwellWhich she got after buying SKDK in 2015.
He also made thousands of dollars exercising put options in the iShares Core S&P 500 index, which could create a conflict of interest with “every company” in the S&P 500, according to Walter Schaub, who runs the Office of Government Ethics. Worked in the Obama administration and briefly in the Trump administration.
“Under no circumstances are options exempt from a conflict of interest. That means she came into government with a conflict of interest with the companies whose stocks she was writing options for and every company in the referenced indices,” Schaub later said. Reviewing Dunn’s financial disclosures. He said she would have to eliminate all options or “expose herself to every issue that affects any company in the S&P 500 and any other company.”
The power couple also held several municipal bonds used for state and local infrastructure and school projects across America, including Burlington County, New Jersey; Clark County, Nevada; Klein County Independent School District in Texas; and Miami-Dade County, Florida, to name a few. The Biden administration is giving hundreds of billions, if not trillions, of dollars to local, city and state agencies and schools to invest in transportation infrastructure, high-speed Internet access and other public works projects.
SKDK is among the top 25 paid Democratic political vendors in the country, according to nonpartisan campaign finance watchdog OpenSecrets. Data shows that during the 2020 election cycle, more than $65 million was paid to SKDK by Democratic-aligned campaigns. According to OpenSecrets data, Biden’s campaign paid more than $2 million for SKDK’s services last cycle.
In an interview Thursday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” she previewed the president’s upcoming schedule as the White House triumphed with the expected prize of deflationary legislation and Chips and Science Act Signed into law.
“So, one of the things that we have to work together on and we can work together on is the ongoing opioid crisis we have in this country,” Dunn said in an interview Thursday on MSNBC. “Cancer, and the end of cancer as we know it. Again, something very bipartisan that everybody has to work together on and continue to push forward. And he’s going to continue to work toward an economy that really works for working people. In this country.”
Micron, one of Dunn’s former clients, declared Shortly after the CHIPS bill was signed into law, Meagher noted that Dunn had nothing to do with the announcement earlier this week that it would invest $40 billion between now and 2030 to make chips in the US, and that she stopped working for Micron before rejoining White. house
Other clients include AT&T, American Clean Power Association, Lyft, Pivotal Ventures, Pfizer, Salesforce and Reddit.
Pivotal Ventures is an investment firm founded by Melinda French Gates, who divorced billionaire Bill Gates last year. French Gates has made frequent visits to the Biden-led White House, as recently as April, according to White House visitor records. Meagher said the French Gates meeting was not organized by Dunn but noted that her previous work for Pivotal focused on issues related to paid family leave.
Salesforce has not been a client of Dunn since 2020 and was for a media training project, Meagher said. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and his family met privately with Biden in mid-March, according to visitor records. Meagher did not respond when asked if Dunn helped set up that meeting, and Salesforce did not return a request for comment.
Most of the other clients mentioned in this story did not return requests for comment. A Reddit spokesperson declined to comment.
AT&T spokesman Alexander Byers told CNBC that SKDK “has provided us with strategic communications advice for over a decade,” but that Dunn was not the account head. She offered advice from time to time, he said.