Sen. Dan Sullivan’s family wealth puts his paycheck suspension in a different light
Sen. Dan Sullivan is one of the elected officials who has asked that his paycheck be temporarily withheld until the federal government reopens.
“I have instructed the Secretary of the U.S. Senate to withhold my pay until other federal workers get paid. I know this situation is tough for federal workers and their families and I’m hoping that a solution is reached soon,” Sullivan said.
The shutdown is the work of President Trump and Senate Republicans like Sullivan who want to keep in good graces with the president. The wall is a symbol, an idiotic waste that Sullivan and others have falsely portrayed as a miracle cure.
Even Rep. Don Young, before he became a wall cheerleader during his last campaign, recognized it as a con job. “I’m not going to spend 18, 20, 100 billion dollars to build something that not’s going to work,” Young said in a 2017 press release.
Regarding Sullivan’s attempt to show solidarity with the hundreds of thousands of federal workers furloughed or forced to work without pay, it’s worth noting that Sullivan is not in the same financial position as most federal employees.
It’s not just that the Senate pays $174,000 a year, far above the average federal worker. It’s that his family connections are out of the ordinary.
Sullivan grew up in Ohio, where his family prospered through the growth of a business founded by his grandfather, expanded by his father and run by his brother.
In 1947, his grandfather launched Republic Powdered Metals, which created and sold one product, an aluminum roof coating called Alumanation. It is still sold today.
Dan Sullivan’s father took over the business in 1971 and became chairman and CEO of the growing enterprise that evolved into RPM International.
Dan Sullivan’s older brother Frank became leader of the company in 2002, now a holding company with dozens of subsidiaries and more than 14,500 employees worldwide. Frank Sullivan earned about $5 million in fiscal year 2018. Another Sullivan brother is a vice president at the company who earns $485,000.
RPM owns consumer brands such as Rust-Oleum paints, DAP caulks and Varathane wood stains. It is also a leading manufacturer of coatings, sealants and other materials that are mainstays for many industries.
The RPM International website says that one of the most important numbers for the company is 168, the number that Sullivan’s grandfather had for a license plate on his Lincoln.
“It was his favorite number because it represents the total hours in a week; thus, it served as a reminder that each of us has a limited amount of time, and a duty to use this gift wisely and productively,” RPM says.
“At RPM, the value of 168 comes to life through motivated employees who enjoy their work and create the conditions that allow our customers to grow and our stockholders to prosper.”
Dan Sullivan’s financial disclosure statement filed with the U.S. Senate lists a variety of investment accounts with significant sums.
Among many other things, he owns RPM International stock worth between $500,000 and $1 million, according to a statement filed in August. The Senate statements do no require exact ownership figures.
Based on the annual income he reported from his RPM International stock, Sullivan’s holdings of this single stock are on the upper end of that range.