Betsy DeVos reported at least $225 million — and potentially well over $414 million — in outside income while working as Donald Trump’s education secretary, according to an analysis of DeVos’s financial disclosures by CREW. It is impossible to know the exact amount because DeVos’s income is reported in broad ranges, but we do know for a fact that she made nine figures during her four years in office.
The totals are derived from three different yearly financial disclosures that she filed during her tenure in the Trump administration, along with her final termination report. Many assets she reported are simply listed as “over $5 million” or “over $1 million.”
At least $75 million of that massive sum came from Alticor, the parent company of Amway, her late father-in-law’s multilevel marketing behemoth. Amway has enjoyed decades of political power and connections, boosted by the family’s $100 million in political donations during the last 20 years to conservative candidates and groups like the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute.
As Donald Trump’s wealthiest cabinet member, DeVos’s financial entanglements and her family’s political giving raised ethical questions. She maintained a stake in Neurocore, a brain performance company targeting children, and failed to recuse from matters related to the company despite the potential for conflicts of interest. She pledged that her husband would stop making political donations for the duration of her tenure, but he continued to donate throughout the 2018 and 2020 election cycles.
DeVos gestured at resolving those ethical questions by pledging to donate her taxpayer funded salary while she served in government, which amounted to around $800,000. Of course, that was merely a fraction of a percent of her total income over the past four years, and did nothing to substantively resolve concerns about her appointment as education secretary.
In the Trump administration, Devos wasn’t alone in making meaningless gestures to paper over the conflicts of interest that come with raking in hundreds of millions of dollars as a public servant. Former President Trump himself reported making more than $1.6 billion while in office, while Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner netted up to $640 million.
For Betsy DeVos, decades of political giving paid off in the form of a four-year term as the head of the agency in charge of public education. Meanwhile, her outside income continued to accumulate at a staggering rate. In the end, DeVos likely made more money as education secretary than cities like Ann Arbor or Grand Rapids in her home state of Michigan spend on public education in a year.