Kirsten Gillibrand Net Worth: $498,502
Kirsten Gillibrand has spoken out against President Donald Trump is expected to run for president in 2020 (she will reportedly launch her exploratory committee this week), yet she wasn’t always loved by progressives. Some of her first clients were tobacco companies, and she once had an “A” grade from the National Rifle Association.
Since shifting her views, she’s won the hearts of Democrats for her safe Democratic vote and calling on men to step down after sexual misconduct. She’s been called a “lightweight” by President Trump in his tweets.
Kirsten Gillibrand’s net worth is $498,502, according to OpenSecrets, making her the 83rd wealthiest person in the Senate (out of 100). The former lawyer turned Congresswoman turned Senator is won reelection for another six-year term in 2018.
Most of her wealth comes from investments and her salary as an attorney before working in Congress, where the salary is set. She’s married to a British man named Jonathan Gillibrand, and the couple has two sons.
Here’s what you need to know about Kirsten Gillibrand’s net worth and how she makes her money:
1. She Worked for a Large Law Firm & Defended Philip Morris
Gillibrand, formerly known as Kirsten Rutnik, grew up in Albany, New York. Her parents were both lawyers, and her father was also a lobbyist. She followed the family tradition and attended Dartmouth College, where she majored in Asian Studies, then got her law degree from University of California Los Angeles. She passed the bar in 1991.
While at Dartmouth, Gillibrand interned for Republican Senator Alfonse D’Amato, but after that stint didn’t get back into politics for a few more years.
Her law career started with Davis Polk & Wardwell, a Manhattan law firm. A year in, she took a leave of absence to work as a clerk for Judge Roger Miner, a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Albany, New York.
While back at Davis Polk & Wardwell, she actively defended tobacco. According to the New York Times, she traveled to Germany while working for the company, where scientists for the company found a connection between smoking and cancer, but kept it from the public. Since, she’s said she was a junior associate and did not have control over the cases she represented. She was promoted to Senior Associate for her work, which she said allowed her to take on more pro bono cases, including some helping abused women and tenants fighting landlords over lead conditions.
Her salary for these roles is not known, but according to Indeed the average salary for an attorney at Davis Polk & Wardwell is $187,917.
Gillibrand’s foray into politics started while at Davis Polk & Wardwell too. She became the leader of the Women’s Leadership Forum, which is part of the Democratic National Committee. She said she was inspired to get more involved because of a speech from Hillary Clinton.
During the last year of the Clinton Administration, Gillibrand worked as Special Counsel to the Secretary of Urban Development, Andrew Cuomo. More recently, she endorsed Cuomo for Governor of New York. While working as his Special Counsel, Gillibrand worked on a New Market Initiative and strengthened enforcements of the Davis-Bacon act.
She also worked on Hillary Clinton’s 2000 United States Senate race, where she helped the former First Lady focus on young women and encourage them to campaign. She personally donated $12,000 or more to the campaign, which Clinton won.
After the race, Gillibrand went back to work as an attorney, becoming a partner at Boies, Schiller & Flexner. This time, Altria Group, the parent company of Philip Morris, was a client. Again, it is unclear what Gillibrand’s salary was as a partner, but it can be assumed it was significantly higher than in her previous role.
If she runs for president, it’s likely she would look toward current high contributors, which indlue Davis, Polk & Wardwell, her former employer, as well as a few other law firms and securities and investment companies.
2. Now, Her Salary Is Set by Congress
Gillibrand decided to run for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2006, when both Bill and HIllary Clinton campaigned for her in the race against Representative John Sweeney. She won with 53 percent of the vote, and was seen as more of a moderate than a true democrat. The race was, at the time, one of the costliest in New York State, according to the New York Times. She won reelection in 2008 with 61 percent of the vote, this time against former New York Secretary of State Sandy Treadwell.
In the House of Representatives, she was part of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group made up of Democrats on the moderate to conservative side of the party.
When Hillary Clinton was tapped by President Barack Obama to serve as Secretary of State in 2008, she resigned immediately. It was up to Governor David Paterson to fill the seat, and on January 23, 2009, he chose Gillibrand for the role. Since then, Gillibrand has moved more and more to the left, helping to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” working to get Sonia Sotomayor on the Supreme Court, and calling on Al Franken and others to resign after sexual misconduct or abuse allegations. She’s recently been named part of the “Hell No” caucus, a group of five senators designated by Politico to be staunch opposers of Donald Trump. The other four members are Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Kamala Harris of California, and Cory Booker of New Jersey.
