The General Services Administration officials just released secret records about post-presidency staffers for Trump and Pence.
The staffers earned taxpayer-funded paychecks after Trump and Pence left office.
Insider in October sued the GSA for the records, which the agency released in part this week.
In response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by Insider, the General Services Administration has identified three more former White House aides who earned taxpayer-funded paychecks while working for former President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in the months after they left office.
GSA identified the post-White House transition team staff members as Trump aides Margo Martin and Madison Porter and Pence aide Hannah MacInnis.
Porter served as the communications director for former First Lady Melania Trump, according to the GSA records, and Martin worked as a press assistant. MacInnis served as Pence’s digital director and has since founded her own design consulting firm.
The documents help shed light on how Trump staffed his government-funded transition office and directed funds in the six months after President Joe Biden’s inauguration, when Trump faced his second impeachment trial and continued to deny he lost the 2020 presidential election.
According to records previously obtained by Insider, the Trump and Pence transition offices spent federal funds on everything from stationery engraved with Trump’s initials to printer toner and a plastic floor mat for use under the former president’s desk chair.
The GSA estimated that Trump’s post-presidential staff would receive about $1.3 million in federal salary and benefits between January 20 and July 21, 2021, when the formal transition period ended, according to the records.
Since leaving the White House in January 2021, Donald Trump has kept a circle of close aides and advisors on his payroll through a non-governmental entity — his Save America political action committees.
But some Trump aides collected a taxpayer-funded government salary during the first 6 months after the Trump administration concluded, according to records Insider obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
Insider reported last year that at least 17 former White House advisors, including Stephen Miller and Dan Scavino, received a federal salary and benefits working for Trump’s post-presidential transition office.
At the time, the General Services Administration redacted — or blacked-out — the names of 5 members of Trump’s transition team, concealing their identities in the batch of documents provided to Insider.
Insider argues in its lawsuit that the GSA is incorrect and illegally withholding the requested information.
The “requested records are not exempt under FOIA,” Insider said in the complaint. “According to the US Department of Justice’s FOIA Guide, ‘civilian federal employees who are not involved in law enforcement or sensitive occupations generally have no expectation of privacy regarding their names, titles, grades, salaries, and duty stations as employees.”
The GSA said its refusal to identify certain Trump and Pence staffers is based on the belief that, “on balance, each staffer’s privacy interest in non-disclosure outweighed the public’s interest in disclosure.”
But in a letter to Insider on March 29, GSA said that it was “voluntarily releasing” the names of Porter, Martin, and MacInnis “because release of this information is appropriate at this time.”
This decision comes two weeks after Attorney General Merrick Garland issued new Freedom of Information Act guidelines that “strengthen the federal government’s commitment to the fair and effective administration of FOIA,” although it’s unclear whether Garland’s guidelines prompted GSA’s reversal.
The GSA has still not released the names of several other Trump and Pence post-presidential transition office staffers.
“We will continue to pursue this matter in federal court until the GSA releases all the names, because the public has a right to know who it paid to work for Donald Trump and Mike Pence after they left office,” said Dave Levinthal, Insider’s deputy Washington Bureau chief.
‘Winding up the affairs’
He could have similarly turned away the taxpayer money to which he was entitled under the Presidential Transition Act, a federal law that gives outgoing presidents and vice presidents government funding and facilities “for use in connection with winding up the affairs of his office.”
But Trump took the money and employed 10 transition aides in Palm Beach, Florida, and another seven aides in Arlington, Virginia.
Martin and Porter — the transition aides newly identified in the GSA records — received annualized salaries of $90,000 and $100,000, respectively, for their work in Trump’s post-presidential transition office.
For the six-month period between January and July 2021, Martin and Porter were expected to make $60,583 and $67,315 in salary and benefits, respectively, according to the GSA documents.
MacInnis was expected to make $40,389 in salary and benefits, according to the GSA records.
Martin, Porter, and MacInnis did not respond to requests for comment. A Trump spokesperson also did not respond to a request for comment.
In late July 2021, shortly after the end of the transition period, Martin and Porter both began to receive regular paychecks from Trump’s Save America PAC, according to disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission.
According to the GSA records, Scavino was the highest-paid member of Trump’s transition staff, with an annualized salary of $172,500. The GSA estimated that Scavino, who served as deputy White House chief of staff, would receive $116,118 in salary and benefits between January and July 2021.
Miller was projected to receive $107,704 in federal salary and benefits, with an annualized salary of $160,000.
Like Martin and Porter, Miller and Scavino were added to the Save America PAC payroll following Trump’s transition period.
Both have remained loyal to Trump and resisted investigations into his effort to overturn the 2020 election. In March, Miller sued the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol to block the panel’s subpoena for his phone records.
Scavino has refused to cooperate with the committee’s investigation. In a vote earlier this week, the House committee voted to recommend that the Justice Department charge Scavino with criminal contempt of Congress.
The full House is expected to vote next week on that recommendation.
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