But for former FBI director James Comey, the reality is a little less explosive. Comey was set to earn $172,100 of his base salary in 2017, according to data from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). He may have also been eligible to earn an additional $15,000 based on his performance in 2017. But then President Donald Trump fired Comey Tuesday night—and now Comey is looking at a severance package rather than his full annual salary.
When CEOs running a company are dismissed, they are often given a severance package representing a big chunk, if not more, of their annual pay. For instance, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer earned $27 million in 2016 in stock, options, and cash. And after Verizon completes its purchase of Yahoo, Mayer will be out with a hefty additional $23 million as her golden parachute.
If Comey were any other federal employee, he would receive a severance close to about $32,254 for his 3 years, 8 months, and 7 days of service at the FBI, and his 56 years and 7 months of age, according to the OPM, website.
But since Comey is a presidential appointee—his severance is, well, zero, according to the OPM.
Not that the lack of severance would leave Comey financially unstable: At the time of his nomination in 2013, Comey's net worth was estimated at more than $11 million, according to CNN. This was thanks in part to his cushy job at the world's biggest hedge fund, Bridgewater, where he worked prior to joining the FBI.
Comey is also not exactly leaving the FBI in disgrace. Hedge fund managers and politicians have come to his defense, while those on both sides of the aisle are questioning Trump's rational for firing Comey. The attorney general's office said the decision was due to Comey's handling of the Hillary Clinton emails case, but critics are questioning whether or not Comey's investigation regarding Russia's influence on the U.S. election had something to do with it.
Prior to Comey, the Trump administration abruptly dismissed Preet Bharara, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York; Sally Yates, former acting Attorney General; and Angella Reid, the former White house chief usher.