As both a member of the House of Representatives and as a Senator, Gillibrand has made $174,000 per year, the set salary for senators and members of the House of Representatives. Under Article I, Section 6 of the United States Constitution, Congress is required to set its own pay. The last time the salary was increased was in January 2009, when Congress increased their salary by 2.8 percent to $174,000.
3. She Has a Few Investments, a Wealthy Father-In-Law, & Released a Children’s Book This Year
In addition to her career as an attorney and politician, Gillibrand is a published author. Her book, Off the Sidelines: Raise Your Voice, Change the World, was published in 2014. Among other things, it highlighted sexism in the workforce, including in the U.S. Government. Gillibrand recounted exchanges with male colleagues, one of whom said to her “Don’t lose too much weight; I like my girls chubby,” and another who said “You know Kirsten, you’re pretty even when you’re fat.”
It is unclear how many copies of the book have sold, or how much Gillibrand has made. According to her tax returns, she made at least $275,000 from her first book. Her second published work, a picture book called Bold & Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote, was released in November 2018. It was published by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers. Details of how much she was made from sales of that book have not been made public.
She also makes money from investments. As of 2015, she had $32,500 worth of investments in health and pharmaceuticals, and five assets totaling $317,005 to $680,00. These assets were a Citibank SEP Money Market account, a US Senate Federal Credit Union Account, a WindCrest LLC account, a TrustCo/Checking account, and Citibank accounts. She had no liabilities in 2015.
Also according to her 2015 tax return, Gillibrand and her husband received a $457,200 gift from her husband’s family. She was not obligated to disclose the gift, and when asked why she did she said:
“It’s just information. I think it’s good. I think you should report your taxes. I think transparency and accountability (are) helpful to the democratic process.”
Her father-in-law had recently retired from his position as non-executive chairman of British engineering firm AMEC, and the gift was part of his estate planning process.
4. She Lives Between Washington & New York With Her Husband & 2 Sons
Gillibrand met her husband, who is a venture capitalist, on a blind date while he was working toward his MBA at Columbia University. They have two children, Theodore and Henry. Gillibrand worked until the day of delivery of her second son, receiving a standing ovation from the House of Representatives. They live in Brunswick, New York. However, they spend most of their time in Washington, D.C. because of Gillibrand’s work.
In 2010, they sold their home in Hudson, New York. It was originally listed at $1.7 million, but dropped to $1.48 million. The home had four and a half bathrooms, a barn, and a four car garage. It is unclear how much it was officially sold for, or how much Gillibrand’s homes in Brunswick adn Washington, D.C. are worth.
5. Gillibrand & Her Husband Reported $248,522 in Income in 2017, According to Her Tax Returns, Which She Posts Online Every Year
Kirsten Gillibrand has posted her tax returns from 2007 to 2017 on her Senate website. In 2017, she and her husband reported $248,522 in income. That was up from 2016, when they reported $177,854 in income, but down from 2015, when they reported $325,228, buoyed by Gillibrand’s book deal.
Gillibrand has called on President Donald Trump to release his tax returns and has called for tax cuts for the middle class. On tax day in 2017, Gillibrand wrote on Facebook about why she has released her own tax returns.
“Transparency is the cornerstone of open and honest government, and it is one of my top priorities. I fundamentally believe that it is part of the commitment I make every year to the people of New York State. Intending to lead by example, I became the first member of Congress to post my official daily meetings, earmark requests, and personal financial disclosures online in 2007,” she wrote. “Today, on Tax Day, I posted my tax returns on my official website for the 6th year in a row. I’ll do this for as long as I am in office, and I’ll never stop looking for new ways to try to increase transparency in our government. We need to keep demanding transparency and accountability from all of our elected officials. Americans need to know that their representatives in government are working for them, and not influenced by conflicts of interest.”
Gillibrand added, “This past weekend, it was inspiring to see people come together for Tax Marches across the country to demand transparency from the Trump Administration, and to call for President Trump’s tax returns. To those who have been speaking out: please keep raising your voices on this issue. It matters, and it makes a difference.”