Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on Friday released her 2015 tax return and disclosed a detailed list of speaking fees totally nearly $23 million that she and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, together earned in 2013.
The release comes as Clinton seeks to apply pressure to Republican opponent Donald Trump, who has not released his tax returns, and sow doubt about the businessman’s honesty and civic participation. The tax issue allows Clinton to cast herself as forthcoming and honest, two attributes that many voters say they find lacking in her.
The Clinton campaign also released 10 years’ worth of returns for her running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, and his wife, Anne Holton.
“Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine continue to set the standard for financial transparency as she releases her 2015 personal tax return,” campaign communications director Jennifer Palmieri said Friday.
“In stark contrast, Donald Trump is hiding behind fake excuses and backtracking on his previous promises to release his tax returns. He has failed to provide the public with the most basic financial information disclosed by every major candidate in the last 40 years. What is he trying to hide?”
Trump has said he cannot release his returns because of an ongoing audit.
The release “builds on the Clintons’ tradition of making their returns public since 1977,” while Kaine released a decade’s worth of material in one batch, Palmieri said.
A Washington Post-ABC poll in May found that 64 percent of Americans said Trump should release his taxes, including 54 percent who felt “strongly” that he should do so.
More than four in 10 Republicans said Trump should do so, as did nearly six in 10 independents.
But Clinton’s own returns bring her some unwanted attention too, notably to her and her husband’s extraordinary income, derived primarily through speaking fees.
During the primaries, Clinton’s Democratic opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, routinely mocked Clinton for refusing to release transcripts of speeches to a major Wall Street firm given behind closed doors.
“The way I see it, if you’re going to give a speech and get $225,000, it must be a really brilliant speech,” Sanders told a crowd at the University of Illinois in March. “It must be opening new vistas of human thought.”
The Clintons reported total income of $10.7 million last year, and adjusted gross income of $10.5 million.
The disclosures underscore the extent to which Clinton’s wealth dwarfs that of the working families whose interests she is promising to champion, as recently as in a speech in the Detroit area on Thursday in which she accused Trump of being interested in helping “only millionaires like himself.”
Although the speaking fees were previously reported in tax returns filed for 2013 and 2014 and released more than a year ago, the campaign made a point Friday of compiling them into online lists broken out by the name of the company or organization she addressed. While sure to irk liberal voters for whom Clinton’s ties to powerful corporate and banking interests is cause for suspicion, the lists also give Clinton a peg for her argument that she has nothing to hide.
Clinton and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, paid an effective federal income tax rate of 34.2 percent in 2015, according to the campaign. They paid an effective state and local income tax rate of 9 percent, meaning their combined effective rate was more than 40 percent.
In addition, the Clintons donated 9.8 percent of their adjusted gross income to charity, the campaign reported.
Friday’s release adds to a prior disclosure of tax returns spanning the years 1992 to 2014, released during the years when Bill Clinton was president and when Hillary Clinton ran for president the first time, in 2008.
Clinton’s campaign also released a list of speeches that she delivered in 2013, which showed that she gave 41 addresses for fees ranging from $225,000 to $400,000. All told, she earned roughly $9.7 million that year in speaking fees, according to the campaign.
Bill Clinton, meanwhile, earned roughly $13.2 million in speaking fees that same year. He delivered 43 speeches, for which he was paid fees ranging from $100,000 to $750,000.
The speech figures are not a surprise. In May, financial disclosure forms revealed that the Clintons earned more than $25 million for delivering 104 speeches since the beginning of 2014, a huge infusion to their net worth as she was readying for a presidential bid.
During the decade or so that Clinton served as a U.S. senator and then secretary of state, Clinton reported that her husband made $105 million for delivering more than 540 speeches. Bill Clinton’s fees rose over time. In 2012, her last year at the State Department, he earned more than $16.3 million for 72 speeches.
According to the May disclosure, Hillary Clinton delivered 51 speeches in 2014 and the first three months of 2015, earning more than $11 million. Her fees varied, but she earned as much as $315,000 for speaking to eBay in San Jose on March 11; she also collected $325,000 for speaking to the technology company Cisco in Las Vegas in August.
Clinton’s running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., and his wife released 10 years of returns, showing they had an effective federal tax rate ranging between 13.4 percent and 24 percent over that span.
In 2015, Kaine and his wife, Anne Holton, reported $313,441 in total income, the vast majority of that coming from their respective salaries, Kaine as a U.S. senator and Holton as Virginia’s secretary of education.
That same year, Kaine and Holton gave $21,290 to charity, according to their returns.
(c) 2016, The Washington Post · Anne Gearan, Tom Hamburger, John Wagner