President-elect Donald Trump rode the winds of a populist movement into Washington, D.C., promising to root out money from politics. Yet when picking his Cabinet members, Mr. Trump is surrounding himself with a historic level of wealth that’s at least 50 times greater than the Cabinet that George W. Bush led.
So far, Mr. Trump’s Cabinet picks have a combined net worth of more than $14 billion, based on estimates from Forbes and other sources. Given that many positions have yet to be filled, it’s likely that total will increase in the coming weeks.
Here’s a look at his Cabinet picks so far and their net worths.
Todd Ricketts: $5.3 billion
The Ricketts family made their estimated $5.3 billion fortune from the Ameritrade (AMTD) discount brokerage service, which was founded by his father. Still, Ricketts -- who is Trump’s deputy commerce secretary -- told Chicago Magazine he and his siblings didn’t grow up with wealth. “We were definitely the poor family in the neighborhood,” he said, noting that he owns a bike store now because his parents weren’t wealthy enough to buy him a bike when he was a child.
Ricketts is a co-owner of the Chicago Cubs and CEO of Ending Spending, an organization “dedicated to educating and engaging American taxpayers about wasteful and excessive government spending,” according to its site.
Betsy DeVos: $5.1 billion
Betsy DeVos, Trump’s education secretary, hails from a well-known conservative billionaire family that started the multilevel marketing company Amway. DeVos’ brother, Erik Prince, is the founder of security firm Blackwater.
In her home state of Michigan, Betsy DeVos has advocated for school choice and charter schools. “Traditional public schools are not succeeding, in fact,” she said in 2013. “In fact, let’s be clear, in many cases, they are failing.”
DeVos' family fortune: Amway
When DeVos married her husband, Dick DeVos, in the 1980s, she married into the family that created Amway.
The marketing company recorded revenue of $9.5 billion last year, a decline of 12 percent. Amway said the stronger U.S. dollar was to blame, as well as “soft sales” in China. In 2010, Amway settled a lawsuit that alleged it operated a pyramid scheme.
Wilbur Ross: $2.5 billion
Wilbur Ross, the chairman of WL Ross & Co., is Mr. Trump’s pick for commerce secretary.
During the presidential campaign, he often appeared on business news programs to discuss Mr. Trump’s positions, sometimes downplaying the candidate’s protectionist trade policies.
Wilbur Ross and the Sago Mine
Ross might best be known to some voters as the owner of Sago Mine, a West Virginia coal mine where a dozen miners lost their lives in a 2006 explosion. Ross called the tragedy “the worst week of my life.” (Mining regulations fall under the Department of Labor, not Commerce.)
Linda McMahon: $1.6 billion
Picked by Mr. Trump to run the Small Business Administration, Linda McMahon is the former CEO of WWE and the husband of WWE promoter Vince McMahon, whose wealth is estimated by Forbes at $1.16 billion.
McMahon stepped down from her role at WWE to focus on a political career, spending an estimated $100 million in her unsuccessful run for a U.S. Senate seat in Connecticut. She donated $7 million to pro-Trump super PACs earlier this year.
WWE, Trump and the McMahons
The McMahons have long-standing ties to Mr. Trump, with their company hosting some WrestleMania events at Trump Plaza in Atlantic City. Trump is also a member of the WWE Hall of Fame.
Steve Mnuchin: $40 million
Mr. Trump’s choice for treasury secretary is Steve Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs (GS) banker and film financier who backed movies such as “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “American Sniper.”
Critics say his role at OneWest Bank Group, where he served as co-founder, is problematic, given that some homeowners accused the bank of abusive foreclosure methods.
Ben Carson: $26 million
The former neurosurgeon and Mr. Trump’s pick as housing secretary is worth an estimated $26 million, according to Forbes. While he likely built up assets from his medical career, Carson has created a lucrative second career as a writer and public speaker.
The one-time presidential candidate earned more than $4 million from 141 paid speeches delivered from January 2014 to May 2015, according to The Wall Street Journal. He also earned between $1.1 million to $6 million in book royalties, as well as millions more from serving on corporate boards of companies such as Costco (COST).
Elaine Chao: $22.8 million
With her husband, Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, Chao is worth an estimated $22.8 million. A significant chunk of their fortune come from Chao’s family because the couple inherited millions from her late mother.
Chao’s father founded Foremost Maritime, a major shipping company. She also serves on corporate boards and earns significant income from those roles, according to The Washington Post.
Andy Puzder: $25 million
Mr. Trump’s pick as labor secretary is Andy Puzder, the CEO of CKE Restaurants.
The company was bought by private equity firm Apollo Global Management in 2010. Puzder owned about 2 million shares at the time, which had a value of about $25.1 million, based on Apollo’s purchase price.
Puzder and his views on labor
Puzder has focused on turning around the once-floundering fast-food operator since he was tapped to run the owner of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., CKE in 2000.
He has also been a vocal critic of raising the minimum wage, saying he’s “opposed to minimum wage increases that kill jobs.” Critics have decried his appointment. The Center for American Progress calls him “a billionaire who makes more in one day than the typical fast-food worker makes in a year.”
Stephen Bannon: $20 million
Chief strategist Stephen Bannon is worth a reported $20 million, according to CelebrityNetWorth.com.
Before running Mr. Trump’s campaign, Bannon was the executive chairman of the ultraconservative Breitbart News, which has garnered plenty of controversy during and after the election campaign. He has also worked as an entertainment financier, backing films such as 1999’s “Titus.”
Mnuchin, Bannon and Goldman Sachs
Two of Mr. Trump’s picks have ties to Goldman Sachs: Both chief strategist Steve Bannon and his nominee for treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin, worked at the investment bank earlier in their careers.
Tom Price: $13.6 million
An orthopedic surgeon and fierce critic of Obamacare, Tom Price was tapped as the Health and Human Services secretary. The six-term congressman is said to have a net worth of $13.6 million. His ideas on overhauling the Affordable Care Act have been included in House Republicans’ “Better Way” agenda.
Price will oversee a department with a budget of more than $1 trillion, as well as national health programs including Medicare and Medicaid.
Jeff Sessions: $7.5 million
Alabama Republican Senator Jeff Sessions, Mr. Trump’s attorney general pick, has an estimated net worth of $7.5 million, according to InsideGov.com. By contrast, the typical member of congress has a net worth of $1.1 million.
Sessions, an attorney, owns land worth more than $2 million, which has contributed to his wealth, according to Alabama Today.
Under consideration: Mitt Romney, $250 million
Mitt Romney, who Mr. Trump has said is under consideration for secretary of state, owes his $250 million fortune to his work in private equity. Romney co-founded Bain Capital, which has invested or bought dozens of companies, ranging from Burger King to Toys “R” Us.
When he ran for president in 2012, Romney revealed details about his wealth, such as his $31 million in cash and as much as $500,000 in gold. He also has between $21 million and $102 million in retirement assets, according to The Washington Post.