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Data: Office of Government Ethics; Note: Names with asterisks reported income covering both 2019 and 2020, which are averaged here. Some sources of income are disclosed in ranges, so the lower and upper ends are noted where applicable; Chart: Michelle McGhee/Axios

Some of President Biden's marquee administration picks had sizable incomes in recent years, according to numbers crunched by Axios, yet it's official disclosure forms about to become public that will tell a more compelling tale.

Why it matters: It's not surprising senior administration officials would also be successful in the private sector. But the populist moment the country finds itself in means personal wealth can come with political liability.

What's new: Data compiled from financial disclosure forms show Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen topped the income list among top Biden officials, largely due to her lucrative speaking gigs at major financial institutions.

  • Alejandro Mayorkas, Biden's pick to lead the Department of Homeland Security, was a close second, having drawn substantial sums from his partnership share in a law firm.
  • Due to the timing of their filings, some Biden officials have disclosed income for 2020 while others disclosed numbers covering both 2019 and 2020. For the latter, Axios averaged their annual income during those two years.

The big picture: Biden has pledged to roll back what he's characterized as systemic conflicts of interest and self-dealing by former President Trump and his top administration officials. But he and Vice President Kamala Harris already have been buffeted by questions about potential conflicts involving their own family members.

  • The lucrative business dealings and speaking gigs disclosed to date by those Biden has tapped for senior posts threaten to provide easy fodder for congressional and media critics.
  • A rolling filing deadline means the forms will begin trickling out within the next month, and what they reveal has the potential to highlight even more conflicts of interest from a revolving door between big business and the Obama and Biden administrations. 

Go deeper

3 hours ago - World

U.S. and NATO answer Putin in writing while bracing for Ukraine invasion

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. Photo: Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty

The U.S. and NATO provided Russia with written proposals on Wednesday to advance a "diplomatic path forward," even as they warned that Russia could invade Ukraine within days.

Why it matters: This is a delicate diplomatic balancing act. The U.S. and NATO want to show they're serious about diplomacy but unwilling to compromise on "core principles" — all without providing Vladimir Putin with an additional pretext for escalation.

The political leanings of the Supreme Court justices

Data: Martin-Quinn scores; Chart: Axios Visuals

The Supreme Court will continue to have a solid conservative majority even with Justice Stephen Breyer's retirement.

How to read the chart: An analysis by political scientists Andrew Martin and Kevin Quinn, known as the Martin-Quinn Score, places judges on an ideological spectrum. A lower score indicates a more liberal justice, whereas a higher score indicates a more conservative justice.

The front-runners for Biden's Supreme Court pick

Judge Kentaji Brown Jackson (left) and Justice Leondra Kruger (right) Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images and Lonnie Tague, US Department of Justice

Two highly accomplished Black female judges — Ketanji Brown Jackson, a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals; and Leondra Kruger, a justice on the California Supreme Court — are seen as the early front-runners to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

The big picture: Jackson is a powerful federal judge with a record that progressives feel they can trust. Kruger was a highly regarded litigator and has carved out a reputation for working well with conservative judges.