Bernie Sanders Releases His 2014 Tax Return

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., pauses while speaking at the Nevada Caucus Watch Party Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016, in Henderson, Nev. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

WASHINGTON (AP) — Bernie Sanders released his full 2014 federal tax return Friday, revealing that he mostly lives off a six-figure government salary and donated about 4 percent of his family’s income to charitable causes.

Sanders and his wife, Jane, donated $8,350 to charity while reporting an adjusted gross income of about $205,000 that year, according to the couple’s joint tax return. The share of his family’s income that went to charity was about one-third the percentage of income that his primary opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, gave to charitable groups.

The Sanders campaign released the return a day after a heated Democratic presidential debate in New York in which Sanders pledged to release the single return but hesitated to say when he would release additional years of his taxes.

The campaign didn’t immediately respond Friday evening to emailed questions seeking additional details about Sanders’ charitable giving.

Since 1976, every major party presidential nominee has released full tax returns. So far this year, though, Clinton is the only major-party presidential candidate who has released several years of full tax returns.

GOP front-runner Donald Trump hasn’t released any of his returns, and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich have only released partial returns.

Until Friday, Sanders had only released an excerpt from his 2014 tax return. During Thursday’s debate, Clinton attacked Sanders for failing to release more.

“I’ve released 30 years of tax returns, and I think every candidate, including Senator Sanders and Donald Trump, should do the same,” said Clinton, the Democratic front-runner.

Sanders fired back at Clinton, contrasting his modest wealth with Clinton’s multimillion-dollar income, a significant portion of which has come in the form of paid speeches to corporate and interest groups.

“They’re pretty boring, I’m afraid,” Sanders told The Associated Press on Saturday during his visit to Rome, where also met with Pope Francis. “No $225,000 speaking engagements. No massive investments. I earn a very good salary as a United States senator. My wife has made a few thousand dollars. I don’t think there’s anything terribly exciting about it.”

According to the self-prepared return, Sanders and his wife reported about $205,000 in adjusted gross income, with about $156,000 coming from his Senate salary. The couple reported about $46,000 in Social Security benefits and an additional $5,000 annual pension.

Jane Sanders, a former college president, also reported $4,900 in income from her work as a commissioner on the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission, which manages the handling of certain types of radioactive waste in Texas and Vermont.

In 2014, the couple paid $27,653 in federal taxes, resulting in an effective tax rate of 19.6 percent on $140,994 in taxable income.

For comparison, the Clintons reported about $28 million in adjusted gross income in 2014. Combined, the Clintons earned more than $139 million between 2007 and 2014. They paid an effective federal tax rate of 39.4 percent on $111.4 million in taxable income during those years.

In 2014, the Clintons donated more than $3 million— nearly 11 percent of their income. Since 2000, the Clintons have given nearly $15 million to charity, tax returns show.

The release of at least one of Sanders’ full tax returns has put the Democratic presidential candidates ahead of their GOP rivals in terms of tax transparency.

On the Republican side, Trump has refused to release any of his tax returns, saying he won’t make them public them while he’s being audited by the IRS. Trump’s reluctance has fueled accusations from his political rivals — including 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney — that Trump has something to hide in his taxes.

The lack of public returns has also made it impossible to verify some of Trump’s claims about his actual income and his personal charitable giving. Last summer, Trump’s campaign said the billionaire had given $100 million to charity in the past five years.

But an Associated Press review of his foundation’s finances found that none of the money over the time period came from Trump directly. The AP also found that many of the donations from Trump’s charity, The Donald J. Trump Foundation, were made with other people’s money, including some donations to seemingly opposing groups. For example, the foundation donated to the Billy Graham Evangelical Association — a group that opposes gay rights — while also donating to the Gay Men’s Health Crisis.

Cruz and Kasich have released portions of their taxes that contain summary information about their income sources. But they haven’t released full returns that would provide more detail about their finances, tax maneuvers and charitable donations.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Latest News
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: