Majority Leader Harry Reid's chief of staff, David Krone, left a highly lucrative gig at Comcast before working for the Senator. As part of his exit from the company, he's collected $1.2 million in additional payment since taking his job with Reid.
The Wall Street Journal focused on Krone's payout as part of a broader look at outside income in Congressional aides, many of whom earn cash as part of deferred payments or pensions for previous high-income jobs. Krone's $1.2 million stem from a severance arrangement in which Comcast purchased his house at above-market value when he left to cover any losses he would have incurred in moving to take a job with the cable giant. When the house was resold by the company at a much lower price, Krone listed the difference as "condo reimbursement" in his financial disclosure forms.
Reid's office says everything is aboveboard and accounted for and that the Senate Ethics Committee had approved the payment. "As difficult as it would be for anybody to divulge their personal finances for all to see and critique," Krone told the WSJ, "I have fully complied with the financial-disclosure requirements."
A Comcast spokesman told the Journal that the company did not know Krone was leaving for a government job when they negotiated the deal, a decision that Reid's office said came well after Krone had already quit. The WSJ cited sources saying the company may have "wanted to make sure that he didn't harbor any ill will after leaving, given his connections." It did not list any instances where Comcast may have benefited from Krone's position.
Ethics rules allow aides to receive payments from the private sector if the cash is only for work they did before jumping to public service. On the Senate side, however, employees cannot work for individual committees if they have deferred payments coming. There are gray areas -- aides can still take top positions with aides who chair the same committees if they stay out of legislative areas related to their source of income.
Update: This story was updated to clarify the timing of Krone's departure from Comcast.