Unlike Trump, a growing number of 2020 Democrats are releasing their tax returns

With Congressional Democrats embroiled in a showdown with the White House over the release of President Trump’s tax returns, the party’s presidential candidates are facing pressure from progressive and government transparency activists to set an example and release their tax information.  

So far, a handful of the White House hopefuls in the large Democratic primary field have disclosed their tax returns. They include Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Kamala Harris of California; former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke; and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. 

Here are some of the most noteworthy revelations from the disclosures: 

Bernie Sanders

Earlier this week, Sanders released 10 years of his tax returns, which revealed that the Vermont Independent, who has long railed against the disproportionate political power of America’s ultra-rich, is a millionaire. 

Sanders and his wife, Jane, had an adjusted gross income of $561,293 in 2018, paying a 26 percent effective tax rate. In 2017, Sanders and his wife reported an adjusted gross income of a little more than $1.1 million from book sales. In 2016, the couple reported a little more than $1 million, mostly from book sales.

Sanders earns $174,000 annually as a U.S. senator. Book sales accounted for $391,000 of his earnings in 2018, according to his most recent tax returns. In 2017, the book generated $855,631 in income, up from $840,485 in 2016.

Beto O’Rourke

On Monday, O’Rourke and his wife, Amy Sanders O’Rourke, the director of a non-profit, released the tax returns they jointly filed between 2008 and 2017, when the couple reported more than $370,000 in total income.

The couple’s highest income during the 10-year time span was nearly $500,000 in 2009. 

His campaign said O’Rourke did not disclose his 2018 tax returns because it had not yet been filed. A spokesperson said the Texas Democrat will release his tax information from that year “as soon as possible.”

Elizabeth Warren   

Citing a worsening “crisis of faith in government,” Warren released her 2018 tax returns last week. The progressive lawmaker and longtime advocate for government transparency had previously disclosed 10 years of her tax returns online. 

Her 2018 returns revealed she and her husband, Bruce Mann, a Harvard professor, paid about $200,000 in taxes last year on an income of approximately $900,000. Warren reported an income of $176,280 from her senate salary and approximately $325,000 from book proceeds.   

Kamala Harris

Harris has released 15 years of her tax returns, more than any presidential candidate so far. Her campaign released returns for every year she has held elected public office, from 2004 through 2018. 

Harris and her husband, Douglas Emhoff, a lawyer, reported an adjusted gross income of about $1.9 million in 2018, substantially more than the $142,000 Harris declared in 2004 when she was the district attorney of San Francisco. They paid just under $700,000 in federal taxes, a tax rate of nearly 37 percent.

Jay Inslee

Inslee disclosed 12 years of his tax information on his campaign website in March, releasing the tax returns he filed between 2007 to 2018. The time period covers his first six years in the governor’s mansion, as well as his last three terms in the House of Representatives.

In 2018, Inslee and his wife, Trudi, paid $29,906 in federal taxes on an adjusted gross income of $202,912 and taxable income of $172,915. That gross income — $162,870 of it from Washington state and $44,028 from a congressional pension — puts the couple in about the 94th percentile of U.S. households.

Kirsten Gillibrand  

Gilibrand was the first Democratic presidential candidate to release her tax information, disclosing 12 years of her tax returns late last month. 

In 2018, she and her husband, Jonathan, a venture capitalist, paid $29,170 in federal taxes on an adjusted gross income of $214,083. 

When she announced the release, Gillibrand urged all her fellow White House hopefuls to follow suit. “The American people should know that their president is beholden to no one but them, and I’m urging all presidential candidates to join me and disclose at least ten years of their taxes, which will strengthen our ability to beat President Trump.”  

Ed O’Keefe and Stefan Becket contributed to this report.

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