William Barr is an American lawyer and government official who has a net worth of $50 million. He is best known for being the 77th and 85th United States Attorney General during the administrations of Presidents George H. W. Bush and Donald Trump, respectively.
Barr’s most-recent Federal asset disclosure listed assets valued at between $25 and $75 million. He earned his fortune during his time working in the private sector for companies like Verizon. When he retired from Verizon he was earning $10 million per year in salary. As a going-away package, Verizon funded $17 million in a pension plan.
Barr was born on May 23, 1950 in New York City, New York to parents Donald Barr and Mary Margaret Barr. Both of his parents were professors at Columbia, though his father later went on to become the headmaster of first the Dalton School in Manhattan and then the Hackley School in Tarrytown. Barr was raised in a Catholic household with his three brothers and grew up on the Upper West Side of New York.
He attended the Horace Mann School and then enrolled at Columbia University where he majored in government, graduating with a B.A. degree in 1971. He stayed at Columbia to complete an M.A. in government and Chinese studies in 1973. During this time, he had also begun working for the Central Intelligence Agency as a summer intern. He then moved to Washington D.C. after finishing his master’s degree and continued working for the CIA as an intelligence agent. He enrolled as an evening student at George Washington University Law School, finishing his J.D. degree in 1977. He maintained his job with the CIA throughout this whole period.
After finishing law school, Barr spent a year a law clerk for a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. He then joined the law firm of Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge. He worked there from 1978 until 1989, with a brief year break from 1982 to 1983 during which time he served as Deputy Assistant Director for Legal Policy on the domestic policy staff at the Reagan White House.
In 1989, at the beginning of President George H. W. Bush’s administration, Bush appointed Barr to the U.S. Department of Justice as Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel. The following year, he was appointed Deputy Attorney General and then served as Acting Attorney General when then-Attorney General Richard Thornburgh resigned. Bush later officially nominated and confirmed Barr as Attorney General and he was sworn in on November 26, 1991. Because of his sterling reputation among Democrats and Republicans alike, Barr was confirmed by unanimous vote in the Senate.
One of the issues Barr advocated for during his first tenure as Attorney General was an increase in the United States’ incarceration rate, as he believed this would lead to a reduction in crime. He also launched a surveillance program in 1992 to gather records of Americans’ international phone calls. The program has been launched without a thorough review of its legality. He also advised President Bush to pardon former defense secretary during the Reagan administration, Caspar Weinberger, who was under investigation for conspiring to lie to Congress and the American people.
After Bush’s presidency ended, Barr began a career as the Executive Vice President and General Counsel of the telecommunications company, GTE Corporation. He stayed in this role for 14 years, during which time he argued for deregulation and also helped manage the GTE merger with Bell Atlantic, resulting in the formation of Verizon Communications. Barr retired from Verizon in 2008.
Barr then briefly worked at the law firm, Kirkland & Ellis in 2009 and then worked as an advisor to corporations on government enforcement matters and regulatory information from 2010 until 2017, after which he rejoined Kirkland & Ellis.
Barr was a vocal advocate and supporter of President Donald Trump, often criticizing legal challenges and investigations into Trump’s presidency and campaign. In June of 2018, he sent a 20-page unsolicited memo to senior Justice Department officials in which he argued that the then-Special Counsel should not be investigating Trump. Many Democrats later characterized the memo as Barr’s job application for the Attorney General position. Regardless of Barr’s intent with the memo, President Trump did nominate Barr to succeed Jeff Sessions in December of 2018 and he was confirmed in February of 2019 in a near party-line vote.
During his time as President Trump’s Attorney General, Barr was a fierce advocate and defender of Trump’s policies and decisions. He received heavy criticism for how he handled the reaction to the Mueller report, his intervention in the convictions of several former Trump advisors like Roger Stone and Michael Flynn, and his handling of the Trump scandal with Ukraine and Russia. He also reinstated the death penalty at the federal level after nearly two decades without an execution. No administration in 120 years saw as many executions as the Trump presidency.
In December of 2020, Trump announced that Barr would be resigning, which Barr then confirmed. In commenting on Barr’s role as Attorney General to the Trump Administration, some journalists have stated that Barr did more to bring the Department of Justice closer to the White House than any other Attorney General of the past half-century. This view is in line with Barr’s general belief in broad and far-reaching executive power.
In 1973, Barr married Christine Moynihan. The couple have been married ever since and have had three daughters – Mary, Patricia, and Margaret – all three of whom went on to work in government in some form or fashion. In 1992, Barr was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by George Washington University.
Barr is a member of the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast and also served on the board of the Catholic Information Center of the Archdiocese of Washington from 2014 until 2017. He is also an avid bagpiper, having begun playing at the age of eight and performing competitively throughout his youth. He at one time was a member of the City of Washington Pipe Band.
|Net Worth:||$50 Million|
|Date of Birth:||May 23, 1950 (71 years old)|
|Place of Birth:||New York City, New York, U.S.|