Chicago is known for its L-train. But it’s the gravy train that White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett prefers to ride.
In addition to the $173,922 Jarrett earns per annum as President Obama’s senior adviser, she is also paid an annual pension of $35,660 for the eight years she served as chairman of the Chicago Transit Authority, according to a Chicago Sun Times investigation.
Jarrett was appointed to chairman of the agency — a part-time position — in 1995 by then-mayor Richard Daley, whose brother, William Daley, served as Obama’s chief of staff. Jarrett served as the former mayor’s deputy chief of staff and was appointed to numerous other positions during his term.
Jarrett left CTA in 2003 and opted to dip into her pension at the earliest available opportunity. According to the Sun Times, retired city officials are allowed to begin receiving payments when they turn 50.
As of last summer, Jarrett has collected $306,080 in pension payments in total.
That hefty sum is 27 times the amount — $11,132 — that Jarrett contributed to her pension plan through deductions from her CTA paychecks, according to the Sun Times.
Because of lucrative pension arrangements like the one provided to Jarrett, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, also a former Obama chief of staff, has been forced to raise property taxes to the highest levels in the city’s history to help fix a massive budget shortfall. According to a Bloomberg Business article published last year, Chicago has $20 billion in pension debt — or $7,000 per city resident.