News & Politics

Who Makes How Much: Ideas and the Arts

Here's what Washingtonians get paid for the work they do

Lots of thinking goes on in Washington, and people in fields ranging from academia and government to politics and journalism get paid to do it. Some people transform their thinking into advocacy for charities and causes of all kinds. Purveyors of the arts and culture sometimes also do well, but theirs are still chiefly labors of love. Compensation listed here is from available IRS filings for 2007 to 2009.


Edwin J. Feulner Jr.
,Heritage Foundation, $947,999.

Richard N. Haass, Council on Foreign Relations, $796,337.

Walter Isaacson, Aspen Institute, $705,711.

Jessica Tuchman Mathews, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, $542,155.

N. Strobe Talbott, Brookings Institution, $459,344.

Eugene B. Meyer, Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, $450,000.

John J. Hamre, Center for Strategic and International Studies, $414,327.

Robert Reischauer, Urban Institute, $346,286.

John Podesta, Center for American Progress, $244,904.

>> Next: Charities and Public Interest Groups


Wayne LaPierre, National Rifle Association, $1,139,568.

Ralph J. Cicerone, National Academy of Sciences, $630,242.

Howard Kohr, American Israel Public Affairs Committee, $553,343.

James Guest, Consumers Union, $558,552.

Brian Gallagher, United Way Worldwide, $495,970.

Carter Roberts, World Wildlife Fund, $465,427.

Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood, $402,833.

Frances Beinecke, Natural Resources Defense Council, $364,864.

Jim Gibbons, Goodwill Industries, $335,800.

Wayne Pacelle, Humane Society of the United States, $228,981.

Timothy Shriver, Special Olympics, $199,027.

Marian Wright Edelman
, Children’s Defense Fund, $90,000.

>> Next: Arts and Culture


Michael M. Kaiser, Kennedy Center, $1,130,538.

Leonard Slatkin, former music director, National Symphony Orchestra (succeeded by Christoph Eschenbach), $1,015,353.

Earl A. “Rusty” Powell III, National Gallery of Art, $579,352.

G. Wayne Clough, Smithsonian Institution, $514,700.

Plácido Domingo, Washington National Opera, $450,000.

Michael Kahn, Shakespeare Theatre Company, $346,618.

Septime Webre, Washington Ballet, $196,867.

Norman Scribner, Choral Arts Society, $140,499.

Eric Schaeffer, Signature Theatre, $137,298.

This article first appeared in the November 2010 issue of The Washingtonian.

Contributing to this article were Marisa M. Kashino, Mary Clare Glover, Zac Farber, Anna Spiegel, Luke Mullins, Mollie Reilly, Elliot Kort, Caitlin Fairchild, Sherri Dalphonse, Emily Leaman, Katie Glueck, Jason Koebler, Cindy Rich, Kate Nerenberg, Denise Kersten Wills, Jack Limpert, Garrett M. Graff, and Ken DeCell.

Editor in chief

Sherri Dalphonse joined Washingtonian in 1986 as an editorial intern, and worked her way to the top of the masthead when she was named editor-in-chief in 2022. She oversees the magazine’s editorial staff, and guides the magazine’s stories and direction. She lives in DC.