Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and top White House health adviser to President Joe Biden, is the highest-paid employee of the federal government, and he made more money in 2019 than the president of the United States.
Federal salary data compiled by OpenTheBooks.com, which filed Freedom of Information Act requests to collect its data, and reported by Forbes shows that in 2019, the latest year for which federal salary data is available, Fauci, 80, collected an annual salary of $417,608, more money than any other of the federal government's 4 million employees.
For reference, the salary of the president of the United States is $400,000 annually.
Between 2010 and 2019, Fauci made $3.6 million in salary. In 2014, his pay was increased from $335,000 to its current level of $417,608
In past interviews, Fauci has played coy about how much money he makes. In an interview with actor Matthew McConaughey on Aug. 13, McConaughey asked the NIAID director if he had any money invested in a vaccine.
"Zero! I am a government worker and I have a government salary," Fauci replied, without mentioning that his government salary was at the time higher than every other federal employee's income.
After the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Fauci became the public relations face of the White House Coronavirus Task Force established by President Trump and led by Vice President Mike Pence. Fauci's salary eclipsed the other members of the task force, even Pence, who outranked Fauci but made just $235,100 in 2019. Another member of the task force, Dr. Deborah Birx, earned $305,972.
High-ranking public officials in Congress and on the Supreme Court also make less than Fauci, Forbes reported. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will earn $223,500 in 2020, while U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will make $270,700. Rank-and-file lawmakers earn a salary of $174,000. Four-star military generals make $268,000 a year.
There are 2.1 million federal agency employees serving in the executive branch, 1.4 million members of the military, and 500,000 postal service employees. Typically, federal employee salaries are capped, but there is an exception made for doctors and scientists to ensure that their salaries are competitive with the private sector. The point of this policy is to ensure that doctors and scientists are willing to work for the federal government. According to OpenTheBooks.com, there are three doctors working for the Department of Health and Human Services who will earn more than the president, with 2019 incomes ranging from $406,000 to $417,000.