Hillary Rodham Clinton released tax returns Friday showing that the senator and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, earned about $109 million in the last eight years, mainly through his speeches and their book sales.
The returns are a testament to a former president's earning power and the riches that can accompany American celebrity. Overall, they show that the Clintons paid about $33.8 million in federal taxes during that period and made about $10.3 million in charitable contributions, according to a campaign summary.
In a statement, campaign spokesman Jay Carson noted that the Clintons paid an average tax rate of 31% from 2000-2007, and contributed 9.5% of their earnings to charity. Carson pointed to IRS figures showing that Americans who earn more than $10 million a year on average pay a tax rate of 20.8% and give an average of 3.1% of their income to charity.
"The Clintons have now made public thirty years of tax returns, a record matched by few people in public service," Carson said. "None of Hillary Clinton's presidential opponents have revealed anything close to this amount of personal financial information."
Clinton's Democratic opponent, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, last week released tax returns from 2000-2006. The Obama's best year was 2005, when they made $1.5 million, mainly from the sale of his two books. The Obama campaign had been pressuring Clinton to release her tax returns.
The presumptive Republican nominee, Arizona Sen. John McCain, has promised to release tax returns on April 15.
The Clinton campaign released a summary of 2007 tax information, saying the Clintons would be seeking an extension of time to file their return because they are waiting to receive information related to partnership income, including investments in their blind trust, which was dissolved in 2007.
According to the summary, the Clintons earned $20.4 million last year and paid $5.1 million in federal taxes. The couple's biggest sources of income last year were his speeches, which earned $10.1 million. They also earned $3.5 million income from a blind trust, the summary says.
The summary also says Bill Clinton earned $400,000 last year from InfoUSA, a database company founded by Vinod Gupta, a longtime friend and backer, who has raised money for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.
Gupta and his company are being sued by dissident shareholders, who have charged that the company's $3.1 million consulting contract with Bill Clinton, and nearly $900,000 that the company has paid in travel expenses for the Clintons, are a waste of corporate assets.
The Clintons' 2006 return also shows nearly $2.7 million in income from Yucaipa Global Holdings, a company associated with another well-known Clinton backer, Ronald Burkle. Burkle was the 91st richest American last year, according to Forbes Magazine, with a net worth of $3.5 billion.
A spokesman for Clinton said last year that he would gradually sever his ties with business that could pose conflicts of interest if his wife were elected president.
It's unclear whether Clinton remains an investor in Yucaipa Global, which according to securities records is based in the Cayman Islands. Although the Caymans are known as a home to tax shelters, Carson previously has said the Clintons received no special tax benefit from the investment.
From 2000-2007, President Clinton earned a total of $51 million from speeches. There is no way of knowing how that compares to previous presidents, since no previous former president has released tax returns in this fashion.
Before Ronald Reagan, it was uncommon for ex-presidents to earn large sums of money for giving speeches. Reagan was paid $2 million to give a speech in Japan in 1989.
Since then high speaking fees to celebrities have become more common, and Clinton's speech income has not been much of a political liability for his wife.
The eight-year summary shows that Clinton also earned $4.4 million from his best selling memoir, My Life. Sen. Clinton has taken in nearly $10.3 million from her memoir, Living History, including an $8 milllion advance.
The campaign says she donated to charity the entire $1.1 million earned since 1996 on her earlier work, It Takes a Village.
The Clintons last made their returns public in 2000, the year before they left the White House, when they reported an adjusted gross income of $416,039 for 1999.