Bannon Owns Rental Property and Film Companies, But No Stocks

  • White House strategist’s assets are as much as $53.9 million
  • Financial disclosures of Trump officials released Friday

Steve Bannon's Weird, Winding Road to the White House

White House chief strategist Steve Bannon holds assets worth between $11.9 million and $53.9 million and disclosed $1.15 million in income for 2016 and part of this year, according to a report released Friday.

He was paid more than $125,000 in consulting fees for work on behalf of Cambridge Analytica, a data firm that advised political candidates, during the reporting period. He earned $191,000 while serving as the executive chairman at Breitbart News.

Bannon’s assets include multiple rental real estate properties and stakes in entertainment companies -- but no common stock, mutual funds or bonds, according to the 12-page disclosure report released by the White House.

The disclosure was the first comprehensive look into the finances of the top presidential adviser and leading architect of Trump’s surprise campaign victory. 

The report shows that Bannon holds no equity in Breitbart, a politically conservative news outlet that is known both for its vocal support for Trump and incendiary articles about race, religion, sexual orientation and political correctness.

Disclosure Requirements

Officials are required to report sources of compensation above $5,000 in a year for the last two calendar years before filing. Other assets, income and retirement accounts are reported for the preceding calendar year.

Bannon joined the board of Breitbart in 2011, taking control of the news organization a year later after the death of the site’s eponymous owner, Andrew Breitbart.

Under Bannon’s leadership, Breitbart expanded with a renewed focus on nationalist and populist stories presented with an anti-globalist bent. He has said that the site is a “platform for the alt-right,” which critics charge is a brand of far-right conservatism that embraces racist and anti-Semitic ideas.

Bannon had already come under scrutiny after tax documents revealed he was paid $376,000 over four years from a tax-exempt charity known as the Government Accountability Institute while simultaneously working at Breitbart. He disclosed $61,539 in salary from the group before entering the White House.

Top donors to the Government Accountability Institute included the Mercer Family Foundation. Robert Mercer, co-chief executive officer of the Renaissance Technologies hedge fund, and his daughter, Rebekah, were also among the top donors to Trump’s campaign. Rebekah Mercer played an integral role in Trump’s transition team, interviewing and recommending candidates for top jobs.

Entertainment Business

The disclosure also provided a look into how Bannon continues to benefit from the sale of Bannon & Co., the firm he created with fellow Goldman Sachs colleagues in 1990.

The company, which focused on media and entertainment deals, helped facilitate the sale of Castle Rock Entertainment from Westinghouse Electric to Ted Turner. As part of the fee for the deal, Bannon’s firm accepted a stake in five television shows, including “Seinfeld.” Bannon & Co. was sold to Société Générale in 1998.

Bannon listed income between $50,001 and $100,000 in rent or royalties from that deal last year.

Bannon’s disclosure also shows that he earned significant income from his work producing “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich.” 

The book was written by Government Accountability Institute president Peter Schweizer, and detailed allegations of favor-trading by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who battled Trump for the White House. Bannon funded a film adaptation of the book, which was screened at the Cannes Film Festival and received a limited release last year in U.S. movie theaters.

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