Bernie Sanders on Friday revealed that he earns approximately $205,000 a year, following relentless pressure from Hillary Clinton’s campaign to publish his full tax returns.
Previously, during Thursday night’s Democratic debate in Brooklyn, New York, Clinton had cranked up the pressure on the Vermont senator to release his tax returns, saying that the American people expect each presidential candidate to be transparent in their financial disclosures.
“There is a longstanding expectation that everybody running release their tax returns, and you can go to my website and see eight years of tax returns. And I’ve released 30 years of tax returns. And I think every candidate, including Sen. Sanders and Donald Trump, should do the same.”
While some Democrats saw Hillary Clinton’s demand as being legitimate in its own right, others believed that it was only a ploy for Clinton to deflect from the core questions of why she won’t release transcripts of her paid speeches to Goldman Sachs.
Sanders, however, had promised that he will release his tax returns soon, pointing out that he and his wife had “been a little bit busy lately.”
Before releasing his full tax returns on Friday, in an apparent jibe at his Democratic presidential rival, Bernie Sanders had said that there is nothing interesting for anyone to see in his financial disclosures.
“They are very boring tax returns. No big money from speeches, no major investments. Unfortunately — unfortunately, I remain one of the poorer members of the United States Senate.”
Bernie Sanders’ tax records show that he is right in his assessment as being one of the poorest U.S. Senators. An average U.S. Senator is worth 10 times as much as him, with an estimated average income of $3 million a year. While Sanders’ income puts him in the top five percent of working American citizens, he remains one of the poorest 20 percent of members of the Senate.
A major chunk of Sanders and his wife’s income derived from his Senate salary of $174,000 and Social Security benefits. According to USA Today, his tax records also included the federal return’s attached schedules and offered more background on the couple’s finances, including charitable gifts of $8,350.
The modest figures of Bernie Sanders’ income contrast sharply from that of Hillary Clinton’s disclosure, which saw her and former president Bill Clinton make roughly $27 million during the same period. According to the tax records, the Vermont senator made less money in a year than his multimillionaire rival made for three recent speeches delivered to Goldman Sachs employees, reports the Independent.
In 2013 alone, Hillary Clinton received $675,000 for speeches to Goldman Sachs.
But while Clinton has been pegged back in the campaign on account of the exorbitant amounts of money she received for those speeches and what have been referred to as “consultation” charges for major companies, the former Secretary of State tried to diffuse accusations by pointing out that her family had given $15 million to charity since 2007.
As it turns out, however, the tax returns show $14.8 million of the $15 million Hillary Clinton claimed to have donated to charity went to the Clinton Family Foundation, a nonprofit corporation founded in 2001.
Now that the tax records of both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are out in the open, it would be interesting to see if the sharp contrast in their incomes becomes a crucial factor in the Democratic race. We will begin to know if that’s the case when New York goes to vote in three days’ time.
[Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]