Buttigieg Is Biden’s Transportation Secretary Nominee and Big Investor

WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 19, 2021)—President-elect Joe Biden has nominated Pete Buttigieg, to be Transportation secretary.  Buttigieg will have a confirmation hearing Thursday. Buttigieg lacks the experience to lead the Transportation Department—but he does have a  clear love for policy debates.  But serving as the Nation’s Transportation Secretary is not preparation for a mark trial–autonomous transportation.

Buttigieg is likely to keep it broad. To this point to avoid being pinned down on specific policies out of a desire to not get ahead of Biden and his team or to tip his unexperienced hands. Members of the Senate Commerce Committee will, however, ask him about their states issues of interest in their districts. He’ll also likely promise to visit several states, as Jeff Davis of the Eno Center notes — including far-flung Hawaii and Alaska, which both have representatives on Senate Commerce.

GOP senators to question Buttigieg at the hearing will include Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tx) and Senator Rick Scott (R-Fl),  who may question Buttigieg on his lack of specific transportation experience.  But what is interesting about Buttigieg is how he managed to earn $800,000 in 2019.

“We selected Pete for transportation because the department is at the intersection of some of our most ambitious plans to build back better,” Biden said.

In an interview with the National Organization of Black County Officials (NOBCO) and the National Association of Black County Officials (NABCO) “Upgrading grids, upgrading roads and bridges, preparing ourselves for the kind of rail and transit infrastructure that we need for the future is a question of jobs and a question of climate wrapped up together,” Buttigieg said.

“We also know how important equity considerations are, how important racial justice is as part of the stakes, both in climate and in jobs in climate…and many of your home regions have been examples of what’s at stake here,” he said.

During his presidential campaign Pete Buttigieg liked to tout his down-to-earth, middle-class lifestyle: “You know, according to Forbes magazine, I am literally the only person on this stage who is not a millionaire or a billionaire,” Buttigieg said during the Democratic debates in 2019. True, but he was also in the midst of making an upper-class living. 

The former South Bend, Indiana mayor, who was nominated to be Joe Biden’s transportation secretary, reported earning $800,000 to $1.8 million from January 2019 to December 2020 on a new financial disclosure form, which lists his income and assets in broad ranges. 

Like other presidential candidates before him, Buttigieg earned the bulk of that money from book deals and other media engagements. His memoir, Shortest Way Home, brought in somewhere between $100,000 and $1 million in royalties, according to the disclosure. Buttigieg reported making another $54,000 in advances for British rights to the book and $2,100 for Korean rights to the book. Buttigieg’s second title, Trust: America’s Best Chance, was published in October and came with a $311,500 advance.  

Forbes wrote “Beyond books, Buttigieg disclosed that he received a $150,000 guaranteed payment for a podcast with iHeartMedia called “The Deciding Decade.” Launched in September, Buttigieg hosted 20 episodes, interviewing guests such as musician John Legend, “Saturday Night Live” cast member Colin Jost and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Buttigieg also received a $1,825 honorarium to guest-host an episode of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” last year. ”  

“At some point over the last two years, Buttigieg got rid of his individual shares owned in tech giants, Alphabet and Apple, and earned between $17,000 and $55,000 in capital gains and dividends. Buttigieg also earned a $112,000 salary during his last year as mayor of South Bend in 2019, and $37,000 from the University of Notre Dame where he served as a faculty fellow beginning in June last year, according to Forbes.

“More money is likely on the way. Pete’s book Trust may rake in more than $200,000 in additional advances and potential bonus payments, depending on how the book sells, according to the disclosure. Chasten, Buttigieg’s husband, has a book of his own, a memoir called I Have Something to Tell You, which came out in September. It could earn the couple at least another $50,000, according to the disclosure,” wrote Forbes.

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