Bernie Sanders Releases 10 Years Of Tax Returns

The 2020 presidential contender's move aims to quiet skeptics.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) released his tax returns for the past 10 years on Monday amid growing calls that he meet the standard of his rivals in the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Sanders and his wife, Jane O’Meara Sanders, paid an effective tax rate of 26% on $561,293 in income in 2018. The couple also contributed 3.4% of their income to charity ― just under $19,000.

In addition to Sanders’ Senate salary of $174,000, the couple earned hundreds of thousands of dollars in royalties on Sanders’ book sales.

Sanders can now join Democratic calls for President Donald Trump to release his financial information without appearing to fall short of his own principles.

“Senator Sanders believes it is a privilege to live in the United States and he believes it is patriotic to pay the taxes that support our country,” Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir said in a statement. “As a strong proponent of transparency, the senator hopes President Trump and all Democratic primary candidates will disclose their tax returns.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in Pittsburgh on Sunday. Releasing his tax returns allows Sanders to attack Donald Trump on his transparency without fear of being labeled a hypocrite.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in Pittsburgh on Sunday. Releasing his tax returns allows Sanders to attack Donald Trump on his transparency without fear of being labeled a hypocrite.

Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) have all released at least 10 years of tax returns, though some have done so more recently than others. Harris, who made 15 years of returns available, preceded Sanders by a single day.

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) released 10 years of tax returns mere minutes after Sanders. South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D), Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and former HUD Secretary Julián Castro have yet to release their tax returns.

In releasing his personal financial records, the Vermont senator delivers on a promise he made earlier this month that he would make the returns public by Tax Day.

Prior to that announcement, Sanders repeatedly vowed to release his returns but declined to specify a date. He was under some pressure to do so from Democratic insiders with more centrist leanings since, as a presidential candidate in the 2016 election, he had released only his 2014 returns.

Hillary Clinton, Sanders’ primary opponent in 2016, released eight years of tax returns ending in 2014 during the primary. Later, during the general election, she released her 2015 returns in an unsuccessful bid to goad Trump into releasing his.

Sanders’ tax returns, as he predicted, do not appear to be especially remarkable. One quirky fact is that in 2012 and 2013, he and Jane earned a few thousand dollars through a “small antique business.”

As a member of Congress since 1991, Sanders has already filed periodic disclosures of his personal finances to Congress. Thanks to those disclosures, he has already addressed the widely reported revelation that he and Jane earned just over $1 million in 2016 and 2017 due to advances and royalties from his 2016 campaign book, “Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In,” as well as other subsequent books.

“I didn’t know that it was a crime to write a good book,” Sanders told reporters in Gary, Indiana, on Saturday. “It turned out to be a best-seller. My view has always been that we need a progressive tax system that demands the wealthiest people in this country finally start paying their fair share in taxes. If I make a lot of money, you make a lot of money, that is what I believe.”

Bernie Sanders On The Campaign Trail

Bernie Sanders On The Campaign Trail