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Trump's Cabinet Picks Have a Combined Wealth of $14.5B. How Did They All Make Their Money?

Wilbur Ross, President-elect Donald Trump's choice for Commerce Secretary, wears a 'Make America Great Again Hat' as he speaks briefly to reporters at Trump Tower, November 29, 2016 in New York City.
Getty Images
Wilbur Ross, President-elect Donald Trump's choice for Commerce Secretary, wears a 'Make America Great Again Hat' as he speaks briefly to reporters at Trump Tower, November 29, 2016 in New York City.

President-elect Donald Trump ran on a campaign of blue-collar anger and populism, but he is now drawing fire for stocking his White House with fellow billionaires.

Financial success isn't necessarily a barrier to public service. President Obama has a billionaire on staff too: Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker is worth an estimated $2.5 billion, from real estate and family banking investments in Chicago.

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But already the combined wealth of Trump's prospective cabinet tops $14 billion — more than 30 times greater than that of even President George W. Bush's White House. And Trump isn't halfway done with his picks.

Here's a look at how some of the wealthiest appointees so far stack up, according to data and estimates by the Washington Post, Forbes, The Guardian, and OpenSecrets.org:


Todd Ricketts, Deputy Secretary of Commerce: $5.3 billion

President-elect Donald Trump shakes hands with Todd Ricketts, co-owner of the Chicago Cubs, after their meeting at Trump International Golf Club, November 19, 2016 in Bedminster Township, New Jersey.
Drew Angerer | Getty Images
President-elect Donald Trump shakes hands with Todd Ricketts, co-owner of the Chicago Cubs, after their meeting at Trump International Golf Club, November 19, 2016 in Bedminster Township, New Jersey.

Co-owner of Chicago Cubs. Billionaire father founded the Ameritrade discount brokerage services.

Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education: $5.1 billion

President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence met with Betsy DeVos on November 19, 2016.
Andy Katz | Pacific Press | LightRocket | Getty Images
President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence met with Betsy DeVos on November 19, 2016.

Daughter-in-law of Amway co-founder. Brother founded Blackwater. Fierce faith-based proponent of school voucher programs.

Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce: $2.9 billion

Dubbed the "king of bankruptcy." Restructured failed companies in steel, coal, and telecommunications using leveraged buyouts.

Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury: $46 million

Steven Mnuchin
Mike Segar | Reuters
Steven Mnuchin

Worked 17 years at Goldman Sachs. Started his own hedge fund and invested in two Donald Trump projects. Turned around failed home lender IndyMac. Company was involved in string of lawsuits over questionable foreclosure practices.

Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: $26 million

Ben Carson
Rainier Ehrhardt | Reuters
Ben Carson

A former Republican presidential candidate and neurosurgeon with revenue from best-selling books, paid speeches and board positions. Has said social safety net and welfare programs create dependency among poor.

Elaine Chao, Transportation Secretary: $16.9 million

Former US Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao arrives at Trump Tower to meet with President-elect Donald Trump on November 21, 2016 in New York.
Eduardo Munoz Alvarez | AFP | Getty Images
Former US Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao arrives at Trump Tower to meet with President-elect Donald Trump on November 21, 2016 in New York.

Former member of both Bush administrations. Daughter of a shipping magnate. Married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Tom Price, Secretary of Health and Human Services: $13.6 million

Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga.
Bill Clark | CQ Roll Call | Getty Images
Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga.

An orthopedic surgeon with medical industry companies in his stock portfolio who wants to repeal Obamacare and replace it with tax credits and health savings accounts.

Jeff Sessions, Attorney General: $15.8 million

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL).
Getty Images
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL).

Republican Senator from Alabama. Noted advocate for reducing legal immigration. Supported Bush tax cuts, opposed 2009 stimulus and Obamacare.

Top contributors are in legal, health, real estate and utilities, especially a gas and electric company and a coal-mining firm.