Partner pay watch: DHS nominee Wainstein discloses $13 mln in Davis Polk compensation

U.S. Department of Homeland Security emblem is pictured at the National Cybersecurity & Communications Integration Center in Arlington Virginia
U.S. Department of Homeland Security emblem is pictured at the National Cybersecurity & Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) located just outside Washington in Arlington, Virginia September 24, 2010. REUTERS/Hyungwon Kang
  • Biden picked Wainstein for intelligence post at DHS
  • Wainstein was former Republican U.S. attorney in D.C.
  • Disclosure shows legal services for major corporate clients

(Reuters) - Kenneth Wainstein, a white-collar leader at Davis Polk & Wardwell, reported receiving $13.3 million in partner compensation from the firm since last year, according to a financial disclosure on Wednesday as part of his nomination to head an intelligence office at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Wainstein's disclosure, a mandatory ethics filing for many lawyers and other officials who leave private employment to serve in the U.S. government, showed he provided legal services to Davis Polk clients, including AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP; Chevron Corp; Comcast Corp; JP Morgan Chase Bank NA; Walmart Inc; Purdue Pharma; HSBC Holdings PLC; Facebook Inc; and General Dynamics Corp.

Financial disclosures offer a public window into law firm compensation, capturing income from the prior calendar year to the date of the filing. The filings provide a broad view of where newly arriving senior officials might face recusal issues tied to former clients and to financial holdings. Wainstein said he would divest interests in hundreds of U.S. companies.

President Joe Biden nominated Wainstein -- a Davis Polk partner since 2017 and a former Republican U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia from 2004 to 2006 -- earlier this month to serve as the under secretary for intelligence and analysis at Homeland Security. The office is tasked with delivering intelligence to private sector partners, and state, local and tribal entities.

Wainstein did not immediately return a message on Wednesday seeking comment. His nomination is pending before the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee.

Profits per equity partner at Davis Polk reached $6.35 million last year, The American Lawyer reported in April, behind only Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz.

Wainstein's disclosure said he planned to receive a "lump sum partnership withdrawal payment" that he valued at between $5 million to $25 million. Such payments are made to departing partners, the filing said.

Wainstein has held many leadership posts in Washington, D.C. After serving as U.S. attorney, he led the national security division at the Justice Department for two years during the George W. Bush presidency. Bush named Wainstein his homeland security adviser in 2008.

During the 2020 presidential election, Wainstein was among former senior Republican administration leaders who criticized then-President Donald Trump as unfit for office. "He's not just bending the norms, he's smashing them," Wainstein said last year.

(Note: This story has been updated with a fresh headline)

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